The last weekend in July is one constant that New York’s Irish and Celtic music fans have had circled on their calendars each of the past 13 years. The Great American Irish Festival lineup for the festival’s 2016 edition will have every bit as much Celtic goodness as the last 13.
Headliners for this year’s event include 10-time festival favorite The Elders, Ireland’s Folk Band of the Year, The High Kings, and another central New York favorite, Toronto’s Enter the Haggis, celebrating its 20th year and returning to GAIF after a brief absence. NYS Music conducted an interview with Enter the Haggis last summer prior to the band’s performance at the Saranac Brewery, and a main topic of discussion at the time was the band’s change in name from Enter the Haggis to Jubilee Riots. They have since reverted back to the name Enter the Haggis in celebration of the band’s 20th anniversary.
The festival will take place July 29-31 at the Herkimer County Fairgrounds in Frankfort.
Another stage is dedicated to the traditional Celtic sound, featuring traditional Irish instruments as the tin whistle, fiddle, bodhran and bagpipes. Bands performing on the Traditional Stage include the critically acclaimed High Kings and up-and-coming act Dallahan. Dallahan is a band finding itself a critic’s darling since the release of its debut 2014 album
When The Day Is On The Turn. The band employs a blend of Irish, Scottish and Hungarian folk styles, creating
a sound that mixes jazz, funk, Celtic and other worldly sounds. Check out their live video for “Carrick A Rede” here.
The third stage is dedicated to contemporary artists who employ Celtic sounds and modern rock elements. Enter the Haggis and The Elders, contemporaries as well as friends, headline the Contemporary Stage this year as has been the case in many previous GAIFs. The two bands frequently collaborate and tour together and both have a fervent following in the Central New York area.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased for individual days or the entire weekend. There is also a camping package offered.
Tickets for Friday only or Sunday only are $12 in advance, $15 at the gate. For Saturday, advanced tickets are $15 and $20 at the gate. Weekend tickets are $30 and can only be purchased through advanced sale.
Below is a performance of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” done by The Elders and Enter the Haggis at the 2010 GAIF: