FESTIVAL FEVER: The Irish 2000 Summer Fun-Raiser

May 4th, 2015, 10:00 am by Greg
The McKrells

The McKrells

As you may remember, some mighty torrential rain storms soaked the annual Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds last September, and organizers took a bath.

So they weighed their options, and came up with a unique plan – what better way to raise funds for a festival than to host another festival?

The one-day-only Irish 2000 Summer Fun-Raiser will be held at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa from 12noon-7pm on Saturday, June 6, featuring a batch of local and regional fave Celtic bands. Tickets are $10, available online in advance, as well as at the gate; children aged 10 years and under are free.

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A Few Minutes With… Larry Kirwan of Black 47

September 11th, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg
Black 47

Larry Kirwan (right) and Black 47

Interview and story by Don Wilcock
Photograph by Kirsten Ferguson

Facing death straight in the eye clears one’s head in a heartbeat. If it’s the possible death of your child, the focus is even sharper. “You think, holy shit, you make a wrong move, and your kids are gonna die. That’s a big one,” says Larry Kirwan, leader of the Celtic rock band Black 47 performing Saturday afternoon at the 18th annual Irish 2000 Festival of Music & Arts at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa.

Black 47 takes its name from the worst year of the Irish potato famine, 1847. Their instrumentation includes uillean pipes and bodhran, and they address issues relating to Irish as well as American politics. They are one of the few contemporary rock bands that don’t blink when it comes to the politics of war. “When we were doing the Iraq album and playing it during the war, we’d do a lot of colleges or a certain amount of them during the course of the year and for three years, 2003 to 2006, it was a nightmare in bars and everything. Even colleges didn’t give a fuck (as long as) they could dance to it. They really didn’t.

“The only way I used to get a rise out of them is I’d off-handedly say, ‘I’m sorry, but the draft is coming back in this afternoon. It’s gonna be tough on you guys.’ Then I’d go into the next song. And this rumor would spread through the crowd. It was wildfire. It was like everyone was listening to what you were gonna say on the next song.”

Black 47’s core audience includes those men and women who choose the military as an occupation at a time when facing death is a gamble they feel is worth the effort in a world of limited life options. Kirwan is not a war monger, but he separates his judgments towards our fighting men and women from those about politicians who make the decisions to go to war.

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Festival Fever: Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival @ Saratoga County Fairgrounds, 9/13-14/13

September 10th, 2013, 11:00 am by Greg

The Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival returns to the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa once again this weekend, bringing together some of the finest Celtic music performers from around the globe.

The two-day bash kicks off with non-stop music from 5:45-11pm on Friday (September 13), with Gaelic Storm in the headlining slot. On Saturday (September 14), the music kicks off at 11am, and performances continue on three different stages straight through til 11pm.

Two-day all-fest tickets are available in advance only for $29. Friday-only tickets are $16 in advance; $20 at the gate. Saturday-only tickets are $18 in advance; $25 at the gate. Children ages 12 and under are FREE.

Here’s the schedule of performances for the 2013 Irish 2000 Festival:

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Patrick Murphy, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

September 16th, 2010, 11:02 am by Greg

Patrick Murphy of Gaelic Storm“You know what it was? Depeche Mode. Yes, an album called ‘Music for the Masses’ by Depeche Mode. I was 12 years old.

I never listened to Irish music back home in Ireland. I guess it’s like the people who live in California that take the sun and the swimming pools for granted. When you’re there in Ireland, the music is there every day. My mother and my father had it on the radio all the time, but I just took it for granted. I didn’t listen to it.

It wasn’t until I came to America that I finally put away my albums by Depeche Mode and the Cure, and I started listening to Paddy Reilly, the Furey Brothers and Tommy Makem. Honestly, I mean I had never listened to Tommy Makem.

I had to be separated from Ireland before I really appreciated what I had left behind.”

Frontman and lead vocalist Patrick Murphy – he also plays harmonica, accordion and spoons – joins his bandmates in Gaelic Storm as one of the featured bands at the Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds this weekend. The fest gets underway at 5pm Friday, and Gaelic Storm is slated to hit the stage later that night at 7:15pm. Friday-only tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the gate. Two-day passes are $28.

Festival Fever: Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival, Saratoga County Fairgrounds, 9/17-18/10

September 15th, 2010, 11:17 am by Greg

Irish 2000 Music & Arts FestivalThere’s no question that the 2010 Annual Irish 2000 Festival is Nippertown’s biggest Celtic music event this side of St. Patrick’s Day.

In fact, it’s one of the top five Irish music fests in the entire United States.

This weekend, the fest is returning to the Saratoga County Fairgrounds with a line-up of more than 20 great Celtic music performers who span musical genres from rock to folk and beyond.

The Irish 2000 Fest kicks off at 5pm Friday with a six-band lineup highlighted by Gaelic Storm and Enter the Haggis.

On Saturday, the fest kicks into high gear with five stages worth of music running all day long, beginning at 11:30am with such headliners as the Young Dubliners, Great Big Sea and the Irish Tenors’ John McDermott.

11:30am? That’s right. Guinness… it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

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