Skip to main content

The KVMR Celtic Festival draws over 6,000 people to the Nevada County Fairgrounds for headline music and festivities featuring hundreds of musicians performing on 8 stages along with camping, workshops, Renaissance guilds and more. It’s the biggest single fundraiser for community radio KVMR – a stunning event and a defining moment for the community. Please contact me for a feature story on the event. I’ll gladly provide press passes and line up advance interviews with our Celtic Committee. LOTS of colorful high resolution photos are available.

WHO: Community Radio KVMR 89.5 FM

WHAT: 25th Annual KVMR Celtic Festival

WHEN: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, September 29 through October 1st, 2023
10:00 am to 10:00PM on Saturday
10:00 am to 8:00PM on Sunday
Seniors are admitted at 9:30 am on Sunday only for complimentary coffee, scones and preferred seating.

Friday, September 29, 4:00 to 7:00PM – FREE Youth Arts Program
8:00 to 11:00 – Ceilidh Dance with Live Music by the San Miguel Fraser and Summer McCall

WHERE: Nevada County Fairgrounds
11228 McCourtney Rd, Grass Valley, CA 95949

KVMR Celtic Festival 2023 Playlists

The 25th annual KVMR Celtic Festival and Marketplace mixes Celtic music and magic September 29 through October 1 in Grass Valley, California at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, a bucolic setting on 100 acres among giant ponderosa pines. There are seven stages and performance areas. Our main stage hosts many of the best Celtic musicians on the world stage.

The Nevada County Fairgrounds is transformed into a Celtic Village and headline concert venue. Mainstage musical headliners for this year include Talisk, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, The Elders, The Jeremiahs, On The Lash, The Moxie Strings, Eamonn Flynn & Dublinesque, San Miguel Fraser and many more.

Shopping and dining opportunities abound with over 50 vendors and a complete Irish Pub. Hundreds of regional performers, singers, bagpipers, actors, jugglers and storytellers roam the fairgrounds.

Friday night includes a Free Friday Youth Arts Program, and the Friday night Ceilidh – a Celtic party with music, dancing and revelry under the stars.

Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and join in with jam sessions and workshops scheduled throughout the weekend. History buffs can explore several encampments of “Guilds” who re-create points and places in time. Exciting and educational, the Celtic Animals exhibit houses falcons, hawks, owls, and Irish wolfhounds.

Revelers make music into the night in the campgrounds complete with tall trees and a lake. Camping and RV hookups are available on-site.

Amateur and professional athletes test their strength and skill in Scottish Games. Children are kept engaged with arts and crafts, story telling, Fairy Wood, and romping on the straw bales.

We hope you and your family will join us for this year’s KVMR Celtic Festival. FREE YOUTH ARTS PROGRAM – Friday, September 29 from 4:00 to 7:00PM The Celtic Festival’s Friday Youth Arts Program has grown to be a wonderful afternoon of music, magic, dance and arts instruction for aspiring artists. Participants, ages 10-18, learn from world-class artists and festival headliners. Youth participants in the program can take 1-3 consecutive workshops of their choice. The FREE program includes workshops and a discounted youth day pass for attendees.


FESTIVAL KICK-OFF CELEBRATION – Thursday Night National Hotel Courtyard Celtic Session -Thursday, September 28, 2023 from 5PM-8PM

Pre KVMR Celtic Festival Session in the National Hotel Courtyard!

Proceeds to KVMR & Celtic session players.  Experience an amazing lineup of traditional Celtic music!!   60+ traveling musicians gathering from        all over northern California!! *  Hosted by our wonderful local session  players!

*  Four separate sessions from many Celtic traditions! Scottish, Irish, Breton, Celtic song circle.

The National Hotel Thursday Celtic Session is going outdoors in celebration of the KVMR annual Celtic Festival at the Fairgrounds. Join us for an epic night of Traditional music on the eve of the KVMR Celtic Festival. Festivities kick off in the National Hotel courtyard @ 5pm with an outdoor bar service and buffet food available. Ticket price includes all-you-can-eat! There will be prizes on the night too! The National Hotel in Nevada City, CA is proud to present this very special evening in conjunction with KVMR local radio.

Tickets: $20 HERE Cover charge includes all you can eat with food from National Hotel chefs.


