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Milwaukee Irish Fest Announces 2014 Festival Entertainment

Line-up Includes Scotland Music Showcase and Several Must-See Acts

Milwaukee Irish Fest, the world’s largest celebration of Celtic music and culture, announces their entertainment lineup for the 2014 festival taking place August 14-17 along Milwaukee’s lakefront. With more than 100 acts ranging from fan favorites to emerging talent – plus a Scotland Music Showcase – festival goers will be treated to the “ultimate Celtic playlist.”
“To assemble the ultimate Celtic playlist, we travel the world in search of the finest in Celtic entertainment,” said Patrick Boyle, executive director of Milwaukee Irish Fest who visited Scotland earlier this year. “After seeing many phenomenal bands perform in their home towns, we cannot wait to share their talent with our guests.”
Entertainment highlights for the 2014 festival include:
Fan Favorites
Featured fan favorites back by popular demand include:
·         The Red Hot Chilli Pipers have fast become a global phenomenon, taking their signature “Bagrock” sound to the masses.
·         Gaelic Storm, who is celebrating their fifteenth anniversary of appearing at Milwaukee Irish Fest and is famed for their rousing, energetic shows.
·         The Willis Clan, a family of artists and musicians who merge their Irish roots with other music and dance genres to create a unique blend of the old and new.
·         Carlos Núñez, a master showman and groundbreaking artist from the Galician region of Spain who remains undisputed as the tradition’s greatest piper.
·         Award winning Irish banjo band, We Banjo 3 is renowned for their incredible technical virtuosity and musical innovation.
·         Glasgow-based Manran brings a powerful blend of Gaelic and English traditional music and is the only band to use the Highland and Uillean pipes in one lineup.
·         Scythian, classically trained musicians who began as a group of street performers and went on to become one of the most energetic groups around.
·         The High Kings come from accomplished musical pedigrees and showcase their incredible versatility and skills while bringing a rousing acoustic flavor to new songs as well as old favorites.

Other fan favorites include: Beoga, Black 47, Creel, Different Drums of Ireland, Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine, John Carty, Liz Carroll, Seamus Kennedy, Sean Callaghan, McLean Avenue Band, Skerryvore and Tallymoore.

Bands from Ireland and Northern Ireland
Special bands coming from Ireland and Northern Ireland range from emerging artists to true legends in Irish music. Performers include: Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny, The High Kings, John Carty, Sean Callaghan, Sharon Shannon (new), Socks in the Frying Pan (new), We Banjo 3, Beoga, Different Drums of Ireland and Gráinne Holland (new).

Scotland Music Showcase
Rounding out this year’s entertainment will be a special showcase that celebrates the richness of Scotland’s diverse traditional music. Eight of Scotland’s contemporary folk bands will participate in the Scotland Music Showcase: The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Manran, Skerryvore,

Dougie MacLean (new), Gria (new), Dallahan (new), The ALT featuring John Doyle, Nuala Kennedy and Eamon O’Leary (new), and Alisdair Fraser and Tony McManus (new). On Sunday evening at 7:30, the Celtic rock bands in the Scotland Music Showcase will come together on one stage for a Scottish Music Jam. The Scotland music theme will also come to life during the annual Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School, held August 11-15.

Other Bands
Coming from Canada will be two Canadian sisters who make up Searson (new) and the performance group StepCrew (new) whose show brings together Ottawa Valley step dance, Irish step dance and Tap dance. Coming from Spain will be Carlos Núñez who has taken Galician music to all corners of the world. Regional bands include Moxie Strings (new) from Michigan, Scythian from Washington, D.C., and the Willis Clan and Nashville Ceili Band from Nashville. Local favorites include Tallymoore, Whiskey of the Damned, Reilly and more.

“This year’s lineup features both traditional music and new music from emerging artists,” said Boyle. “From singer-songwriter to Trad to rock, there’s truly something for everybody.”

