Canadian Celtic-punk pioneers The Real McKenzies join bagpipe legend Davy Spillane at the Montelago Celtic Festival
For festival organizers Maurizio Serafini and Luciano Monceri, getting Spillane to Montelago is nothing short of a coup: "For years we've been striving to attract the best there is in the Celtic world, so getting Davy here has made our dreams real." With established reputations of their own, Serafini and Monceri will fulfill those dreams as part of a self-styled Montelago Celtic Orchestra featuring Spillane and a select group of central Italy's foremost musicians.
The festival lineup also includes numerous other groups of international renown, with artists from Ireland, Canada, France and Portugal adding to Italy's growing talent base. Dublin's Celtic-world fusion ensemble Kila will be making their second appearance at Montelago, having first raised the festival roof back in 2010, while The Real McKenzies from Vancouver bring their own unique sound, having carried the punk influence of The Pogues across the Atlantic in the 90s.
The festival schedule includes 22 concerts featuring 17 groups, as well as the second edition of the European Celtic Contest, which showcases Europe's best up-and-coming musicians for the promise of performing at European Celtic festivals in 2017.
Launched in 2003, the festival takes place on the Colfiorito plains among the Apennine mountains of central Italy. Today it is Italy's largest Celtic festival, attracting over 20,000 enthusiasts every year. The event enjoys the patronage of the Irish Embassy in Italy, and has caught the attention of Italy's Ministry of Youth and the BBC thanks to its unique cultural and social content, including:
- traditional Celtic games,
- Celtic craft, music and dance workshops,
- 7-a-side rugby tournament,
- fantasy literature presentations,
- a Celtic village, and
- a Celtic market.
Aside from concerts and activities, the soul of the festival is embodied in the Montelago community, known locally as il Popolo di Montelago. Serafini and Monceri: "People come simply to enjoy themselves in an atmosphere of camaraderie, surrounded by the beauty of the Apennines. For them, it's an escape from the restrictions and industrialization of everyday life, a place where they can express themselves freely in an environment guided solely by the rules of nature and humanity."
Montelago International Press Office