FRIDAY NIGHT CEILIDH – Friday, September 29 from 8PM-11PM

This year the KVMR Celtic Festival will get a running start on Friday night with our Friday Night Ceilidh – an evening of Celtic music and dance featuring San Miguel Fraser and Summer McCall.  FRIDAY NIGHT CEILIDH

Tickets on sale Sept. 20 Dancing in the Ponderosa Hall featuring San Miguel Fraser and Summer McCall. Food and libations will be available for purchase.  *The Ceilidh is a separate ticket, not included in festival ticket price.

Indoor space for dancing, an outdoor deck with food and a full service pub, and beautiful garden space for relaxing and enjoying the evening.

Get ready to put on your dancing shoes and join us for an unforgettable evening of fun and entertainment! San Miguel Fraser will be performing traditional Celtic music that’ll get your feet tapping and your heart pumping. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, there’ll be plenty dancing for all ages and abilities.

There’ll be line, circle, and couple dancing for all ages and abilities. No need to come with a partner – it’s a great way to socialize and meet friends.

San Miguel Fraser will be part of the KVMR Cèilidh (KAY-lee) on Friday night. What’s a Cèilidh, you ask? It’s a traditional Scottish & Irish social gathering – and KVMR’s take is not to be missed. The Friday Night Cèilidh is something to behold with live Celtic music and traditional dancing. Tickets for the Cèilidh go on sale Wednesday, September 20th for $20.


San Miguel Fraser

Celtic + Castilian fiddle duo, María San Miguel and Galen Fraser share their rich musical connection alongside Summer McCall calling and leading the dances. Prepare yourself for an evening of boundless energy and joy.


Summer McCall

With an enthusiastic and infectious love for movement, Summer has long-standing experience and joy calling traditional dances for Scottish ceilidhs (pronounced kay-lee). With a background of well over a decade in modern, ballet, Middle Eastern, Irish/Scottish step dancing and tap, calling for dances came natural in her early teens.

KVMR Celtic Festival – Musical Headliners:


Saturday & Sunday

Ground-breaking, chart-topping, genre-bending, globetrotting, instantly enthralling. It’s little wonder that Talisk ranks highly amongst the most in-demand folk-based groups to emerge from Scotland in the last decade and more.

Are you ready for a musical experience unlike any other? Look no further than Talisk! This genre-bending trio will have you on your feet from start to finish with their fast and fiery performance. Mohsen Amini, often compared to Freddie Mercury with a thick Glaswegian accent, leads the charge and ignites audiences all over the world. Their light show and driving sound will leave you in awe. Don’t miss out on this Saturday night closing act (and a shorter set on Sunday) – prepare to be amazed!

Mohsen Amini (BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Musician of the Year), Graeme Armstrong and Benedict Morris  (BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year) fuse concertina, guitar and fiddle to produce a ground-breaking, multi-layered signature that has captivated audiences around the globe. At its core, three seemingly acoustic instruments – but in the hands of three master craftsmen; one unmistakable, bold sound and captivating live show.

Talisk have toured the world, stacking up major awards for their explosively energetic, artfully woven sound – including Folk Band of the Year at the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award, and the Belhaven Bursary for Innovation. Appearances at leading festivals across multiple continents have amassed a die-hard following – including closing out Saturday night’s main stage at the 2019 Cambridge Folk Festival, Denmark’s Tønder Festival, the Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysian Borneo, WOMADs UK, Chile and Las Palmas, Edmonton Folk Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival, three back-to-back years at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and six appearances at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections.

Following their critically acclaimed debut, Abyss, Talisk’s sophomore album, Beyond, quickly amassed five star reviews and rose to No.1 in the iTunes world music charts upon its late 2018 release. With streaming figures into multiple millions, and new music on the horizon in 2022, audiences worldwide are hotly anticipating the latest chapter from a group lauded by leading world music magazine Songlines as: “incredibly infectious and endearing… fresh, invigorating, accomplished.”



Saturday & Sunday

The musical partnership between Alasdair Fraser, long regarded as Scotland’s premier fiddle ambassador, and the sizzlingly-talented young California cellist Natalie Haas may not seem an obvious one.  Fraser, acclaimed by the San Francisco Examiner as “the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling,” has a concert and recording career spanning 30 years, with a long list of awards, accolades, television credits, and feature performances on top movie soundtracks (Last of the Mohicans, Titanic).  Fraser has been sponsored by the British Council to represent Scotland’s music internationally, and received the Scottish Heritage Center Service Award for outstanding contributions to Scottish culture and traditions.