About the Artists
3 Pints Gone
Milwaukee’s 3 Pints Gone performs traditional Celtic folk songs with a distinctive harmony-rich sound. The band has a passion for patriotic and rebel songs of Ireland and Scotland. Led by Bill’s powerful tenor voice, 3 Pints Gone is rounded out with the vocal talents of Kathleen and Jessie’s fine guitar work and vocals.

Academy of Irish Music
Chicago’s Academy of Irish Music is a school focused on youth education with a staff of accomplished musicians teaching a variety of instruments. The Academy teaches group performance grounded in the Suzuki Method, which is teaching music by ear. The school supports youth ensemble groups that prepare for competition and performances in the U.S. and Ireland.

Alasdair Fraser and Tony McManus
Master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser along with Tony McManus, one of the most admired guitarists on the Celtic scene, unite their creative forces in a partnership of incredible musical power and beauty. Drawing from deep wells of tradition and technical prowess, they explore the rich range of Scottish music, from the pipe tunes and song airs of the Highlands to the music of Scotland’s noted fiddler/composers. Milwaukee Irish Fest is elated to welcome these two to the 2014 festival for the first time.

This exciting new collaboration with John Doyle, Nuala Kennedy and Eamon O’Leary, is on the road debuting their brand of stellar harmony singing, exquisite musicianship and arrangements and all around good craic. Each are serious collectors of songs/tunes and have each dedicated many years delving into the treasure trove of traditional Irish, Scottish and English song with some American pieces thrown in for good measure. Each member of The ALT is an instrumentalist and singer of the highest caliber - together the alchemy is peerless.

Andreas Transo
Andreas Transo is a storyteller, writer and musician based out of the Ocooch Mountains of the Driftless Region, also known as Southwestern Wisconsin. Performing mostly traditional and contemporary Irish, English, Scottish and American folk music, Andrea travels, including extensively in Ireland, learning and sharing stories, songs and dances and spreading the messages of peace and community. He was a 2008 semi-finalist in The Prairie Home Companion’s “People in Their 20s Talent Show.”

Joy and gladness is what athas means in the Irish language, and this band lives up to its billing. Formed by three talented musicians from Milwaukee with varied backgrounds, athas plays a variety instruments to perform their high-spirited traditional music.  All three members have been very involved in the local Celtic community as well as playing with the band and Amy and Heather are fresh off performances at the All-Irelands.

Atlantic Wave
Formed in Milwaukee in 2004, Atlantic Wave plays music of Celtic nations that touch the Atlantic Ocean and beyond. A highly respected regional band, Atlantic Wave’s performances pay special attention to Cape Breton music along with Irish and Scottish tunes featuring dueling fiddles.

Barry Dodd
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Barry Dodd is a local favorite. Barry will tug at your heart with a ballad and then lift your spirits with an old-fashioned sing-along. An Irish Fest crowd-pleaser, Dodd is a perennial performer at Irish Fest.

Belgan Academy of Irish Dance
The Beglan Academy of Irish Dance is led by the former lead of Riverdance, Sean Beglan, TCRG. Founded in 2007 as Rince Nia Academy, the academy offers Irish dance instruction that teaches children that with hard work, persistence and dedication, you can achieve your goals. Their studios are located in Cedarburg and Glendale, Wis.

Beoga (Gaelic for ‘lively’) are a County Antrim, Northern Ireland band making their second appearance at Milwaukee Irish Fest. While their bedrock sound is in the Irish tradition, they incorporate everything from bluesy riffs to jazz to New Orleans jamboree vibe. The result is traditional music with a huge sense of madcap genius and adventure, characteristics which keep Beoga in the forefront of the new Irish music wave.

Black 47
Celebrating their 20th anniversary and last year on the road, Black 47 espouses an unblinkingly political and thoroughly Irish form of rock ‘n roll, with songs covering topics from the Northern Ireland conflict to civil rights and urban unrest in contemporary New York. The genesis of Black 47’s music dates all the way back to the dance halls of Five Points in New York City as the Famine Irish descended upon the city and helped create a whole new style of American music. Milwaukee Irish Fest is thrilled to welcome back Black 47 to this year’s festival.

