Dunedin Celtic Festival is Nov. 19

Monday, November 14th, 2011

The annual Dunedin Celtic Festival will be Saturday, Nov. 19, noon to 9:30 p.m., at Highlander Park, Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road.

Seven Nations returns to perform two sets at this year’s Celtic Festival in Dunedin.

Those attending will hear plenty of Celtic music with both an afternoon and evening show scheduled. The event also will feature food, drink and Celtic craft vendors along with a family-friendly atmosphere.

Music has always served as the centerpiece of the festival, attracting both established and emerging acts. This year’s featured Celtic rock bands will include the ever-popular Seven Nations as well as NeedFire, Lucid Druid and Druid Roots.

The event also will feature performances by three Dunedin pipe and drum corps and highland and Irish dancers. There will be food and drink vendors along with Celtic craft vendors.

The members of Seven Nations pride themselves on the fact that they are “not your father’s Celtic band,” as the group’s website states.

Like the city’s annual Highland Games in the spring, the Celtic Festival reflects the rich American and Scottish heritage of Dunedin’s founding fathers. The festival helps secure and promote its colorful past and reminds residents and visitors alike of its connection to Scotland. In commemoration of its ancestral ties, Dunedin selected Stirling, Scotland, and Summerside, Prince Edward Island as its sister cities.

Seven Nations is known for a passionate, tender and rollicking style that encompasses everything from roots and traditional folk to dance and fusion-rock. The band is also famous for a relentless touring schedule, sometimes spending more than 300 days a year on the road.

Touring full-time since 1994, Seven Nations has performed in Europe, Canada, Puerto Rico, and virtually every state in the United States. They performed an entire show with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra at the Dublin Irish Festival as well as performing at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, a New Year’s Eve concert at Scotland’s Royal Mile and at the New York City Marathon.

The name Seven Nations refers to the seven nations of the Celtic world, now known as Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Gallaecia.

In addition to their two sets at the Dunedin Celtic Festival, Seven Nations will perform Friday, Nov. 18, 9 p.m., at Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave.

Take rock guitars, bass and drums and mix them with soaring bagpipes and reeling Celtic fiddle: That’s Needfire. The band strives to invigorate vintage Celtic music by infusing an adrenalin rush straight out of the heart of rock and roll.

“We take traditional Celtic melodies and instrumentation and bring them into a modern context,” the band writes on its website. “We blend multiple styles of music and instruments into a unique style that has made us one of today’s most distinctive and original bands.”

Band members include Brad Madison, Highland bagpipes, uilleann pipes, guitars and melodica; Jacob Frasier, drum kit, percussion and vocals; Magen Miller, fiddle, piano, accordion and vocals; Ed Walewski, bass, mandolin, dulcimer and recorder; and Kevin Hanlon, electric and acoustic guitars and vocals.

Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Needfire formed in 2004. The band’s Long Lonesome Tour in 2010 took them from Florida to California and from Texas to Ontario.

Clearwater’s own Lucid Druid will bring their self-described eclectic world-fusion music to the festival, headed by two-time world champion bagpiper Adam Quinn.

Lucid Druid dates back to 2003. Initially, the band showcased their brand of eclectic Celtic fusion almost exclusively on stage at the Dunedin Brewery. Since the early days, the band’s prominence has experienced phenomenal growth and they have earned a devoted following. Lucid Druid frequently serves as a featured act at local and regional music festivals, including the Dunedin Celtic Festival, St. Petersburg FolkFest, Paralounge Drum Festival in Silver Springs, Friday Extra Concert Series in Tampa and the Safety Harbor Concert Series.

Quinn is one of five core members of Lucid Druid who seamlessly blend the sounds of bagpipes, guitar, stringed bass, didgeridoo and Scottish snare with a variety of African drums to create a unique, innovative and fresh sound.

According to the band’s official bio, Quinn has been playing bagpipes and composing music for more than 25 years. Taking advantage of the musical programs offered in Dunedin schools, he studied bagpipes, clarinet and piano performance. He was only 19 when he began a two-year stint as a musician at Tokyo Disneyland in Japan. Later, he was part of a bagpipe trio at Florida’s Epcot Center.

Lucid Druid’s lineup of talented musicians includes Quinn on bagpipes, degerpipes, shuttlepipes, didgeridoo, clarinet and piano; Steve Turner on ashikos, djembes, drums, didgeridoos and various percussion; Joe Porter on upright bass and electric bass; Doug White on Scottish snare, drums, roto-tams, bongos and various percussion; and Sebastian Deledda on guitars.

In March, Lucid Druid celebrated the release of their CD “Cernunnos” with a performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Druid Roots, relative newcomers to the Celtic music scene, combines the talents of Scottish singer/songwriter James Smith and multi-instrumental Irish Bohemian Daniel Joseph O’Ryan. Completing the trinity is organic percussionist Joel Jadus “MacSweeney.”

According to the band’s Facebook page, the three musicians seek to create “an altogether new blend of Celtic, bluegrass and world music.”

Druid Roots brings to the stage no less than six string guitars, eight string mandolins, Irish whistles, modern Scottish and medieval German bagpipes. The instruments set the tone for Druid Root’s traditional and original songs.

Admission is free. Parking will cost $15. Coolers, pets, beach umbrellas and pop-up tents will not be permitted in the park.

The Celtic Festival is a benefit concert for Dunedin’s Scottish bands. The festival is promoted, organized, managed and operated by the Dunedin Highland Games and Festival Committee Inc., a nonprofit corporation.

Visit www.dunedinhighlandgames.com.

Source: Lee Clark Zumpe, tbnweekly.com

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