Natalie Haas, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, wasn’t even born when Alasdair was winning national fiddle competitions on the other side of the Atlantic.

But this seemingly unlikely pairing is the fulfillment of a long-standing musical dream for Fraser, whose cutting-edge musical explorations took him full circle to find a cellist who could help him return the cello to its historical role at the rhythmic heart of Scottish dance music.

“Going back to the 1700s, and as late as the early 20th century,” Fraser says, “fiddle and cello made up the dance band of choice in Scotland, with the cellist bowing bass lines and driving the rhythm. Pianos and accordions elbowed out the cello, relegating it to an orchestral setting. I’ve been pushing to get the cello back into the traditional music scene for years, always on the lookout for a cellist with whom I could have a strong musical conversation, one that incorporated not just the cello’s gorgeous melodic tones, but also the gristly bits—the rhythmic, percussive energy that makes the wee hairs on the back of the neck stand up.”

Natalie Haas was just 11 when she first attended Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School in California. She responded to Fraser’s challenge to find and release the cello’s rhythmic soul, and four years later, when Natalie was just 15, Fraser and Haas played their first gig together. Now regularly touring with Fraser and creating a buzz at festivals and in concert halls throughout Europe and North America, Natalie is in the vanguard of young cellists who are redefining the role of the cello in traditional music.

The duo represented Scotland at the Smithsonian Museum’s Folklife Festival, have been featured on nationally broadcast Performance Today, the Thistle & Shamrock, and Mountain Stage. They both teach at Fraser’s popular annual summer fiddle courses (Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School and Sierra Fiddle Camp in California, and at Sabhal Mor Ostaig Gaelic College in Scotland), and Natalie is on the faculty of Berklee College of Music in Boston.

“Cellists are coming out of the woodwork to study with Natalie, to learn how she creates a groove and a whole chunky rhythm section,” says Fraser. “It’s inspiring to hear the cello unleashed from its orchestral shackles!”

One of the inspirations is the duo’s debut recording, Fire & Grace, which displays dazzling teamwork, driving, dancing rhythms, and the duo’s shared passion for improvising on the melody and the groove of Scottish tunes. The two instruments duck and dive around each other, swapping melodic and harmonic lines, and trading rhythmic riffs. The recording won not only critical acclaim, but also the coveted the Scots Trad Music “Album of the Year” award, the Scottish equivalent of a Grammy. Fire & Grace, and the duo’s new CD In the Moment, and Fraser’s many other recordings are on his own Culburnie Records label.



Alasdair Fraser is a name that commands respect and admiration in the world of Scottish fiddle music. His skillful and nuanced playing, combined with his deep knowledge and passion for the tradition, has made him a role model for countless musicians. Fraser’s dedication to the art and his willingness to share his knowledge and experience has helped to keep the Scottish fiddle tradition alive and thriving. From his native Scotland to the shores of America, his influence has been felt far and wide. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or just starting out, Alasdair Fraser is a name you need to know!



Saturday & Sunday

Celtic & Castilian fiddle duo María San Miguel and Galen Fraser are multi-instrumentalists and educators who celebrate the values of community and traditional music in their unique chamber music style.Their music contains all the traditional elements that you would expect, beautifully executed ornamentation and chording. But surprises with fresh tunings and startlingly touching and deeply thoughtful arrangements.


Galen Fraser is an accomplished fiddle player, composer, engineer and producer from the foothills of Northern California. Best known for his modern take on celtic traditional music, he tours with the praised Galen Fraser Quartet, Soulsha, and the Europe-baised Atlantic Folk Trio.

Galen has performed at The Mandavi Centre, The Palace of Fine Arts, Symphony Hall in Boston, Ma, with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and many other esteemed venues in the United States and Europe.

With a love for improvisation and composition, Galen’s passion lead him to pursue music as a career, earning his Bachelors Degree in Songwriting from Berklee College of Music. In August 2016, Galen released his debut solo album, “Mischief Managed” featuring all original fiddle music and songs with guests such as Natalie Haas, Alasdair Fraser, Jenna Moynihan and Conor Hearn.


Castilian fiddler María specialized in Castilian fiddle music and keeps audiences thoroughly captivated with her fiery fiddling and soulful voice. Galen is an accomplished fiddle player from the foothills of Northern California, connected familiarly with Scottish and American folk. He’s best known for his modern take on Celtic traditional music.



