February 23, 2018
UTICA – The lineup for the 2018 Great American Irish Festival is set…and it’s a good one.
The official lineup for the 2018 Great American Irish Festival was announced at the Halfway to GAIF Hooley held February 9th at the Saranac Brewery in Utica, with a broad array of veteran GAIF performers; including one bidding Central New York a sad goodbye, and one supergroup making their first appearance at the festival.
Making their highly-anticipated return to the festival after being away for a year will be high-energy festival favorites, The Elders. The Elders recently announced that 2018 will be the band’s final year of touring, and they and festival organizers left little doubt that GAIF would be included as one of their final stops.
Making their debut at the Great American Irish Festival will be a band that is taking both sides of the Atlantic by storm, Galway’s We Banjo 3. We Banjo 3 has carved a niche that sits somewhere between old world tradition and authentic Americana by plying their banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin skills in an innovation fusion of styles that they dub “Celtgrass.” You will not want to miss this wildly popular band, dubbed “the Gold Standard of Irish and American Roots music.”
Finally, joining the other headliners on the Contemporary Stage will be Central New York favorites, Enter the Haggis, returning to the festival that helped launch them to prominence in 2005. Back again at their home away from home for the 12th time, Enter the Haggis is poised to rip it up under the big tent with all the familiar catchy songs that have made fans of Central New Yorkers and Haggisheads alike for over 15 years.
Other returning upper-tier acts this year include the high-energy Barleyjuice from Philadelphia, last year’s standouts, The American Rogues, Ottawa Valley’s favorite sons…uh, daughters, Searson, and long-time GAIF veterans the Blarney Rebel Band and Hair of the Dog (each making a record 14th appearance!).
Back in the lineup after some time away will be past GAIF performers The Gothard Sisters from the Pacific Northwest, the electrified and electrifying Moxie Strings, Celtic rockers 1916, and the always-popular Stoutmen.
Also joining the festival for the first time this year will be the husband and wife duo, House of Hammil. Their name may not be familiar – yet – but their faces and music should be. Brian Buchanan (Enter the Haggis) and Rose Baldino (Burning Bridget Cleary) are both accomplished traditional fiddle players and classical violinists who write unusual new fiddle tunes and exciting, unpredictable original songs, while also breathing new life into traditional and contemporary songs.
Adding to the non-stop entertainment will be a variety of other local and regional performers, including Donal O’Shaughnessy, Triskele and Arise & Go, plus Irish dancers and pipers throughout the weekend.
In addition to the non-stop music, merchandise vendors from across the U.S. and Ireland, carefully selected from a list of applicants, will be selling Irish and Celtic merchandise, and a variety of food booths will be providing a taste of the Emerald Isle for festival-goers. Returning again this year will be the 5k run, bagpipe competition and the Heavy Games. Campsites are also available.
This year’s festival will be held from July 27-28, 2018 at The Herkimer County Fairgrounds, located just off Route 5s in Frankfort NY, just minutes from the New York State Thruway. For directions, tickets or more information, visit the festival web site at www.greatamericanirishfest.com.
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