Madison Celtic Festival 2018 – Weekend Of Celtic Culture


From Esty Dinur
Communications, Community Relations, and Publicity Director, Wisconsin Union TheaterChair for Artistic Selection, Madison World Music Festival

Experience a world of Celtic Culture at the Madison Celtic Festival during the weekend of March 9th/10th! Festival passes for the two headliners, Lúnasa and We Banjo 3, are priced as follows: UW-Madison students are $14.50, Union Members and Non-UW students are $39.50, UW-Madison Faculty and Staff are $42.50 and the General Public is $46.50. Please note that the full festival passes not only include a discount but also early admission to each show. Tickets may be bought online, by phone at 608-265-ARTS (2787) or in person, see locations and hours here. Tickets for a single performance are also available.

The festival also includes free dance, music and travel workshops.

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Lúnasa, at 4 pm, is a traditional Irish acoustic band that proudly calls itself “the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet” ( Lúnasa is composed of Kevin Crawford (flutes, low whistles and tin whistles), Trevor Hutchinson (double bass), Ed Boyd (guitar), Seán Smyth (fiddle and low whistle) and Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistles).

This inventive combination of Celtic musicians has skyrocketed to international acclaim since their start in 1997. Lúnasa has performed over 1,500 shows across 36 countries and has appeared at internationally-renowned venues like The Hollywood Bowl, the National Concert Hall in Dublin, the Sydney Opera House and the Moscow International House of Music. They have also been invited to perform at the White House.

Their music, which is composed of “jaunty jigs, melancholy melodies, mad passion, soft beauty…” makes “…a wall of sound created by traditional Irish acoustic instruments enhanced by the restrained, but not understated, playing of the orchestra” (International Review of Music). Lúnasa has sold more than quarter of a million albums during the band’s career.

We Banjo 3, at 8 pm, is made up of two pairs of talented siblings from Galway, Ireland: brothers Enda Scahill (tenor banjo, vocals) and Fergal Scahill (fiddle, viola, dobro, percussion, guitar, mandolin, vocals) and brothers Martin Howley (tenor banjo, mandolin, vocals) and David Howley (lead vocals, guitar). The group is the originator of a new genre of music that combines traditional Irish music with American bluegrass music to form “Celtgrass.”

Since the band of brothers came together in 2011, they have taken the world by storm. They have released four albums, all of which were received extremely well. Their 2014 album Gather the Good was named Irish American News Vocal/Instrumental Album of the Year, and their most recent album, String Theory, was ranked Number One on the Billboard World Charts when it was released.

In 2016, the band was selected to play for President Barack Obama and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the annual “Friends of Ireland” luncheon held in Washington, DC around Saint Patrick’s Day. President Obama praised the band’s show calling it, “Great music. Incredible performance.”

Talisk, named 2017 “Folk Band of the Year” by the MG Alba Scots Trad Awards, opens.

See these two musical groups and much more at the Madison Celtic Music Festival.

The full schedule is as follows:

Friday, March 9

7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Madison Scottish Country Dancers Fiddle/Piano Concert Bethany Evangelical Free Church

Susie Petrov & Calum Pasqua ($15.00 Suggested Donation)

301 Riverside Drive 608-843-3134

8:00 p.m. – 12:00 p.m. The Kissers & Madison Music Foundry’s The Young Celts WI Memorial Union’s Rathskeller

Saturday, March 10

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Madison Scottish Country Dancers Dance Workshop Mount Olive Lutheran Church 110 N. Whitney Way, 608-358-4478

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Madison Celtic Festival – Celtic Dance Exhibition WI Union Theater – Festival Room

* Gaelic Fusion & Peacock School of Highland Dance

* Dance With Heidi

* Cashel-Dennehy School of Irish Dance

* The Trinity Irish Dancers

12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Madison Celtic Festival Cultural Exhibitors WI Union Theater Lobby

* Celtic Cultural Center of Madison

* Dane County Shamrock Club

* Hurling Club of Madison

* Madison Gaelic Football Club

* Madison Ladies GAA Football

* Madison Shamrock Shuffle (Fleet Feet Sports)

* Middleton Travel

* Paul Terry Travel

1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Madison Celtic Festival – Celtic Dance Ceili WI Union Theater – Festival Room

Featuring West Wind

*4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Irish Traditional Folk Band Lunasa in concert WI Union Theater’s Shannon Hall

5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Madison Scottish Country Dancers 41st Annual Ball WI Memorial Union’s Great Hall

More info at

*:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Irish “Celtgrass” Band We Banjo 3 (with Talisk) in concert WI Union Theater’s Shannon Hall

10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. Irish Traditional Music Session WI Memorial Union’s Rathskellar

Led by The Currach Irish Trio

*Ticketed event

The festival is presented by the Wisconsin Union Theater’s Performing Arts Committee in partnership with Mad Gael Productions. This festival was supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Other sponsors are the Madison Scottish Country Dancers. WORT is the media sponsor.