Blackthorn Folly
Blackthorn Folly is a five piece traditionally inspired band from Milwaukee. Playing traditional Celtic tunes with high energy and a ground stomping tempo, all with a penchant for fun!

Blarney’s roots run deep through Irish Fest. Formed in 1975 in Milwaukee, Ed Ward and the first generation of his band were the catalyst for the initial Irish Fest. Blarney celebrates the history of Irish music through songs of the sea, love, uprising and rebellion, spirited pub tunes of revelry, and is dedicated to continuing the Irish ballad tradition. Blarney’s band members currently include Kevin Stapleton and Dennis Murphy. With seven recordings to their credit, and 37 years together, you never know what to expect or who may join them.

Capitol Ceili Band
From Madison, these veterans of the set-dancing scene return to Milwaukee Irish Fest to help you kick up your heels. Chelcy is a professor of music at UW and Alan and Bryan have played together for years as stalwart session mates keeping the ceili house tradition alive.

Carlos Núñez
Carlos Núñez is a master showman and groundbreaking artist who has taken Galician music to all corners of the world. His debut performance at last year’s festival featured a stage full of pipers, dancers and friends that brought the house down. Have you been Núñezed?

Cashel-Dennehy Irish Dancers
Milwaukee’s Cashel Dennehy School of Irish Dance has been entertaining Irish Fest with their traditional, yet innovative, dancing since 1983. Cashel Dennehy continues to excel in regional, national and world competition. The school offers a balanced program for dancers seeking performance or competitive opportunities, and is known for its family-friendly atmosphere.

Ceol Cairde
Ceol Cairde has its roots in the 1988 Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School. Band members enjoy sharing the energy and spirit of traditional Irish music at weddings, festivals, parties, and ceili and set dances. The irresistible blending of their instruments provides the unique sound that is the Music of Friends.

Ceoltóirí Chicago
Ceoltóirí Chicago is a Chicago-based ensemble that has forged their vigorous and lively sound for more than a decade of playing for set dancing events throughout the Midwest. The band features Joe Sheehan on accordion, Seán Cleland on fiddle, John Shine on piano and Tommy Masterson on drums.

Duo Damien McCarthy and Colin Farrell of Creel are hard to match, singing and playing traditional Irish music infused with rock, outlandishness and hilarity. If you have had the fortune to visit Raglan Road in Downtown Disney in Orlando, you have no doubt seen this pair. They are not shy, they are definitely not quiet and they are certainly not ordinary.

Cronin School of Irish Dance
The Cronin School of Irish Dance strives to provide a family oriented, fun, energetic, and exciting environment that will teach both girls and boys of all ages, the skills to Irish dance. Thier students grow in confidence, discipline, make lasting friendships, experience the passion of the Irish culture and the love of performing. The Cronin School of Irish Dance focuses on both performance and competitive dancing.

Cuil A’Lin
Milwaukee based Cuil A’ Lin is a group of young musicians and dancers with the Irish Fest School of Music and Rince Nia Irish Dance Academy. As they say themselves, they play Irish tunes and dance a bit-what more could you want?

Curtis Crossroads Band
A Milwaukee favorite, the Curtis Crossroads Band is a trio playing traditional Irish jigs, reels and vocal tunes.  With the dual fiddles, the band will play for you dozens of jigs and reels, along with a few vocal numbers.

Milwaukee Irish Fest welcomes the thrilling emerging group Dallahan to our 2014 festival. The members of Dallahan met in Edinburgh where they shared their love of all styles of music from jazz to classical, but their love of Irish music brought them together in 2013 to create their own unique sound. Dallahan’s fresh new sound and arrangements of their own compositions and traditional tunes and songs take their audience on a breathtaking musical journey by award winning musicians.

