Latest News

The Business of Music – A Series September 17, 2019 - Dear Festival supporters, Many of you know that the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival is volunteer run, and always has been.  None of us are professionals in the music […]
You Won’t Find This in Your Schedule, But Take Note September 14, 2019 - Many of you have had the privilege of listening to Jon Sousa and Adam Agee over the years.  We certainly have at the Spanish Peaks Celtic Music Festival.  Recall the […]
Festival Update: Special Session Playing Series September 13, 2019 - Dear Festival supporters, We are now less than a week away from this year’s Festival.  In the next couple of days I will posting some highlights of this year’s program […]

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2019 Featured Performers


Old Blind Dogs

“The skill, talent, and verve with which they played belied their laddishness and the crowd responded with thunderous applause. Folk is the new rock and roll.” – Evening News

“The Old Blind Dogs play with a compelling energy and intoxicating rhythm; players and audience seem to share a wild ecstasy of emotion.” – The Scotsman

“Old Blind Dogs have mastered the tricky art of innovating within a musical tradition while faithfully revealing its essence.” – Acoustic Guitar

Aaron Jones

Bouzouki, Vocals, Guitar

Jonny Hardie

Fiddle, Vocals

Ali Hutton

Pipes, Whistle, Guitar

Donald Hay

Percussion, Vocals

Kevin Burke
Fiddle

HighTime

Kevin Crawford

Cillian Valleley

Patsy O’Brien

Rich Brotherton

Ed Miller

The Conifers

Take Down the Door

Eric Thorin

Bass

Jessie Burns

Fiddle and Vocals

Adam Agee

Fiddle

Beth Gadbaw

Percussion, Vocals

Jon Sousa

Guitar

Mary Vanorny

Fiddle



Looking Back to 2018


Before we look forward to the 2019 Festival lineup, last year’s Festival deserves an appreciative retrospection. In many ways, it was one of the most amazing Festivals we’ve had in our fourteen years. On June 26th the Festival leadership was working on the details of a summer fundraising campaign, including an event at the Cuchara Mountain Park. Meantime, Artistic Director Pat McCullough had arranged for a performer lineup that highlighted individual and small group talent. We were busy working out possible combinations of performers for our larger venues that such a lineup might afford us.

Then June 27th happened! What began as a small fire on the western slopes of the southern Sangre de Cristos rapidly spread, producing an eerie smokey orange sky over Huerfano County.

Despite the strangeness of the day, few of us understood the scope of changes that were coming. Eighteen days later, all but the most northwesterly border of the fire had been contained, but in those eighteen days many in the County had been evacuated from their homes, and the rest (La Veta) remained on a pre-evacuation status. Festival fundraising plans were shelved, and daily concerns were focused on the spread of the fire, and the impact on friends and neighbors. Those who weren’t fighting the fire watched daily from whatever safe spot they had.

Photo by Tomi Price

Photo by Heather Curtis


Then, after July 15th, those of us working on the Festival began to find our footing again. There were questions to address. Uptop, Cuchara, and Gardner, the venues that open the Festival each year, all amazingly survived the fire, but could they be readied in time? How would the uncertainties due to the fire effect ticket sales? And, oh yes, there were still those performer schedules, and the school program, to work out.

Fast forward to the third week of September. The concept for last year was “Traditions Alive,” the notion that the traditional roots of Celtic music continue to find life in a variety of fresh expression. Our vision was that the exceptional musicians we had lined up would find those common roots in each other, and then, by giving them a stage together, music would happen. And happen it did! Many, including musicians, said it happened “magically”. And, perhaps, nowhere more so than at the late night sessions. These sessions are always free to all, including professionals, semi-professionals, amateurs, and listeners. Performers such as Patsy O’Brien, Colin Farrel, Cormac de Barra, Dylan Foley, Joey Abarta, Máirtín de Cógáin, and Kevin Crawford led the sessions into the wee hours of the next day. It was a true taste of the musical magic that happened from beginning to end.

Photo by Bob Kennemer

Photo by Bob Kennemer

Photo by Bob Kennemer

 


That same chemistry evolved during the demos, workshops and concerts. Enjoy a few more images from last year’s magic, and then begin looking forward to this coming September.

Photo by Bob Kennemer

Photo by Bob Kennemer

Photo by Bob Kennemer

Photo by Bob Kennemer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Bob Kennemer

Photo by Bob Kennemer

The High Kings with the Walsenburg High School Choral Singers ~ 2016

“I’m hoping you will forward this message to all the Board and the Volunteers who made our weekend so great! We loved it, working with the HS kids in Walsenburg was a highlight, as was the show on Saturday, and then those special talks and performances on Sunday! Thanks to all for your very kind hospitality, we will never forget it.”

~Paddy McPoland
Tour Manager
The High Kings
Dublin, Ireland


Defining the Festival

The Spanish Peaks Celtic Festival is designed as an intimate four-day gathering led by renowned guest artists, teachers, and scholars from Celtic countries abroad, Canada, and the United States. The Festival offers over 60 different events, including major concerts; two singing programs; instrumental workshops and master classes; a series of demonstration talks and performances on aspects of Celtic music, history, and folklore; a Celtic Harp Retreat; a newly established Piping Retreat; and sprinkled throughout are ceilidhs/ceilis and playing sessions where anyone can freely join in or enjoy as an audience. Finally, the friendly ambiance and spontaneous interplay between artists and participants spark the exciting sharing of music, ideas, and knowledge, all reflected gifts from the fullness of a rich Celtic experience.

We thank you for coming and sharing this experience with us.

The Festival Board

We invite you to embrace music that reflects the rousing spirit of Celts past and present, whose songs haunt us with their pure beauty or make us laugh with their bold humor, and whose tunes, be they deeply rooted or newly composed, are as delicate as the lilt of a flute on the air or as explosive and exciting as the jigs and reels that fly from a fiddler’s bow, lifting your feet right off the ground –music as compelling today as it was a hundred years ago.