Friday Ceilidh and Sunday Session Stage

With an enthusiastic and infectious love for movement, Summer has found herself with long standing experience and joy calling traditional dances for Scottish ceilidhs (pronounced kālē). With a background of well over a decade in ballet, modern, Middle Eastern, Irish/Scottish step dancing and tap, calling for dances came natural in her early teens.

Starting as a dance caller at Alasdair Fraser’s Sierra Fiddle Camp in 2012 she has since been asked to lead dances at multiple festivals, various camps around the country, private events, the Boston Celtic Music Festival, KVMR Celtic Festival and throughout North America & Europe.

Summer McCall is Festival Director of Boston Celtic Music Festival and co-founder of Ministry of Folk, a virtual folk music directory



Saturday & Sunday

“The Elders” remain one of the top Celtic-rock bands in the U-S after 24 years because of their timeless sound.    It’s their passion, great melodies, unique harmonies, unparalleled musicianship and strong song-writing that keeps them connected.

The Elders were founded in 1998 by six individuals with a passion for music rooted in Americana and Celtic folk rock. From the beginning The Elders seemed to be channeling something ancient and enduring – something unaffected by fads, trends and the giant maw of mind-numbing commercialism. Their ability to bring together the art of story telling with elements both musically progressive and rooted in tradition, has won them a broad international fan base, as well as critical acclaim in numerous publications such as PASTE Magazine, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange, Music Row Magazine, Goldmine Magazine, TRAD Magazine (France), Chicago Sun-Times, Kansas City Star and many more.

Story Road, the 7th studio album, builds upon The Elders song writing reputation. The songs reflect delightful and often educational story lines, with vibrant narratives that explore history, legends, tall tales and true life experiences.  In addition to band’s trademark mesh of styles & textures, and lush, soaring vocals, the album features three barn-burning instrumentals.

Their critically acclaimed albums serve as reflections of the group dynamic, but fans who are wild about The Elders can tell you that the real magic happens on stage, where their powerful personal and musical chemistry forges a deep sense of community with their audience. During the upbeat numbers, everyone is shouting gleefully, singing along and dancing as the band stirs up their latest moment of wild abandon. During the historical story songs, the crowd is rapt, hanging on singer Ian Byrne’s every turn of poignant or whimsical phrase. There are mournful ballads along the way, but the crowd always knows there will be redemption in the end.

The Elders have headlined major Celtic Festivals in North America and Europe.  For the past 12 years they have sponsored a tour of Ireland in which fans are invited to join in on an extraordinary 13 day excursion visiting historical and geographical sights during the day and gathering at a local pub or ballroom at night for pints and performances by the band.



Saturday & Sunday

Get ready to tap your feet and feel the Irish spirit with The Jeremiahs! From Dublin and Cork Ireland.  Led by the deep-voiced Joe Gibney and joined by the lovely singer and fiddler Niamh Varian-Barry, this band is taking the music scene by storm. With their soulful singing and beautiful fiddling, they’ll transport you to the heart of Ireland.

From the outset The Jeremiahs grabbed the attention of the heavyweights like Irish Music Magazine whose Sean Laffey says they are “One of the freshest bands in traditional music “and Live Ireland who published “They are the real deal”…

They shape their sound with Dubliner Joe Gibney’s beautiful vocals and some whistle (not at the same time); Julien Bruneteau from Brittany who plays whistle and flutes; Dublin based James Ryan who holds down the rhythm section on guitar and bouzouki and a few choice effects pedals; and finally Niamh Varian-Barry on fiddle and vocals.

They heralded their arrival and gained immediate recognition by winning the Ballyshannon Folk Festival showcase competition their first year out.Two years later they’ve released their self titled album which includes the track ‘Forgotten Sons’ that Christy Moore picked as the song that “tickled my ears the most” and won the 2015 TradConnect Songwriters’ Showcase.

Thus far the band has graced many stages during successful tours in countries such as Ireland, Russia,Germany, Denmark,England and Scotland. So get out and don’t miss them!



Saturday & Sunday

Are you ready for some foot-stomping, hand-clapping good time? Look no further than the Irish American trio, “On the Lash”! Their enchanting voices and traditional instruments will transport you to the Emerald Isle with every note

In honor of Irish traditional music, On The Lash creates timeless sounds through original voices. With new takes on classic songs and original constructions of established standards, OTL aims to explore the inherent energy and versatility of the genre.

