Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Irish Fest 2010

We were down at the Maier Festival Park at opening time on Sunday the 22nd for the 30th Annual Irish Fest, and had a very good time.

The first band we went to hear was Baal Tinne, but we moved on quickly since their arrangements just weren’t what we were tasted up for at that time: plus, they were over amplified for the stage and hard to listen to. Instead, we went to the Village Pub tent to hear Athas play some traditional music, which got us in the right mood.

The next group that we listened to for a full set was Kintra, a new (2008) group based out of Stabane, Northern Ireland. They played a good bit if new music fusing Northern Irish and Scots influences. They had a very highly produced show, featuring, besides the core musicians, four bagpipers (three of whom double as dancers), and two singers. The group was very energizing and exciting to listen to, and some American promoter would be onto a good thing if they were booked for a tour here. Surprisingly, they don’t seem to have a CD out yet, but I will be watching their web site,, for a release. (They also have some videos on YouTube—check them out!)

We walked, browsed, ate, sampled music, and generally had a very good time through the middle of the day. At 5:15, we settled in at the Aer Lingus stage for La Bottine Souriante, a Quebecois group that again had a very high-energy show combining a number of cultural influences. I was interested to hear Irish-sounding fiddle riffs played over a near-Cajun rhythm. Unlike most groups at the festival, La Bottine Souriante has a brass section, which lend a lot of power and color to their performances. (I must note, LBS had some of the best sound crew we heard: the concertina could clearly be heard in relation to the brass, with nary a hint of feedback--.)

We ended the festival with Cherish the Ladies, a group we enjoy, but had to listen with concentration to tune out the thundering beat of Gaelic Storm playing at the next stage over. (Evidently, Gaelic Storm plays nothing that is not very fast, and very loud--.)
The weather was lovely and all in all, one of the best Irish Fests we have had in some time.

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Tags: irish fest, kintra, la bottine souriante, music
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