Derek Byrne & Paddygrass
Milwaukee’s Derek Byrne performs Celtic Bluegrass with his band Paddygrass. The band is a collective of incredible musicians from many different genres, a musical journey through Ireland’s influence on bluegrass and gospel. Derek toured the world with Riverdance as a singer and percussionist for 6 years.

Different Drums of Ireland
Different Drums returns to Milwaukee Irish Fest for their final appearance as a band. The group came together in 1991 in Northern Ireland as an exercise to use art and music as a vehicle to do something positive in the community. The band uses the potent symbols of the two communities in Northern Ireland, the Lambeg drum and the bodhran, that are perceived as representing the Nationalist and Unionist cultures.

Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny
Milwaukee Irish Fest is pleased to welcome back two Irish folk music legends, Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny. Both have been at the forefront of Irish traditional songs and music for more than 40 years. Over the years the live concerts, collaborations and recordings of both Andy and Donal have influenced hundreds of aspiring musicians around the world. It is safe to say, as did the Irish Times, they will be “often copied, never equaled.”

Dougie MacLean
Dougie MacLean is one of Scotland’s most successful, respected and popular musicians. Singer-songwriter, composer and magical performer, as well as a fine guitarist and fiddle player, Milwaukee Irish Fest welcomes him to the festival for the first time. His moving song Caledonia and The GAEL, used in the film The Last of the Mohicans, have been recorded and enjoyed by millions worldwide.

Dublin O’Shea
Dublin O’Shea is a Milwaukee group formed in 2002 dedicated to preserving Celtic folk music. Specializing primarily in pub songs from Ireland, Scotland and the Nautical Tradition, they offer a well-rounded look at the Celtic experience. With a repertoire stretching from 300 year old sea tunes to contemporary songs, the band takes a free-wheeling and fun loving approach to their music.

Finbar MacCarthy
MacCarthy is an authentic Irish balladeer with a focus on pub songs and humor. From the fireside of his home in Dublin, Ireland, MacCarthy describes his musical talent as being a jack of all instruments, master of none. An Irish Fest favorite, MacCarthy is making his 17th appearance at the festival accompanied by Eoin MacCarthy on bass and Bob Norman on lead guitar.

Milwaukee’s own Frogwater brings a mix of Celtic, American, old-time, bluegrass, Cajun and blues music for their high energy show. The two-time Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) award winners deliver to those who look for musical sophistication and to those who simply want feel the power of music.

Gaelic Storm
Gaelic Storm is pleased to celebrate their 15th anniversary of appearing at Milwaukee Irish Fest. When they first came to festival in 1998, the group was a bar band just coming off an appearance in the movie Titanic. Today they are internationally known performers who have traveled the world, have four consecutive albums debut at #1 on the Billboard World Albums chart, and much more.

A Milwaukee band, The Gleasons provide a sound where Celtic and pop music meet. Their rich harmonies, coupled with fiddles, flutes, guitars and percussion, will have you stomping your feet.

Glencastle Irish Dancers
Glencastle Irish Dancers, Inc. opened its doors in Milwaukee in 2000. Family, Friendship, Respect, Dedication, Confidence, School Spirit, and Fun are some of the words they stand by and promote at Glencastle. The school offers many aspects of Irish dancing including; competition, solo and team dancing, performances, and learning the traditions of the Irish culture.

Gráinne Holland
Gráinne Holland is an Irish folk singer, television and radio presenter and actor from Belfast. Her recent album debut, launched by Belfast Lord Mayor Niall O’Donnghaile, is a perfect example of the vigor that is to be found in the city’s young Irish speakers. Gráinne has a wonderful collection of traditional songs in Irish and Scottish Gaelic presenting an authentic, modern and urban take on traditional Gaelic verse.
Making their first appearance in the United States, the four young ladies that make up Gria hail from Shetland, Orkney, Lewis and Northumberland, Scotland. Now based in Glasgow, Gria creates a unique sound combining traditional and contemporary Scottish, Gaelic and English influences, self-penned tunes and songs from the rest of the United Kingdom and beyond, with haunting harmonies and weaving melody lines. Milwaukee Irish Fest is excited to welcome this group to the festival for the first time.

