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ICONS of Irish Music to be celebrated at this year’s Festival

Irish culture will once again take center stage as the 2008 ICONS (Irish Connections) Festival celebrates the Irish heritage, with a focus on Irish and Celtic music and arts. The festival will take place from September 12-14, 2008 at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, Massachusetts. Tickets for the festival are on sale now at or by phone at 617/508-931-2000.

From storytelling to step dancing, music, literature, sporting demonstrations, genealogy, history, and workshops, the festival now in its 17th year, will once again be one of the biggest gatherings of its kind in the US.

“The 2008 ICONS Festival will once again be a celebration of the wealth of Irish culture and its connections to other cultures around the world,” said Sean Grant, Executive Director of the Irish Cultural Centre of New England.

This year’s musical line-up features some of the true ICONS of the music, as well as some of Ireland’s newest stars. Some of this year’s highlights include:
Liam Clancy, the youngest and last surviving member of the famed Clancy Brothers.
Lúnasa, one of the most sought-after bands on the international Irish music scene, steering Irish acoustic music into surprising new territory
Solas, proclaimed as the most popular, influential, and exciting Celtic band to ever emerge from the United States, will showcase a blend of Celtic traditional, folk and country melodies, bluesy, jazz-inspired improvisations and global rhythms
Recognized as one of Irelands foremost singer-songwriters, this will be Luka Bloom’s first appearance at the ICONS festival
Irish music has influenced many genres of music around the globe, including Bluegrass. ICONS looks to celebrate this musical kinship with the inclusion of Crooked Still, the hot young alternative bluegrass/old-time group on a mission to bend the boundaries of traditional music.
Beoga returns to ICONS after an amazing performance at last year’s festival. A five-piece traditional band, they were nominated by Irish Music Magazine for the best traditional newcomer’s award in 2005.
And the expanding world of traditional dance will be again a big component of the festival, with non-stop participatory dancing and instruction, and performances by Footworks, a dance performance group based in Maryland . Footworks traces in dramatic fashion, the history of step dancing from Ireland through Canada to New England and Appalachia.

Also at the 2008 ICONS Festival Cara Dillon, The Clancy Legacy, David Munnelly Band, Le Vent Du Nord, Joe Derrane, Seamus Connolly and John McGann, Liadan, Chulrua with Paddy O’Brien, Annalivia with John Whelan, Gadelle, Grainne Hambly and Billy Jackson, Revels Repertory, and The Tannahill Weavers, and some very special surprises to be added soon.

“In 2008, we are once again celebrating the best of Irish music in our line-up,” said ICONS producer Brian O’Donovan. “From the traditional ballads of Liam Clancy to some of the hottest new Irish bands on the scene, we are showcasing the wide diversity of Irish music and dance. We look at the festival as a continuum, a way to showcase the best of Irish culture and the arts to New England.”

That celebration continues through all aspects of the festival which includes a spotlight on Irish arts & crafts, step dancing, sports, literature, genealogy and much more. Some of the highlights will include:
Harpapalooza, a fan favorite, this stage featuring performances from harp orchestras and solo performers as well as traditional Irish dancers.
Genealogy has become one of the most popular elements of the festival. The Irish Cultural Center, in conjunction with Tiara, an organization dedicated to assisting individuals in genealogical research, will once again provide workshops on exploring family names and the roots of one’s heritage
Gaelic Sports. The American branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) will stage demonstrations of Hurling and Gaelic Football throughout the weekend.
Literature, an opportunity to celebrate Ireland’s rich and diverse literary tradition. A highlight of this year’s festival will be Shay Duffin’s portrayal of writer Brendan Behan, whose salty pen, and pure Dublin wit, entertained - and upset! - Irish society for decades.
An Ghaeltacht –Gaelic, the Irish language is one of the oldest and richest languages in the world. From spoken word to old-style singing and dancing, ICONS will celebrate the language in an authentic replica of an Irish Thatched Cottage on the site of the Festival
Dance- The world of traditional dance has always been an intrinsic part of Irish culture and recently has made its appearance into popular culture. Amongst the highlights, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is (The Organization of Irish Traditional Musicians) will once again have its own area dedicated to participatory ceili and set dancing.
Tir na nOg, - Land of the Young. From story-telling to musical performances, educational activities, crafts and workshops, Tir na nOg will be the ultimate destination for those under the age of 10.

Advance tickets for the ICONS Festival are available at
or charge by phone at 617/508-931-2000.

3-day discounted festival passes can be purchased for $35 before August 31, providing a full weekend of entertainment at a great value.
Single day tickets are available for $15 before August 31 and for $25 at the gate day of show.

All tickets give you full access to all parts of the festival grounds and all performances. Children under 12 are admitted FREE if accompanied by an adult. For more information, visit

The ICONS Festival takes place September 12, 13 and 14 at the Irish Cultural Center of New England, located at 200 New Boston Drive off Rte. 138 South in Canton, MA.

Permalink - Posted: June 16, 2008 at 12:09 pm