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Celtic News
Celtic News


The “silly season” is well and truly upon us. There’s so much happening here and I’m sure all of you are busy preparing to spend Christmas with family and friends. The first item in this edition is a reminder!

2018 Australian Celtic Music Awards

Nominations for the 2018 Awards close on Friday 15th December 2017. That means that you have just three days left!

Go to to nominate your favourite artist. Nominating is easy. Just click on the relevant award in the menu and complete the online nomination form. The Australian Celtic Music Awards presentation will take place at Glen Innes Services Club on 5th May 2018. Artists can self-nominate or members of the public nominate their favourite artist.

Latest Announcement for Outlandish Fan Gathering
20th & 21st October 2018

Darren Coggan
The big news this month is that the wonderful Darren Coggan will be your MC for the whole event weekend.

For the latest updates to the program and to book, go to Cost for the weekend includes all events at the Standing Stones and Dinner on Saturday night - $150pp 15 years +. And don’t forget to enter the Wedding competition. Call Mel on 0407 492 548.

What's on in Glen Innes??

12th December to 7th January                             Christmas Special Exhibition. Opening Night 6pm 7th January Friday 15th. To book contact Wendy on 0403 383 080. Featuring art by a collective of local New England area Artists. Entry to Exhibition is free.
19th December                  Friends of the Library present films of Baz Lurhmann every Tuesday at 7pm. $2 entry. Coffee and biscuits available.
25th December             Glen Innes Severn Christmas Day Community Luncheon. Free from 11.30 am at Glen Innes Town Hall
1st to 7th Jan       Christmas Exhibition at Gawura Gallery
14th January       Glen Innes Race Day
21st January        Deepwater Race Day
21st January                                                    Gawura Gallery Art Workshop - $110 per person including morning & afternoon tea and light lunch. Featuring noted Aboriginal artist Lloyd Gawura Hornsby and Josephine Enoch of Art on the Corner Inc
2nd to 4th Feb      Glen Innes Show

What's on in Armidale??

First Thursday each month                      New England Jazz and Improvisation Collective - NEJIC -
Check out The Musicians of Armidale at

What's on in Guyra??

Lamb and Potato Festival – 17th to 28th January 2018

This is a great local Festival which has been running for 30 years. There’s a lot to see and do including market stalls, a car Show and Shine, an Antique Machinery Show and Swap Meet, great food, local arts and crafts, a military vehicle display, train rides and much more.
A major feature for music lovers is the range of live performances in the Regional Australia Bank music tent, with live shows during the week. The lunchtime shows from 12 to 2pm and evening performances from 5pm to 7pm will feature music from Pete Stanley, Crooked Tree, James Cross, Greg Windred and The Racketeers, Judith Stott-Furowsky and Bruce Clarke.
The Regional Australia Bank music tent will host live shows all day on each weekend. On Saturday 20th January, catch Jim O’Neill, Rhonda Brookes, the Ukulele Extravaganza and an evening performance by Lily and the Drum. On Sunday 21th January, Jim O’Neill and Christine Davis are performing during the day, followed by a wine tasting and jazz evening with The Ash Hall Trio.
On Australia Day, 26th January there is a lunchtime show with Peter Denovan followed by Guyra’s first Beach Party with Vinnie and the Cuban Missiles at 6pm.
The second weekend has even more to enjoy. On Saturday 27th January there are performances by Crooked Tree, and Backtrackin’ followed by an Irish Evening with Peter Denovan.
Sunday 28th January features Christine Davis, Backtrackin’ and songs by Guyra’s Freedom Church. More details are available on the Festival’s Facebook page.

What's on in New Zealand??

Clan Celtica – Tribal Thunder

17th December         Birthday Bash, Beachlands
2nd January         Keltic Fayre, Coromandel
19th to 21st January     Medieval Faire, Taupo
21st January         Burns Supper, Manurewa
28th January         Kiwi North
17th February         Paeroa Tattoo 25th Anniversary and Auckland Drum Fest
25th February         Howick Tattoo
3rd March         Botany Town Square
4th March         Round The Bays
23rd to 25th March         Cuba Dupa, Wellington
24th March         Mangere East Culture Fest

