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Irish and Celtic Music Festival, Yass: Top 5 things to do

TRADITIONAL GRAFFITI: Formerly The Wheeze & Suck Band, are one of more than 100 artists playing at the festival. Photo: supplied by the band
TRADITIONAL GRAFFITI: Formerly The Wheeze & Suck Band, are one of more than 100 artists playing at the festival. Photo: supplied by the band

The Irish and Celtic Music Festival is becoming one of the major spring events in Yass.

In its second year, the festival has doubled in size with more stages, bands, dancers and workshops.

Organiser Janno Scanes said, international and Australian performers will take over the town this weekend, appearing on the streets and in bars.

With more than 100 events to choose from at this weekend's Irish and Celtic Music Festival, we've selected the top five to centre your weekend around.

1. Aisling Vaughan

Headlining this year's festival is guest artist Aisling Vaughan from County Cork, Ireland. The award-winning singer and dancer has toured extensively around her home country, Europe and America and is the Irish National Association's Musician in Residence.

You can catch Vaughan four times across the weekend. Cameron Mather will join her on stage at Yazzbar on Friday at 9pm. On Saturday at 11.30am, Vaughan will play solo at the Club House Hotel and return on stage with Mather in the All Stars Concert in the Soldiers' Memorial Hall at 7.30pm. On Sunday, Vaughan will take part in the Local Showcase Concert at 2pm in the Memorial Hall.

2. Junior Fleadh

Young locals and visitors will be among the many musicians and dancers to take to the stage during the festival. The Junior Fleadh is a free Irish music and dance workshop held at Mount Carmel School, in the centre of town. The students will learn from the festival's very own performers and finish with a concert.

The workshop will run from 9.30am to 11.30am on Saturday and Sunday. The concert will be held at Lovat Chapel at 12.30pm on Sunday.

3. Poet's Breakfast

Lovers of words will enjoy the Poet's Soiree and Breakfast at this year's festival. The Poets Soiree features poets Megan and Jason Roweth, Allan Stone, Peter Mace and Robyn Sykes at Trader and Co. from 6pm on the Friday.

The Poet's Breakfast, a poetry slam, will be held on both the Saturday and Sunday morning from 8am inside the Merino Room at the Club House Hotel. Poets will have eight minutes each to impress guest judge Leigh Brown who won the National Folk Festival's Reciter of the Year Award in 2018.

4. Dancing

Yass Soldiers Club is this year's venue for dancing. A Scottish dance led by Alan McCulloch will kick off the weekend workshops on Friday at 8pm. He will return with Irish dance experts Paul and Leslie Carr to run the Scottish Dance and Irish Set Dance workshops at 10am and 12pm respectively, on Saturday and Sunday.

Ian Hayden and a fine set of Irish musicians will provide toe-tapping music for the Irish dances. Bob McInnes with Stringfiddle will play for the Scottish dancing. There will be a Farewell Irish Set Ceili on Sunday at 2:30pm. Knees up!

5. Local Showcase Concert

Catch top artists from the festival all in the same place, at the same time. The Local Showcase Concert will begin at 2pm in the Soldiers' Memorial Hall on Sunday and include Aisling Vaughan, Cameron Mather, Lugh Damen, Daniel Kelly, Green Shoe on a Bender, Maisie's Choir and Yass Valley Voices.

  • View the full program and purchase tickets online at: www.irishcelticmusicfestival.com/
  • Tickets to the Local Showcase Concert and All Stars Concert are available at Comur House.
  • All tickets will be available on the weekend at the festival office, Yass Soldiers' Memorial Hall annex.