“This band is talented! Amazing vocal harmonies, pin-point musicianship and a diverse set list that had broad appeal to the music enthusiast and the walk-in crowd alike. ‘Mesmerizing’ is a fair characterization of their show.”

— Rick Russel, Owner, The Englewood, Hershey, PA



Friday Youth Arts Program, Saturday & Sunday

“…top-notch, instrumental wizardry…” – Grand Rapids Press
“When it comes to The Moxie Strings, the name says it all.” –

The Moxie Strings offer listeners the unique opportunity to experience some of the world’s best known instruments through a young, progressive lens. Diana Ladio and Alison Lynn hold Bachelor of Music degrees in music performance and music education, which have given each the technical foundation to explore the limits of her instrument and helped the group build a reputation for musical excellence. Alison performs on a newly- invented, electric cello, and Diana on a contemporary 5-string violin. Both use a variety of audio effects pedals. The Moxie Strings compose the majority of their pieces and arrange melodies from many countries, resulting in a genre-blurring blend of ear-catching, mainstream melodies and foot-stomping, rock-influenced rhythms. The band’s polished, high-energy show continues to redefine strings’ role in contemporary music, and offers audience members a diverse, fun, musical experience.

Their newest album released in 2022 “Live & Plugged In” is the band’s fifth full-length album and features 6 original songs, 2 traditional fiddle tunes, and 4 cover songs including Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” and Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit.” All songs recorded live at Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake, MI.

It has often been said that the magic of The Moxie Strings is in their live show experience, and the two are thrilled to have album that captures all the exciting, heartwarming, virtuosic, and humorous moments. The band prides themselves on pushing the creative limits of 5-string violin and electric cello, and this album is their most poignant example yet.

Diana Ladio and Alison Lynn hold Bachelor of Music degrees in music performance and music education.  Alison performs on a newly-invented, electric cello, and Diana on a contemporary 5-string violin. Together they’re known as The Moxie Strings.  The duo composes the majority of their pieces, taking inspiration from melodies around the globe. Formed in 2007, The Moxie Strings were inspired not only to perform but also to teach. They’ve dedicated their careers to helping young musicians and have taught clinics in over 200 schools throughout the US.

Diana Ladio is co-founded the instrumental fusion trio and educational ensemble, The Moxie Strings, and also tours as the fiddle player for Irish super-group, The Elders. Diana graduated with the highest honors from the University of Michigan School Of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance with Teaching Certification. While at UofM, she had the honor of studying with renowned violist, Yizhak Schotten, as well as highly acclaimed string instrument pedagogue, Robert Culver.  Diana is a studied Americana fiddler, songwriter and classical violist, and makes her living performing, recording, and teaching music. She is a graduate of the Mark O’Connor Strings Conference and Christian Howe’s Creative Strings Workshop, where she now returns as an instructor. She has studied with well-known string players such as Jeremy Kittel (Turtle Island String Quartet), Casey Driessen (Fiddler for Bela Fleck’s The Flecktones), Mike Block, Wendy MacIsaac, Christian Howes, and Alex Hargreaves.

Alison Lynn is a studied contemporary cellist, specializing in rhythmic and percussive playing styles. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Western Michigan University under the instruction of revered cellist and conductor, Bruce Uchimura. She is a graduate of the Mark O’Connor Strings Conference, where she had the opportunity to study with renowned cellists Rushad Eggleston, Mike Block, and Tristan Clarridge. She has also studied with celebrated contemporary cellist, Natalie Haas. Alison has performed with hip-hop icon Kanye West, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and has performed at The Palace at Auburn Hills, The Breslin Center, VanAndel Arena, among many others, and for crowds of up to 25,000 people. Alison is endorsed by NS Design Electric Instruments. Their music is an innovative style combining Fiddle with Electric Cello. Their involvement with the youth is a real gift to the KVMR Celtic Festival.

Diana and Alison are two of the Celtic Festival’s Youth Arts Program teachers. Advanced players are invited for a unique opportunity to work with The Moxie Strings to learn a performance tune. During the festival, those kids can share the stage with The Moxie Strings and join in playing the tune.  ​​For more information about attending The Moxie Strings FREE intermediate workshop at Whole Music studio, please email Amie:

Regional Performers



Regional Celtic Sessions sending players to the Session Stage this year include:


National Hotel Session:

This Session is hosted by musicians who have played together for decades, now playing in the bar of National Hotel in Nevada City every Thursday from 5–8 p.m. and every other Sunday 4–6 p.m. at the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley. They play a variety of Celtic traditional tunes and often just burst into song without warning.