The High Kings
Coming from accomplished musical pedigrees, the The High Kings showcase their incredible versatility and skills as multi-instrumentalists bringing a rousing acoustic flavor to new songs as well as old favorites. Their most recent album Friends For Life was recently released in Europe. Their large and enthusiastic fan base will be excited to welcome them back to Milwaukee Irish Fest.

Ian Gould
An immigrant from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ian has played in bands throughout Ireland, the United Kingdom and Europe. He is a singer-songwriter who has been performing and recording internationally for over 10 years. His worldly style is influenced by traditional Irish music. Milwaukee can proudly make a small claim to Ian, as he is now officially one of our fine citizens.  Ian performs beautiful guitar playing and vocals with a diverse set list.

Jeff Ward
Jeff Ward makes his annual appearance at Irish Fest, and he is asked back each year for good reason. Jeff’s music represents traditional and contemporary songs of Ireland and America. Jeff brings his talents to the beautiful ballads of Ireland and hand clapping sing along tunes that he is known for.  Jeff has multiple CDs to his credit memorializing his warmth, laughter and good cheer.

Karen Cook Cannady (fiddle) and Patrick Cannady (uilleann pipes) play traditional music learned through years of study, absorbing a large and growing repertoire from Chicago’s community of Irish immigrant and Irish American musicians, from old tune collections, and from recordings. Karen and Patrick are joined by Donald Terao (guitar/bouzouki). Donald is a lifelong musician and exponent of the guitar in many genres, but enjoys accompanying Irish traditional music on guitar and bouzouki especially. He has studied traditional music with Chicago’s own John Williams and with famous accompanists John Doyle and Daithi Sproule. Donald’s accompaniments accentuate the harmonies and rhythms inherent to the melodies, adding warmth and complexity to the sparseness and lyricism of the melodies. More information on Kilmaley (the Cannadys and their musical colleagues and  piobagusfidil (the Cannadys as a duet) can be found on their website and social media sites.

Kinsella Academy of Irish Dance
Since forming in 2004, Kinsella Academy of Irish Dance has established itself as a premier dance school. Kinsella Academy of Irish Dance has competed locally, nationally and internationally, medaling in all. The school teaches Irish dance in a way that is both true to the roots of the art and innovative in its rhythm and style. Known for its focus on choreography and high caliber footwork, the Academy promotes the love of dance in a learning environment.

Larry Nugent with Cary Novotny
Larry Nugent carries on a great tradition of virtuoso playing on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. A well-established performer and recording artist on the Celtic music circuit, Larry has performed with scores of top musicians including The Chieftains and Shane McGowan. Larry is joined by Cary Novotny, a singer and guitarist with family roots from the West coast of Ireland that complement his musical roots of Kentucky and the Midwest of America.

Leahy’s Luck
A Milwaukee tradition in Irish folk music, Leahy’s Luck has performed its brand of traditional and popular Irish songs throughout the Midwest for 13 years. A past winner of the Wisconsin Area Music Industry’s World/Ethnic Group of the Year, this family band conveys the essence of Ireland with passionate vocals and rousing music.

Liz Carroll with Seán Óg Graham and Trevor Hutchinson
Liz Carroll was born in Chicago of Irish parents. She’s a junior and senior All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, and has toured as a solo artist and with the Greenfields of America, Trian, String Sisters, and as part of the duo Liz Carroll & John Doyle. Her honors include the National Heritage Fellowship Award (1994), the first Irish-American musician nominated for a Grammy (2010), and the first American-born composer honored with the Cumadóir TG4 (2011). She will be joined at Milwaukee Irish Fest by Seán Óg Graham and Trevor Hutchinson.

