Frequently Asked Questions
Nevada County Fairgrounds charges a $6 parking fee for event attendees.
General admission, including disabled, enter at Gate 1.
Campers and Volunteers enter at Gate 4.
What To Know Before You Go:
Bring a low back (beach-type) chair for best main stage meadow seating. See Seating Restrictions, below
No tarps or blankets in main stage meadow seating in front of sound booth
Bring a regular-sized folding chair, tarps or blankets for meadow seating further from the stage
Your chair may be left in place while you explore the other attractions
Bring a sweater or jacket and a flashlight for the parking area
No pets allowed except for licensed Assistant Animals
Smoking in designated areas only
No alcohol brought in from offsite
You may bring coolers but no glass or cans
No firearms or weapons of any kind
No solicitation or sales activities without written permission
Reuse, recycle and help keep our festival green and clean. Bring your own water bottles and fill up with FREE filtered water.
To ensure good visibility, all chairs placed Main Stage meadow in front of the sound booth must be no more than 30” from the top of the chair to the ground while in the full upright position. The measurement from the back of the seat to the ground must be 10” or less.
You may position your chair on the meadow, first come, first served.
Please do not disturb someone else's chair.
Any chair not occupied is open for use by anyone until the owner arrives.
If you do not want your chair used, take it with you when you leave the area.
All personal items, including blankets, chairs and tarps, must be removed from the main stage seating area at the end of each evenings show. This will be strictly enforced.
Please remember: No loud talking during musical performances.
The Celtic Festival is held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley, CA 95949. For directions and a map to the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
4:00 to 7:00pm – Friday FREE Youth Arts program
7:30pm - Royal Tournament & Gathering of the Clans
8:00pm – Ceilidh
SATURDAY & SUNDAY:
Gates open at 10:00 am
The festival closes at 10:00 pm on Saturday, 8:00 pm on Sunday.
Seniors are admitted at 9:00 am on Sunday only for complimentary coffee, scones and preferred seating.
Bring your instruments! Festival headliners offer workshops or jams on the Pine Tree Stage. Check the program for the schedule. Musicians of all levels get together to play in the Oak Grove. These range from informal gatherings of friends and neighbors to performances by professional musicians.
Campers may also organize informal jams. Please note that you must purchase a camping ticket to enter the campgrounds area. Security will be enforcing the wrist bands and anyone without the proper band will be asked to leave.
There are a few hotels, motels and B&Bs nearby. Reservations are necessary and must be made early.
Camping is available from Friday noon through Monday noon for tents, trailers and RVs. Camping is purchased with Festival tickets. RV reservations includes two adult full festival passes. For pricing, please see the tickets information page of this website.
All campers must be off the campsite no later than noon on Monday.
Camping at Celtic Festival is made easy by the gentle terrain of the fairgrounds and the excellent facilities on hand. Warm days and cool evenings are a norm, so include both shorts and jackets in your packing. Also be sure to throw in your rain gear because weather in the mountains can change rapidly and the festival goes on rain or shine.
Please keep all access roads clear to traffic. Maximum speed limit in the camping area is 5 MPH.
Fire danger is always a concern. Personal campfires and charcoal are NOT ALLOWED.
Off-the-ground camp stoves (propane, white gas, or butane) are OK for the camp site. Help each other to ensure that no spark is allowed to escape.
No firearms or weapons of any kind
No solicitation or sales activities without written permission
No in-camp use of ATV or off-road motorcycles allowed
Golf cart use is restricted to staff only.
Please use bicycles on roadways only.
No generators allowed.
Qualified and bona fide service animals are welcome. Pets and non-service animals are NOT permitted. See PETS & SERVICE ANIMALS policy.
POLICY AND PROCEDURE FOR SERVICE ANIMALS
We have experienced an increase in attendance of non-service animal pets, who have accompanied their owners in violation of California and federal law. These animals have compromised the health and safety of festival patrons and legitimate service animals. As a result we have developed the following service animal policy and procedure. The policy and procedure will be strictly enforced and implemented in the interest of ensuring that bona fide service animals are permitted and all other animals are prohibited from the KVMR Celtic Festival.
