A Storm is Brewing

 A Storm is Brewing

Popular band Gaelic Storm once again featured at Dayton Celtic Festival

Eric Spangler

There’s 100 percent chance of a storm at this year’s Dayton Celtic Festival July 27-29 at Five Rivers MetroPark’s RiverScape Park.

No, we don’t have a special long-range forecasting model that can predict weather events weeks ahead of meteorologists. We just know that barring anything unusual the popular Celtic band Gaelic Storm will once again be headlining the main stage at the United Irish of Dayton’s annual festival.

Gaelic Storm is a genre-bending Irish rock band whose songs mix Celtic traditions with something uniquely creative. The band, known as much for its dedication to live shows as it is for its hardcore fan base, will once again be the primary draw for contemporary Celtic music enthusiasts at the festival.

The Dayton Celtic Festival, which started in 2002, is downtown Dayton’s largest event, says Steve Baldwin, marketing and sponsorship chairman of the Dayton Celtic Festival. And many of the estimated 100,000 people who are expected to attend the three-day event will come from out of state, he says.

“I think that’s a tribute not just to what a great event this is but obviously these bands have some good following,” says Baldwin. “I think a lot of people like to follow them around. Some of those fans of Gaelic Storm are pretty hardcore fans for sure.”

Baldwin says more than 10 percent of those who attend the Dayton Celtic Festival are from out of state. And the crowds keep growing. “Every year it gets bigger than the last,” he says. 

In addition to Gaelic Storm other bands headlining the event include:

Scythian, which plays immigrant rock with thunderous energy, technical prowess and storytelling songwriting;
• Rory Makem, who captivates audiences with his skilled musicianship, charisma and passion for the songs;
• Socks In the Frying Pan, a young, traditional trio from County Clare that blends Irish traditional melodies with an innovative rhythmic and melodic garnish;
• The Fitzgeralds, three siblings from Canada that fiddle, step dance, sing and joke;
• We Banjo 3, an award-winning quartet from Galway, Ireland, that combines Irish music with old-time American and bluegrass influences; and
• Heron Valley, which combines a unique Scottish sound with an energetic performance.

Other local bands will also be performing during the three-day festival, says Baldwin. In order to accommodate all of the bands the Dayton Celtic Festival features four stages, he says.

But the Dayton Celtic Festival isn’t just about music. In fact, the festival isn’t just an “Irish” festival, Baldwin says. “We really position this as a Celtic festival because Celtic is a much more broad sort of segment of society as opposed to just Irish or even Irish-American,” he says.

A Celtic cultural area will feature exhibits and demonstrations, including authors, blacksmiths, musical instrument artisans, a knitting club, Dayton Metro Library’s genealogy department and much more.

In addition, the festival will include an area just for kids that includes games, picture boards, Celtic crafts, miniature golf, a walk-through a castle, building a fairy house and a search for a leprechaun’s pot of gold, says Baldwin.

“We always like to point out that it’s family friendly,” he says. “We always have such nice crowd. There’s a whole kids activity and culture area so there’s lots to do for the whole family.”

For those just a wee bit older there’s also whiskey and beer tastings, he says. In addition to domestic beers, the festival also features craft beers, he says. “Heidelberg is one of our big sponsors and they’re doing a great job for us bringing in a slew of new flavors, too,” says Baldwin.

One of the most popular flavors of beer is the red ale, which was introduced a couple of years ago, he says. The first year it was available at the festival it sold out by noon on Saturday and more had to be procured around the state, he says.

That shortage of red ale shouldn’t be a problem this year since the festival is having its own red ale—labeled Celtic Fest Red—that will brewed specifically for the Dayton Celtic Festival, says Baldwin. “That will be our own brew on tap until it’s gone,” he says.

Sunday starts with the popular mass at the United Irish of Dayton Main Stage in the Five Rivers MetroParks pavilion, says Baldwin. Mass will be presented at 10 a.m. in both English and Gaelic, he says.

Also on Sunday will be the Celtic Breakfast at the “Top of the Morn’n Café” in the beer garden across from the United Irish of Dayton Main Stage on Monument Avenue. Breakfast will be served from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The entire festival will take place on East Monument Avenue between Patterson Boulevard and North Jefferson Street and include sections of North St. Clair Street, Harries Street and Patterson Boulevard.

There is discounted parking available at area garages and the Dayton RTA will provide bus service from the garages to the festival. There will also be a designated Uber pick-up and drop-off spot. “It’s as far as parking and getting there it’s easy in, easy out,” says Baldwin.

As always the Dayton Celtic Festival is free, he says.

Oh, and if it does storm, like real raindrops, bring the raingear because the Dayton Celtic Festival goes on rain or shine, says Baldwin.