Maggie and John Carty with Donal Lunny
Born in London, John Carty has established himself among the elite in Irish traditional music. He has mastered the fiddle, banjo and flute, won numerous traditional music awards and recorded a number of highly acclaimed CDs. John tours internationally as a solo performer, but he also appears regularly with groups like Patrick Street, the Chieftains and DeDanaan. John is excited to bring his daughter Maggie, a singer and banjo player, to join him and friend Donal Lunny for their 2014 Milwaukee Irish Fest appearances.

The Glasgow-based Manran brings a powerful blend of Gaelic and English traditional music to the world scene featuring an enchanting mix of drum and bass to create an infectious sound. Manran is the only band to use the Highland and Uillean pipes in one lineup. They have traveled to many of the top European folk festivals in the past two years and also did a special show at the 2012 London Olympics.

McLean Avenue Band
Led by singer/songwriter Padraig Allen, the McLean Avenue Band has what has been called a “superband sound” - a distinctive mix of old Irish and Celtic folklore with the rock pop Celtic music of today. Milwaukee Irish Fest veterans may remember Padraig from his past appearances at the festival as a member of The Whole Shebang, which disbanded in 2004. Add three-time All Ireland Accordion Champion Buddy Connolly, drummer Tony Ryan, singer/fiddler Jessica Semins and bassist Jake James and you cannot beat the band’s versatile and contemporary approach to Irish music.

McMenamin Irish Dance Academy
McMenamin Irish Dance Academy is part of the explosive Irish dance scene in
Milwaukee. The Academy caters to all levels of Irish dance and culture for ages four and up. Founded by Aine McMenamin-Johnson, T.C.R.G., the mission of McMenamin Irish Dance Academy is to provide a safe, friendly atmosphere that nurtures dance as students learn.

Moxie Strings
Michigan-based Moxie Strings is an electrifying combination of fiddle, electronic cello and percussion with feel-good and foot-stomping, rock influenced rhythms. The band offers fest-goers some of the world’s best-known instrumentals and oldest tunes through a young, progressive lens. Expect to hear the influences of Bluegrass, Celtic, Canadian, rock, jazz and Americana in the Moxie’s melting pot of musical traditions.

Nashville Ceili Band
The Nashville Ceili Band joyfully performs tunes from Ireland, Scotland, New England, Appalachia, and Quebec with a crisp and lively rhythm, a visceral pulse, and a haunting sound as old as the hills; music to delight the soul and inspiring to dance to. These accomplished musicians have played for many years at concert halls, festivals, pubs, and recording studios and are a favorite on the Southeastern dance circuit.  Jigs, reels, waltzes, and hornpipes get people dancing and clapping and are played with a strong attachment to the Irish, Scottish, and French Canadian traditions.

Paddy Homan
County Cork native Paddy Homan is an award-winning singer now based in Cook County, Chicago. Winner of the 2014 Live Ireland Music Awards Best Male Vocal Album for his third album, The Hard Way Home, Homan brings his quick-witted Cork humor and spontaneity on stage with his magical voice. Joining Homan on stage is John Williams, Jimmy Moore and Teresa Shine.

Pay the Devil
Pay the Devil is a Milwaukee Wisconsin based string band formed in 2011. Pay the Devil plays an eclectic mix of acoustic original tunes, sea shanties, bluegrass, folk, rock, celtic, traditional, and obscure songs. With instruments that include guitar, mandolin, banjo, and washboard (spoons and assorted percussion instruments) Pay the Devil puts on a fun live show filled with foot-stomping, thigh-slapping music.

Red Hot Chilli Pipers
From Scotland, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers bring their bag rock back to Milwaukee Irish Fest. Fusing traditional pipe tunes and contemporary rock anthems, the Chilli Pipers have won fans the world over due to their unique sound and energetic and enthusiastic live shows. Not just a band with a cool name, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers are world-class musicians who play bagpipes with an attitude.

Formed in early 2000, the Milwaukee-based Reilly is a high energy Celtic rock group featuring accordion, banjo and mandolin fused with hard driving rhythms. The band delivers foot stomping Irish music for the masses and promises an exciting show.