Auburn Session with Pete & Phyllis Grant

Experienced players have hosted this lively session in Auburn for nearly two decades. They play every Sunday night at the Tap & Vine in Auburn 6-8 p.m. The Auburn Session includes tunes, songs and lots of laughter.


Celtic Song Circle

If you like to sing, these are the sessions for you. Anyone is welcome to come lead a song, join in on the choruses, or just sit and listen. A Cappella mainly, but if you’d like to accompany yourself, that’s just fine. Led by Sharon Carl and Elizabeth Townsend, focus is on songs that celebrate Ireland and Scotland, but if you are not sure from where your song hails, that’s okay, we’ll sing it anyway! Chico Session These folks have hosted a session for many years in the Chico area, including Friday afternoons at Duffy’s Tavern. They are all seasoned players who maintain a true traditional feel to a large repertoire of tunes.


San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers

Formed in 1986 by Alasdair Fraser, SFSF is now a musical family of more than 300 musicians of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. They gather throughout the year to share the joy of playing music from the enduring Scottish tradition. Spontaneity is a key element, and they delight in breaking down the barrier between performers and Audience.


Santa Rosa Session

These long-standing informal sessions play twice monthly at the Redwood Café in Cotati and also in other locations. They favor traditional Scottish and Irish music and even allow bagpipes, banjos and accordions to play at their sessions! Starry Plough Session Players from the famous Starry Plough pub in Berke-ley, which hosts open traditional Irish music sessions (with breaks for singers) every Sunday night starting at 7:30 pm. They welcome you to lead a tune set, sing a song or just follow along.


Youth-Led Session

This session is led by young fiddlers and other musicians ranging in age from 8 to 22. They may be young in age but they are old in experience. Just try to keep up with these hot players!




10 a.m. National Hotel Session

11:15 a.m. Alasdair Fraser Session

1:15 p.m. Elders Session

2:45 p.m. Celtic Song Circle

4:30 p.m. Eamonn Flynn & Dublinesque

6:00 p.m. Open Informal Sessions


10:00 a.m. National Hotel Session

11:15 a.m. Youth Led Session

1:15 p.m. The Jeremiahs Session

2:45 p.m. Summer McCall & Friends Session

4:30 p.m. San Miguel Fraser Session

6:00 p.m. Open Informal Sessions



Friday Youth Arts Program Workshop & Saturday

The McKeever School of Irish Dance of Sacramento offers Irish dance lessons from beginner through champion levels, and to both children and adults. Owner and instructor Nicole McKeever toured the world for seven years with professional dance companies such as Riverdance: the show. She has a Master’s Degree in Irish Dance Performance.




The Kennelly School started in 1959 and Patricia Kennelly

assumed the role as director in 1975. The Kennelly School is proud to have won titles in solo, ceili, figure and drama categories at the North American Championships, All Ireland, European, Great Britain, British National, and All Scotland Championships, and her students have also placed on the podium at the World Championships. In addition to participating in competitive events, students have many opportunities to perform. From private receptions for Irish dignitaries to major musical events in arenas like the Hollywood Bowl or dancing with great bands such as the Chieftains, DeDannaan, Eileen Ivers, Arcady, Danu, and so many more, the school has a rich history in performing and the promotion of traditional Irish music. Patricia plays the button accordion and was taught by Joe Cooley from Co. Galway. She is an adjudicator and grade examiner with the Irish Dancing Commission. Patricia is committed to excellence in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere of learning.



Friday Youth Arts Progam

Join Rod Baggett and Robbie Merchant in a rousing workshop singing Sea shanties as well as traditional and comtemporary Celtic song.  Lyrics provided.

Rod Baggett is a gifted teacher with over 27 years of choral directing experience, and his approach is enthusiastic and inviting. Rod Baggett is choral conductor at Nevada Union High School.  He organizes monthly The Foundry Sings events, choir camps, World Fest choir and workshops.  Rod Baggett is one of four featured singers in the group Harmony Happens.