Medieval Madness 2018 at Kiwi North, Whangarei, Northland

On the surface it appears strange that New Zealanders are enthralled by everything medieval but looking back it is obvious that so many of us have Celtic heritage somewhere in our gene pool. Hence the Sunday of Auckland/Northland Anniversary weekend, this year the 28th January 2018, has become the day for all those latent ladies, knights, serfs and jesters to dig their glorious garb out of the cupboards and head off for a bit of “Medieval Madness” at Kiwi North in Whangarei, Northland. 
This event has been running for several years now, constantly building.  With long time support from the local Guild of the Hawk jousters and in the last couple of years, the Auckland drumming band Clan Celtica, International Celtic Artist of 2016 at the Australian Celtic Music Awards, this has become a regular must on the Northland calendar. An addition this year is participation by the Whangarei Medieval Combat Club.
Kiwi North is home to the Whangarei Museum, Heritage Park and the only nocturnal Kiwi House in Northland.  The beautiful large grounds, only 6 kms from the Whangarei CBD, are perfect for this family focused day out.  With adult entry at only $10.00 and all children FREE there is so much on offer. Entry includes the Museum and Kiwi House, and the various heritage buildings on the Park. Resident vintage restoration clubs offer full sized train, model train, and tractor and hay trailer rides.  Archery, pony rides, bouncy castle and face-painting keep everyone busy.  The pedal powered whirlitza is a favourite with the little ones.  Food and drink is provided by vendors or you are very welcome to bring a picnic.  Parking is free.
These family events hosted by Kiwi North are fund raisers for the organization, a charitable trust, but most importantly they about engaging with the community and those visiting the community.  With the Ngapuhi Festival on in the city the day before, Saturday 27th, Whangarei is definitely the place to be for Anniversary Weekend 2018. /

What's on in Deepwater??

16th December                  6.30 pm. Christmas Carols at St John’s Anglican Church Christmas Skit, Traditional Carols and BBQ. All welcome.

Update for Deepwater’s ‘Cool Choir’

The concept of a community choir arose at an Arts North West workshop in Deepwater in May 2017. A successful application for a ‘Sing Your Age’ grant from The Department of Family and Community Services will turn the idea into a reality in 2018.
The grant will fund a series of professional-facilitated workshops led by Armidale’s experienced choir conductor, performer and ukulele teacher Cathy Welsford (pictured at left) and will enable a heavily-subsidised workshop fee of only $5 per person.
By engaging a professional conductor from inception, the Cool Choir will have a strong foundation which it will develop over the course of its inaugural year into a strong, vibrant, confident and independent Community Choir.
Facilitated workshops led by Cathy are expected to start in February 2018, continuing at regular intervals throughout the year, interspersed with regular choir rehearsals led by locals Christine Davis and Margaret te Velde, who will be trained by Cathy to take over as Choir leaders.
The 2018 year will culminate in an end-of-year celebration event, open to the wider community, at the Deepwater School of Arts Hall in December. The night will showcase the Choir and include supper and live entertainment from a professional 3-piece band from Armidale/Uralla.
Whilst the ‘Sing Your Age’ grant targets people over the age of 50 years (and the vast majority of people so far are in that age group), Cool Choir is totally inclusive of all groups within the community and will provide a safe, inclusive and welcoming space for everyone, regardless of age, gender, faith or experience.
Cool Choir will be a relaxed and fun gathering, creating music, building friendships and exploring the many health benefits of group singing. Studies have shown that group singing can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations.
To get involved, email Christine at

Gig Dates for Murphy’s Pigs

22nd December      7.30pm. Top Stage, Queen St Mall, Brisbane QLD
14th January          4.00pm. Caloundra RSL. 19 West Terrace, Caloundra
16th January          7.00pm. The Bug. New Farm Bowls Club, Brisbane QLD

Tamworth Country Music Festival
24th January          8.30pm. Joe Maguires Pub, 148 Peel St, Tamworth NSW
25th January          9.30am. Fanzone Stage, Peel St, Tamworth NSW
25th January          Midday. Joe Maguires Pub, 148 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW
26th January          10.00am. Tamworth Town Hall, 8 Fitzroy St, Tamworth
26th January          8.30pm. Joe Maguires Pub, 148 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW
27th January          8.30pm. Joe Maguires Pub, 148 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW
28th January          8.30pm. Joe Maguires Pub, 148 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW

Memories and Melodies – Celebrating Our Pioneers
10th March             7.00pm. Woodford Memorial Hall, 109 Archer St, Woodford QLD

Saint Patrick’s Week
13th March            11.00am. Twin Towns Services Club, Tweed Heads, NSW
17th March            11.00 am. Mick O’Malley’s Irish Pub, Queen Street Mall, Brisbane
17th March            4.00pm. Finn McCool's, Brunswick Street Mall, Fortitude Valley, QLD
18th March              1.00pm. Harrigan’s Drift Inn, Jacobs Well, QLD - with the Piglets (our Celtic Dancers)

Australian Celtic Festival
4th May                7.00pm. Glen Innes Services Club
5th May                Standing Stones, Centennial Parklands, Glen Innes
6th May                Standing Stones, Centennial Parklands, Glen Innes

Please go to the website for further details.  Join them on Facebook for updates.