RíRá is a contemporary traditional band from Galway, Ireland that has developed a reputation as a group of fine entertainers, bringing a unique, infectious energy to their performance. Their contemporary interpretations of traditional songs and tunes coupled with their imaginative take on modern pieces, has earned this band a strong following across Ireland and internationally.

The Rogue Six
The Rogue Six is a band based in Milwaukee that performs great music with a Celtic Flair. Their instruments include guitars, fiddle, banjo, bodhran and percussion. They perform all types of songs and instrumentals, with an emphasis on Celtic music, including Trad. Irish.

Rory Modlinski
From an early age, Rory Modlinski knew he would be a musician specializing in Irish and American Folk music - following in his uncle’s footsteps by carrying on traditional songs melodies and styles. His unique blend of influences brings out the high lonesome sound that comes from Appalachia combined with the ballads of Ireland, England, and the United States. With the banjo and guitar in hand, Rory provides the sounds of old to the modern world.

The members of Scythian are all classically trained musicians who came together as nothing more than a group of street performers. Chemistry existed right from the start and the band continued on to become one of the most energetic groups in the Washington, D.C. area. Scythian incorporates their classical training, Celtic traditions and folk, Gypsy and Klezmer elements into a high-energy show featuring dueling fiddles.

Seamus Kennedy
A native of Belfast, Ireland, Seamus Kennedy has performed throughout the United States for over 30 years, proving he is a master showman with an unmatched repertoire. A maestro among Irish troubadours, his trademark is his ongoing interaction with his audiences.

Sean Callaghan
Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland native Sean Callaghan returns to Milwaukee Irish Fest this year with his highly entertaining one man show of Irish ballads and folk songs. After founding and touring with successful folk and pop/rock bands for a number of years, Sean has successfully put together and toured with his show, focusing on the musical history of Ireland, called A History of Ireland in Song, Verse and Story.

Canadian sisters Erin and Colleen Searson have developed their own original style of high energy fiddling, passionate vocals and Ottawa Valley step dancing.  The sisters have recorded seven albums of original songs and instrumentals and have toured throughout Canada, the U.S., Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark and Portugal. The live show boasts talented and respected musicians, drummer Danno O’Shea and bass/guitarist Fraser Gauthier.

Sharon Shannon
Artist Sharon Shannon may be a familiar musician to those who enjoy Irish music. From her earlier days as a fiddle and accordion player for the Waterboys to her collaborations with Steve Earle, and more recently with the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra and vocalist Dawn Penn, she has enjoyed remarkable airplay, commercial success and has won countless awards for her solo work and collaborations. Milwaukee Irish Fest is very pleased to welcome the “Galway Girl” to our festival.

The Shinigans
The Shinigans are a young, vibrant, traditional Celtic band who has been painting the Milwaukee area green since 2005.

Skerryvore was first formed on the tiny Isle of Tiree, off Scotland’s west coast, in 2005. The band shares their love of music - everything from traditional to rock and jazz, with audiences there and now the world with their tour, bringing their bright, breezy and feel good sounds to an ever increasing fan base. Skerryvore has recorded several critically acclaimed albums.

Socks in the Frying Pan
Socks in the Frying Pan consists of two brothers, Shane and Fiachra Hayes, on accordion and fiddle/banjo, accompanied by Aodan Coyne on guitar and vocals. This young trio from County Clare blend Irish traditional melodies with innovative rhythmic and melodic garnish.

StepCrew is an exciting new show that brings together three styles of exhilarating dance forms - Ottawa Valley step dance, Irish step dance and Tap dance. The talented cast takes you on a dance journey as champions in their own respective art forms. In addition, StepCrew boasts three world class fiddlers backed by an amazing five-piece ensemble comprised of some of the most talented and respected musicians in the Celtic music scene today.