Steve Baughman is known as one of the world’s premier Celtic, fingerstyle guitar players. His latest album was recently featured on NPR’s “Thistle and Shamrock.”  Baughman is especially known for his solo guitar arrangements of Turlough O’Carolan’s harp music. Who is Turlough O’Carolan, you may ask?

O’Carolan was a blind Celtic harper, composer & singer in Ireland during the late 17th/early 18th century. His innate gift for melodic composition garnered him massive fame. In fact, O’Carolan’s lore has such a hold over Celtic music and culture that although he never studied as a formal composer, he’s considered by some to be Ireland’s national composer.

Most of O’Carolan’s compositions were never published or even written down in his lifetime. They survived in the repertoires of fiddlers, pipers, and the last of the old Irish harper/singers. It wasn’t until the late 1700’s that they were collected and published.

Are you ready to be swept away by the soul-stirring sounds of the acoustic guitar? Look no further than our very own guitar master, who’s reworked the legendary harpist O’Carolan’s tunes for the guitar. With his nimble fingers and a deep understanding of music, he’s brought new life to these timeless classics. From “Planxty Irwin” to “Carolan’s Concerto”, our maestro has infused every note with his unique style and flair. So, if you’re a fan of acoustic music or simply looking to broaden your musical horizons, you won’t want to miss this exceptional performance by our very own guitar virtuoso.

Baughman performs SUNDAY, Oct 1st @ 11am on the Pine Tree Stage.



Saturday & Sunday

Eamonn Flynn  & Dublinesque

Songs and stories about growing up in Dublin.

He’s a great keyboard player who was on the soundtrack to the movie The Commitments

They call it ” Irish Soul”

Get ready to be transported to the charming streets of Dublin with the soulful music of Eamonn Flynn’s Dublinesque. This talented keyboard player, known for his work on the soundtrack of the iconic movie The Commitments, brings to life the essence of Irish Soul through his songs and stories about growing up in Dublin. With his unique blend of jazz, blues, and traditional Irish music, Eamonn Flynn creates a nostalgic and heartwarming experience that will leave you wanting more. Come along on a journey with Dublinesque and experience the magic of Dublin like never before.



Saturday & Sunday

Are you ready for some foot-tapping, jig-inducing music? Look no further than our upcoming event featuring traditional Irish and Scandinavian tunes played on fiddles, concertinas, accordions, bouzoukis, nyckelharpas, and more! The sounds of these instruments will transport you to another world as you enjoy the lively rhythms and catchy melodies. Don’t miss out on this unique and unforgettable musical experience. Join us and let the music lift your spirits and fill your heart with joy!



Saturday & Sunday

heir acapella vocals transport you to the North Sea, the Caribbean, or to a remote village pub in County Clare.

When the Beatles conquered America, Jeff Peach swapped out his middle school clarinet for a Höfner bass guitar. When he heard Earl Scruggs on TV’s Beverly Hilbillies, bass morphed into banjo, which led to hammer dulcimer and on to Planxty and Irish bouzouki. Jeff’s bodhran playing owes more to rock bands than to seisiúns. His strong baritone is half the vocal power of the band.

Gale Peach put her violin in its case on the last day of high school orchestra. When she opened the case again after college, she found a fiddle inside. Whiskey Before Breakfast was her first traditional tune, and she soon won a blue ribbon with it at the Cal State Fullerton banjo ­fiddle contest. Gale avidly reads through Irish and Scottish tune collections and brings them to the band.

Greg Mirken flexed his fingers around the 60s folk revival, but his brother and his buddy had already taken banjo and guitar. So like his hero, bluegrass founder Bill Monroe, Greg chose mandolin. He focused on bluegrass and old­ time until an orphan English concertina rolled into his music instrument repair shop and he found its tone a perfect match with Jeff’s dulcimer and Gale’s fiddle.

Shape and texture default to Marge Mirken, who lives in the groove, rolling rhythms and bass lines along on Celtic harp, or chopping swing chords on guitar. When a tune needs banjo, she mixes claw hammer and 3­finger styles. Her thoroughly American voice is the other half of TTT’s vocal duo.



Saturday & Sunday

Masha and Geff Crawford offer traditional moonshine-flavored music with a twist of wry-whiskey humor. Enjoy roots-inspired driving fiddle, bluesy, rhythmic banjo, and close harmonies from two masters of traditional music, interweaving old with new, Appalachian with Irish.