Australian Celtic Festival 2018

The 2018 Festival celebrates the Celtic Nations of Brittany, Asturias and Galicia. It will be held from Thursday 3rd May to Sunday 6th May 2018. 2018 Showground camping bookings are now open. Book through the website

Performer Profiles for the Australian Celtic Festival 2018


Wombats Crossing

Wombat's Crossing
Compassionate, evocative music from renowned singer Christine Wheeler and two outstanding musicians, Rebecca Daniel (violin) and Leigh Birkett (guitar, bouzouki). Uniquely moving renditions of songs from Ireland and Scotland, instrumentals from all the Celtic regions of the world including Galicia, Breton, French Canadian and the Celtic heartlands of Ireland and the British Isles.

Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers

Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers
In 1958 Peter Paul McKenna of Ardee, County Louth, Ireland together with Erin O’Daly of County Kildare, Ireland began teaching Ceili dancing in the Ulster Room, upstairs in the recently opened Irish National Association’s Cultural Centre, Devonshire Street, Surry Hills. Erin was a traditional Irish Step dance teacher at this time and when she left Sydney for the United States Peter continued to teach the dancing each Wednesday night.
Ceili dancing is a very aerobic form of group dancing suitable for between three and sixteen people.
Initially, the idea of teaching the Ceili dancing was to keep it ‘alive’ so far from Ireland.  As time went by the dancers would be asked to perform on concerts in and around Sydney.
In 1989 Margaret and Bill Winnett travelled to Ireland with Peter where they attended the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, County Clare.  There they took part in Irish Set dance classes taught by members of the Brooks Academy, Dublin.  Set dancing is very different from Ceili dancing in that, generally, the dancers are in sets of four couples (a full set) or two couples (a half set).  The sets of quadrilles originated in France.  They were brought, firstly to England, by the military during the Napoleonic Wars.  Then the Irish took to them, the name was shortened to ‘sets’ and so began Irish Set dancing!
Margaret had been a traditional Irish Step dancer since 1957 and, together with her sister and brother, attended Peter’s classes from around 1959, ultimately joining the exhibition group in 1963.  Bill arrived in Sydney in 1964 and joined the Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers in 1965.  Margaret and her sister, Kerry, often performed Irish Step dancing as part of the group’s performances.
After Peter’s untimely death during a dance class in February 1992 Margaret and Bill became leaders and teachers of the group.   They continued to travel to Ireland regularly – 21 trips since 1989 – always attending summer schools and workshops so they could bring back to Australia plenty of dance material to share with both their own dancers and other groups.  Since 1990 they also began collecting Irish Two Hand dances and teaching them back here in Australia.
The Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers is certainly a unique group in this country – keeping traditional Irish dancing alive in all facets – Ceili, Set, Step and Two Hand dancing!

They celebrate their Diamond Jubilee in 2018.

What’s on in Tenterfield??

POP-UP Musos Visit The Cafes

January 2018 is ‘Live & Local’ month in Tenterfield, from live music in the main street to acoustic performers wandering between the delectable cafes, plus bands in pubs and country halls in the Shire.
Saturday 13th is the main day in town and the morning is devoted to the coffee and cake brigade. Cafes in the main block will enjoy the performers in the park, while the POP-UP minstrels will wander the cafes further along the street.
The new Glen Innes band, Vinnie and The Cuban Missiles, will be launching another attack of 50s and 60s big guitar solos at the Telegraph Hotel at 8pm while the cinema will be holding its second annual Folk and Celtic Fusion Vidfest. To help celebrate ‘Live and Local’ music making, Samantha Black from Glen Innes will be playing harp in the foyer while patrons enjoy finger food and Kez Watson and her trio ‘TRI’ will be playing in the theatre itself.
Other featured video artists include Anna & Jordan, Astrail, Borneo, David Hyams, Ethnodelica, Murphy's Pigs, Peter Miller, Saoirse, The Borderers and The String Family.  So come and spend a delightful day or weekend in the beautiful Federation Town of Tenterfield and immerse yourself in some great LIVE & LOCAL music making. 
PS... Last call for Music Videos.  If you would like to be included in the VidFest send a link to a quality clip to Peter Harris for transferring to the Big Screen and Surround Sound at 
Local identities Welder’s Dog are currently recording a new Video for the Vidfest, featuring stunning footage from Bald Rock.

I really don’t know how I’m going to fit everything in in January. So many of my favourite musicians are performing and often on the same night! Pity I can’t clone myself. 

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy your family and friends at this special time. We’ll be back again in January. 

Barbara McLennan
Celtic News
02 6734 6246

Published with permission from Celtic News

Copyright © 2017 Australian Celtic Music Awards, All rights reserved.

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