Welcome to the 2018
Spanish Peaks International
Celtic Music Festival
September 20 – 23!
Spanish Peaks Country is alive and well. July fires from Cuchara to Gardner ravaged over 100,000 acres of grassland and forest. Thankfully no human life was lost. With herculean efforts from firefighters and a little help from rain, the fires were eventually contained. Just as has happened countless times over the millennia, new life is sprouting on the forest floors, representing the infinite energy in nature and demonstrating that if something is taken, something is also given.
But, the fires did take a toll on many folks in the path of the inferno from worry of the unknown and physical discomfort to the fear of evacuating home, and for many the reality of loss of property and income. Demonstrating the infinite nature of the human spirit, the folks of Spanish Peaks Country have risen up and helped friends and neighbors get through loss and move on. With that same resilient spirit, the many folks that make the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival one of the most unique traditional gatherings in the country have been moving forward, determined to keep traditions alive.
Throughout the year, Festival folks have been working to continue offering the world-class performers and instructors that our friends and fans have come to expect for over a decade. Volunteers are in full swing to help at venues and box office, provide transport, and feed performers. Many have even offered to host and lodge our guests. Many summer retail business and restaurants will stay open to accommodate visiting guests.
The UpTop ghost town will come alive with music, song, and spontaneous dance for the Thursday opening day noon session and picnic in the old saloon and dance hall. Guests will stroll across the dirt road to the charming old chapel that is still in use and the 1877 depot that was once home to the world’s highest railroad where tourist came to ride “Railroad Above the Clouds.” Now a little museum, you can read about and see photos of the railroads special guests, including Chief Ouray and his wife Chipeta who went over the pass on their way to Washington D.C. to negotiate a peace treaty.
Later in the afternoon some will travel along “The Highway of Legends” (Hwy 12), past the intriguing volcanic formations that thrust outward from the West Spanish Peaks, to the mountain town of Cuchara. There you can have a gulp of fresh air along with your favorite beverage and listen to some legends in Celtic music sing their favorite pub songs and tell funny stories at the eclectic Dog Bar. Imagine the surprise of unsuspecting tourists who stop in for a quiet afternoon lunch! Thursday evening, rural Gardner offers the tradition of “The Taste of Things to Come” at the Town Hall. Performers give a taste of some of the best music around while locals give them a taste of some the best down home cookin’ around.
The popular Friday and Saturday night concerts in Walsenburg will be on everyone’s list of things to do. The one-time famous coal mining town has a number of pre-concert dining options for all budgets. Come in early on Friday and enjoy the free street fest!
La Veta is the Festival hub and the site of most workshops, demonstrations, day concerts and night sessions. The cozy town at the foot of Spanish Peaks is so mellow the local deer come into town and hang out on lawns without a worry. Take a tip from them and relax and just enjoy the magic of the area and some simple good times. Thank you all for coming and keeping Traditions Alive!
All the best,
Pat McCullough, Festival Artistic Director
2018 Featured Performers
Moya Brennan and Cormac de Barra
“I think Máire has one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced.” – Bono (1985)
“‘Affinity‘ aptly describes the duo’s shared appetite for harmony-driven, rhythmically complex set-pieces as they mine both traditional and contemporary veins in pursuit of fresh perspectives.” – Irish Times (June 21,2013)
“I was particularly impressed by the structure of their set, building up the energy incrementally in a series of waves, taking the audience along with them every step of the way.” Johnny Walley 4 August, 2016 Folk Radio
Regarding their debut album, “Roam,” “The instrumentation available allows for a lot of variation in the sets, and the band’s love of what it is doing is patently clear in the crisp, fresh arrangements….If this is what they’re sounding like now, then the future can only hold great things for them.” From Gordon Potter of The Living Tradition
Patrick Doocey, Colin Farrell, and Kevin Crawford
From Irishmusic.org, and other sources – “An All-Ireland winning multi-instrumentalist, Patrick Doocey is quickly becoming one of the most in demand accompanists on the Irish music scene today. Predominately self taught on guitar, Patrick’s exciting style on both nylon and steel string guitar combines influences from many genres.” “He has toured all over Europe, Asia, Africa and America and current performs regularly with top band Lúnasa and Ragús.”
From New York Irish Arts – March 11, 2012, on Kevin Crawford’s album, “Carrying the Tune.”“There are ornaments so fast and fluid they sound like a bird whistling in tune, and the transition between tunes in a set seems so smooth you can only picture Kevin turning purple as he keeps playing without breathing. ”
From Paul Keating (2014, irishcentral.com) – On Foley’s winning the title of Senior All-Ireland champion, along with his work with The Yanks, and the release of his solo CD HUP, “(has)...already established Foley as a force to be reckoned with in the Irish music scene in America.”
“Patsy O’Brien’s songs are sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, but always delivered with a strong sense of style and energy.” FREETIME NY