Enjoy roots-inspired driving fiddle, bluesy, rhythmic banjo, and close harmonies from two masters of traditional music, interweaving old with new, Appalachian with Irish, Kate Wolf with John Prine.



Saturday & Sunday

Myra Lynne Traugot presents her personal musical and historical voyage to 18th century Scotland, “Over the Sea to Skye with Flora MacDonald.” In 1746 MacDonald saved the Stuart crown prince by passing him off as her Irish spinning maid, preventing his capture by British forces. Why did she do it and what became of her later? Who were the players in the political and cultural drama? What conspiratorial secrets are hidden in plain sight in the rich musical heritage of the era? Give a listen as Myra musically informs this piece of Scottish history.



Cassidy Joy is a multi-genre vocalist, instrumentalist and songwriter, with roots spanning from Celtic & Folk music to Classic Rock, Country, Pop and beyond.  Joy has made a name for herself as a successful solo artist,  band leader & concert producer, and has contributed vocals throughout the years to Cousin Cricket, The Rayos, Objects In The Mirror, Achilles Wheel, The Velvet Foxes, and a successful eight-year run as a duo with local singer Karen Woerner. While her solo material consists of some original songs, Joy identifies most as an Interpretive singer, finding inspiration in music from decades & centuries before, and in breathing new life into old melodies.

After first making her debut at the Celtic Festival in 2018, the five years in between have brought Joy on a personal journey of discovering her deeper musical connection to her Scottish & Irish roots. Her performances are raw, vulnerable, strong, and full of stories. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Scottish singers Anne Briggs, Julie Fowlis, Ellen MacDonald, and Pentangle’s Jacqui McShee, Joy showcases ancient, traditional songs stripped down to their purest form with a voice and a guitar. Her music is steeped in the sacredness of her Celtic ancestors.



Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

A Seer, Sage, Sorcerer, and Storyteller whose magic is not about tricks but about life. He performs card tricks so mind-bendingly good that you’re likely to stay up an extra hour trying to figure out how he did it. Silvermaine does what great magicians do – he reduces cynical adults to a state of wonder.

Merloch is also one of our most popular instructors for our Friday Youth Arts Program.



Saturday & Sunday

The Story Wrens (formerly Wren of Iniquity) found their inspiration in the magical scene of the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Agoura, California and the resurgent folk arts and early music there.  Research and authenticity were the lay of the cultural landscape.  The music and songs became the tresor trové, literally the “treasure found” that would offer connection through time.



Saturday & Sunday

Experience a display of aerial acrobatics through the art of falconry. View birds of prey up close and get hands-on time with a variety of birds and reptiles in this entertaining and educational opportunity.



Friday & Saturday

Scottish Highland games demos, Sat and Sun, noon to 3pm on the arena green.

These athletes are true enthusiasts of the Scottish Highland Games. They are eager to engage the crowd in answering questions and discussing the games. After the demo spectators will be able to touch and heft the Highland Games implements to get a tactile sense of the difficulty of the events, and the power and skill of the athletes. GCH is a very family-friendly organization!



Friday & Saturday

The Northern California Irish Wolfhound Club was formed in 1974.

The beginnings of Irish Wolfhounds can be traced back as early as 273B.C. through ancient woodcuts and writings. Ownership of these great hounds was restricted. They were sent as greatly coveted gifts to emperors, kings, nobility and poets.

Hunting and fighting filled the life of the early Irish, and master and hound alike excelled in both. Of all the animals cherished in Ireland, only the Irish Wolfhound appears as a symbol throughout the land – on every jar of Tullamore Dew Whiskey, on every piece of Belleek porcelain, sixpence coins and even postage stamps feature the Irish Wolfhound. Come by and see these beautiful animals.



Friday & Saturday

Living history guilds, jugglers, story tellers, highland athletics and more are showcased throughout the grounds.


Guild of St Margaret


Gold Country Celtic Society


Clan Cian


The Shamrock Club of Sacramento


The Story Wrens


The Northern California Irish Wolfhound Club


Raptor Events


St Andrew’s Guild- the Court of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots


Merloch Silvermane the Magician


Highlanders In The Mist


Harvest Home Revelers


Foothills Fiber Guild of Nevada County


Clan Galbraith


Gold Country Highlanders


Kids Area and FaeryWood

See Program Guide pg 23, 29

Share This