With the city of Boston being rich in Irish culture, it should come as no surprise that one of its most anticipated events is the annual Boston Celtic Music Festival. Started 15 years ago by two area musicians, the festival has quickly grown to become a much-anticipated, multi-day event for people of all ages.
The History of the Boston Celtic Music Festival
The Boston Celtic Music Festival was created by musicians Laura Cortese and Shannon Heaton. Cortese, who plays the Scottish fiddle, and Heaton, who plays the Irish flute, both felt it would be exciting to bring together the traditional Celtic music acts from the area for one festival. The two quickly began planning a weekend-log showcase of local talent in celebration of the diverse pool of traditional music and dance talent the area has to offer. The festival has since become a hub for generating ideas and community support for local musicians and dancers.
In addition to the annual festival in January, the passion of Cortese and Heaton has spread to include monthly concerts at Club Passim. These concerts feature a broad selection of Celtic music and dance acts. By presenting young performers, touring professionals and tradition-bearers at the festival and at the monthly concerts, the goal is to bring a variety of music to Boston that can not be found anywhere else.
The 2018 Boston Celtic Music Fest
Due to its ever-growing popularity, the 2018 Boston Celtic Music Fest has been expanded to four days. This year’s event will run from January 18th through the 21st at Harvard Square. As part of the expansion, additional festivities will also take place this year at The Sinclair, which is one of Cambridge’s most popular nightspots.
In continuing with its tradition to bring a variety of music, song and dance from Irish, Scottish and other Celtic-related traditions, the festival will feature a mix of old and new artistry. This year’s events will kick off on Thursday with the Emerging Artists Showcase at Club Passim. This special program will put the spotlight on young performers and recently-established acts.
The next night, Club Passim will host the Roots and Branches Concert, which will provide a sample of the innovative sounds and styles that can be heard within the Boston Celtic music community. The Boston Urban Ceilidh will also take place on Friday at The Atrium at 50 Church Street. This even features participatory and social dances from Irish, Scottish and Cape Bretton traditions.
As the name suggests, the Saturday Dayfest will take place on Saturday. This part of the festival will offer more than 12 hours of entertainment from mid-morning to evening. The fun will go into the evening with Festival Club, which will offer late-night performances and collaborations. The next day, Club Passim will host the BCMFest Brunch. Music sessions will also take place throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday at The Sinclair and other venues. Sing-alongs and participatory dancing will also be scheduled throughout the event, while festival performers will lead workshops at The BCMFest Academy on both days.