The Scrubbers
As their first-ever debut at Irish Fest in Milwaukee, The Scrubbers are a Milwaukee-native, six man traditional Irish folk punk group that plays traditional and original music. With sounds influenced by groups such as The Tossers, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, The Dubliners and more, their unique, modern interpretations and integrations of traditional reels and jigs always have the crowd dancing and wanting more. Featuring fiddle, banjo, accordion, guitar, mandolin, bass guitar, tin whistle and a full kit.

Tallymoore made their debut appearance at Milwaukee Irish Fest in 2012 and hit the ground running. Since then the popular Milwaukee-based folk band has made appearances at major Irish festivals in the Midwest and on the West Coast. Their modern adaptation of classic Irish folk tunes, plus a bit of Americana, combined with their strong harmonies, innovative arrangements and youthful energy have earned them a rapidly growing cadre of fans.

Theiss & O’Connor
The three-part vocal harmonies of Larry, Bill, and Lin are accompanied by accomplished guitar work.  Their sound is tight, powerful, polished and refreshing.  They  perform a mix of original, traditional, and Irish-American folk tunes, but have also been known to throw in occasional unexpected songs of  different genres. They continue to put their unique talents into all their musical efforts.

Tinker Boys
Milwaukee’s Tinker Boys is an acoustic trio blending traditional Irish, American country, bluegrass and folk music, providing an upbeat and energetic show. All excellent musicians, the band glides seamlessly between beat polka, hill music and driving, modern acoustic pieces.

‘tis is a raucously energizing band of traditional and folk music devotees, jamming with a rock n’ roll twist. This five member group combines acoustic instrumentation with lively arrangements of your favorite Irish tunes infused with Americana Classics you didn’t expect, but intrinsically love. The band achieves an overwhelmingly inviting approach by balancing harmonized vocals with fiddle solos, guitar and mandolin riffs, and yesteryear favorites juxtaposed against ancient tradition.

Trinity Academy of Irish Dance
Trinity Academy of Irish Dance is one of the most widely-recognized Irish dance programs in the world. For over 25 years, Trinity has been guided by a unique philosophy of instruction and empowerment within a fun environment. Trinity dancers have won an unprecedented 32 world titles for the United States.

We Banjo 3
We Banjo 3, an award winning band from Galway, has recently exploded in the music scene. The multi-instrumentalist, all-Ireland champion group members Enda and Fergal Scahill and Martin and David Howley are internationally renowned for their incredible virtuosity and musical innovation.

The Wise Maids
Named for a famous Irish reel, The Wise Maids have been playing together in other Irish groups for many years and joined forces due to their love of traditional Irish music. They specialize in Irish and other traditional Celtic music and frequently play for Irish dance groups in Milwaukee.

Whiskey of the Damned
Whiskey of the Damned is a five piece Celtic influenced rock band based in Milwaukee. The band is dedicated to playing high energy, raucous concerts fueled by a mixture of American and Irish rock music. Whiskey of the Damned has opened for many large touring bands performing their infectious brand of Irish punk, Milwaukee style.

The Willis Clan
Winners of the Today Show Sound of Music Singing Family Contest on NBC, the Willis Clan is a family of amazing musicians, dancers, athletes, composers and authors. Returning to Milwaukee Irish Fest after last year’s rousing reception, this Nashville-based group merges their Irish roots with other music and dance genres to create a unique blend of old and new.

About Milwaukee Irish Fest
Milwaukee Irish Fest is North America’s largest celebration of Irish, Irish American and Celtic music and culture. The four-day festival showcases more than 100 entertainment acts on 16-stages at Henry W. Maier Festival Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront. The annual festival occurs every third weekend in August. The 2014 festival takes place August 14 to 17.

More than just a festival, the Milwaukee Irish Fest organization is passionately committed to igniting a love of Irish, Irish American and Celtic culture in all people. With the help of more than 4,000 volunteers, Milwaukee Irish Fest shares Irish and Celtic music, dance, drama, sports, culture, children’s activities and genealogy through year-round programming.
For more information, visit

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Permalink - Posted: June 19, 2014 at 9:06 am