By law, if an animal’s purpose or task is to provide protection, emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship, it is NOT considered a service animal and may NOT attend the festival with you.
SERVICE ANIMAL POLICY:
Qualified and bona fide service animals are welcome. Pets and non-service animals are NOT permitted. It is a crime to misrepresent a pet as a service animal. Those who bring any animal other than a service animal will not be allowed admittance. All service animals must be trained for a specific function, related to a disability, housebroken, leashed and under the direct control of their handler at all times. If any handler does not adhere to these conditions, the handler will be asked to remove the animal from the festival. The handler may then return without the animal. We reserve the right to refuse service to any individual whose conduct poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or service animals.
SERVICE ANIMAL PROCEDURE:
Bona fide service animals will be banded at the gate by a member of our Safety and Security team. After the service animal has been credentialed, it is not likely that you will be approached again, unless the animal causes a problem. Persons bringing a non-service animal will not be allowed entry to any part of the festival grounds including camping areas. Persons who are found on site with a non-service animal will be escorted off of the festival grounds and may return without the animal.
Music & Magic
As would be fitting, the original idea for the KVMR Celtic Festival first came up in a pub over a pint.
Since 1987 one of the most popular shows on KVMR has been Annie O’Dea Hestbeck’s Celtic Cadence. Annie grew up in Ireland in a musical household in Ennis. Her lilting brogue and impeccable knowledge of Celtic music and musicians continues to bring a breeze from County Clare every Wednesday.
Annie says, “Before the Celtic Festival, I produced an annual fundraising event for KVMR around St. Patrick’s Day, called the Crannog Pub. It was a night of food, libations, music, poetry and storytelling held at the Miner’s Foundry. That inspired me to want to have our own Celtic Festival.”
A few years prior, Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser had moved to Nevada County’s North San Juan Ridge, bringing with him his Culburnie Records label. He got to know Annie through events sponsored by KVMR and became an occasional guest on Celtic Cadence. Alasdair also joined the celebrations at the Crannog Pub when he could.
“I asked Alasdair to be a guest when he was around and not touring.” Annie relates, “and he showed up in his Irish Arran sweater and a tweed cap, looking the part. I remember that!”
The first KVMR Celtic Festival took place in 1996. It was a 1-day festival held at Forsman Amphitheater at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Annie O’Dea hosted the event and Alasdair Fraser with his all-star band Skyedance headlined. There were great performances by lots of musicians, and a big joyous crowd.
Festival director John Taber says, “The Celtic Festival has become an annual touchstone for our community. There are families that have made the festival an annual gathering and people who came to the festival as children are bringing their own kids now.”
This year’s KVMR Celtic Festival will be a celebration with return appearances of festival favorites and plenty of exciting new players.
KVMR Celtic Festival
First founded in 1996, the KVMR Celtic Festival includes eleven performance areas including five musical and six demonstration stages and a weekend-long youth arts instruction that has included Celtic music, magic, dance and songwriting.
The Festival is the main fundraising event of the year for KVMR Community Radio which operates as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) entity. Held in the early fall, the festival regularly draws over 7,000 attendees for the two days and the promotional outreach extends throughout KVMR’s listening area including a worldwide live streaming broadcast over the internet through iTunes and the KVMR website.
We continue to bring international performers to Nevada County and showcase an ever-increasing cadre of regional talent including musicians, dancers, and performing artists of every type.
Each year, the festival provides a professional performance venue for many young student musicians and dancers to perform in front of a live audience and hone their craft. Workshops and sessions are held throughout the event to provide musicians of every age and caliber an opportunity to learn from each other in a synergistic and fun atmosphere.
Funds for the festival are raised through sponsorships, vendor fees, ticket sales, program advertising, and beverage sales. The festival is produced by a team of over 300 volunteers who generously donate their time and energy year after year, plus KVMR’s small staff.
Your support of the Celtic Festival is a partnership with KVMR Community Radio that keeps independent, non-commercial media alive and well in the world.
We are honored to be able to continue to bring the music and magic of the Celtic genre to our community.