Although this 27th consecutive Irish Fest offers many ways to have fun it’s the music that makes the fest one of the country’s musical destinations.
Gaelic Storm, the unofficial prime ministers of Celtic music, returns to Irish Fest this year for one day only. A one-time pub band, Gaelic Storm launched into world-wide fame after their appearance in the mega-hit film “Titanic.” Since then the band's fan base continues to multiply with each new album, turning the group into a world-class touring act. Gaelic Storm's compelling originals and fresh arrangements are steeped in traditional melodies creating new standards in Celtic music.
Irish Fest is proud to announce the return of world renown Irish Tenor, Ronan Tynan from Co. Kilkenny. Introduced to international audiences as a member of the Irish Tenors, Ronan quickly became known for his unique voice and irresistible appeal and his solo career brought international fame and recognition. Ronan is truly a gifted “Renaissance Man” who has persevered with enormous passion and determination through numerous challenges throughout his well-documented life.
Ronan is also famous for performing “Amazing Grace” and Schubert’s “Ave Maria” before an international television audience of more than 35 million at President Reagan’s funeral and for singing “God Bless America” at Yankee Stadium - which he says was unforgettable. He was also invited to perform in New York during the 10th anniversary memorial services of the 9/11 tragedy.
New to Irish Fest this year, RUNA draws on the diverse musical backgrounds of its band members and offers a contemporary and refreshing approach to traditional and more recently composed Celtic material. Through their repertoire of both highly energetic and graceful acoustic melodies, along with their fusion of music from Ireland, Scotland, Canada and the United States, this vocal and instrumental ensemble gives its arrangements a fresh new sound that no one else can offer.
The band won several awards at the 2010 Montgomery Buck Music Awards, including Best Entertaining Band, Best Folk Artist, Best Female Vocalist, and Best Album – “Jealousy.”
The Fighting Jamesons
Since releasing their self-titled debut album, The Fighting Jamesons have stormed onto the live scene as one of Celtic Rock’s most sought-after groups. The Fighting Jamesons deliver a traditional style of Celtic music with an aggressive and energetic fresh approach.
Although new to Irish Fest, they’ve shared the stage with legendary Irish rock acts such as the Dropkick Murphys, the Saw Doctors and the Young Dubliners, and earned headlining slots in venues and festivals nationwide.
The Gothard Sisters
Also new to Irish Fest is a dynamic, all-female Irish music and dance group from the Pacific Northwest, the Gothard Sisters. The three ladies, who are truly sisters, perform new Celtic arrangements of well-known traditional tunes and popular songs, as well as their own original compositions from their six studio albums.
They not only impress as lovely and talented musicians, the sisters are champion Irish dancers who have competed overseas multiple times at the World Championships. Their performances weave the visual elements and the exciting rhythms of Irish step dancing into tightly choreographed, high-energy variety shows.
The Makem and Spain Brothers
The Makem and Spain Brothers are Irish music royalty! This internationally known band keeps the music alive and defines where Irish folk music is headed. The Makem Brothers, from north of Dublin in Co. Louth, continue an Irish musical dynasty started by their grandmother, Sarah Makem and their famous father, Tommy Makem. The Spain Brothers learned Irish songs at their father's knee as well. When the Makems met the Spains the brothers realized the powerful synergy of their talented bloodlines.
A host of various instruments and five male vocals using precise harmonies blend perfectly for what can only be described as a wall of sound. Their talent and enthusiasm draw in fans who have never experienced the joy of folk music. These bands of brothers have played for millions of people in the U.S., Caribbean and Ireland.
A blend of rock, pop and Celtic, The Killdares return to bridge the gap between traditional and cutting edge. Redefining the definition of “Celtic,” the band uses fire-driven fiddle, bagpipes and a wail of electric guitar, bass and drums to create brilliant arrangements of traditional tunes and original compositions. Even die-hard fans of purely traditional Celtic music have embraced the band’s powerful sound.
More Special Appearances at Irish Fest
Irish Fest is also proud to present many other favorites like Bohola, Red Rebel County, Eileen Ivers &Immigrant Soul, Fintan Stanley, M&R Rush, Larkin & Moran Brothers, Kevin Flynn & Avondale Ramblers, Sixteen Candles, Chicago Reel, Tommy Goodwin & Sharon (Co. Kerry), Bernie Glim & Country Roads, Sean & Charlie, Pat Finnegan & Friends, Murphy Roche Irish Music Club, Coyote Riot, The Irish Musicians, Pipes & Drums of The Emerald Society, The Irish Music Club of Chicago, Gerard Haughey & Sean O’Donnell, Joe McShane, Shannon Rovers and many more!
Chicago Gaelic Park is located just outside the Chicago city limits in Oak Forest. A full day pass to six musical stages, full carnival with unlimited rides, free on-site parking and fun for the whole family is only $15. ‘Four Day Pass’ discounts are available online through May 23rd. Adults over 65 years and kids under 12 are only $12. Youngsters three years and under are free. Online discount tickets, a complete Irish Fest performance schedule and directions are available at http://www.chicagogaelicparkirishfest.org or by calling Chicago Gaelic Park at 708-687-9323.