Festival Workshops & Lectures

The Austin Celtic Festival is proud to offer students and interested parties the chance to be directed and counseled by some of today's leading experts in Celtic music. In general our paid workshops, led by our headliners are casual, question and answer arenas for persons already familiar with the subject instrument and are looking for progressive instruction or a chance to ask more complex questions. You should also be prepared for practical application of a particular technique or style favored by the headlining instructor.

Direction and focus of the workshops can be fluid and develop based on the needs of the attending students. Although, they might not necessarily be needed, a well prepared student will have their instrument, pen and paper and a recorder with them. These workshops are limited to a smaller number to be more effective. Novice or beginners may purchase tickets and attend as observers.

Reminders

  • You must purchase a ticket to the festival in addition to the workshop fee.
  • Print out the email confirmation page from paypal as proof of payment for the workshop.
  • No unattended children at the workshops or on the festival grounds.
  • Please refrain from trafficking in and out of the workshops out of respect for the instructors.

SATURDAY WORKSHOPS

Beginning Irish Guitar with Jeff Moore

Austin Celtic Festival Jeff Moore Irish Guitar

Time: 12:30-1:30 p.m., Seelie Court
Fee: FREE

Jeff Moore is a highly sought-after accompanist living in Austin, Texas and has performed with many of the foremost Irish and Scottish music ensembles and musicians in the Southwest. An accomplished guitarist and singer, Jeff has also accompanied international touring musicians such as Cape Breton fiddler Jerry Holland, Dublin-born Irish accordion legend James Keane, master Irish fiddler James Kelly and most recently Irish music icon Joe Burke.


Irish Music Accompaniment with Brian Miller - Intermediate

Austin Celtic Festival Brian Miller

Time: 12:30-1:45 p.m., Workshop Trailer
Fee: $12 (limited to 10 attendees)

Hone your techniques for backing up traditional Irish dance music and songs with this informative, hands on workshop. This workshop will cover the fundamentals of good accompaniment that apply to guitar (in standard or alternate tuning) and all the various mandolin family instruments common in the Irish tradition (bouzouki, cittern, octave mandolin, etc.). We will discuss the history of accompaniment in Irish music while working on a subtle, non-intrusive approach to accompanying tunes and songs. Students will learn strumming techniques for various dance tune types and a few tricks of the trade. Suitable for newcomers to Irish backing as well as those who already do it but are looking to expand their palette.


Inishfree Irish Dance for all ages

Austin Celtic Festival Inishfree Irish Dance

Time: 12:45-1:45 p.m., Kelpie Tent Stage
Fee: FREE

With intricate and exciting choreography, rhythms, beautiful costumes and music, Inishfree Irish Dance showcases a brilliant mix between traditional style and modern athleticism that has made Irish dancing one of the most respected and exciting dance forms in the world.


Southern Irish History in Civil War with Derek Warfield

Austin Celtic Festival Derek Warfield Irish History

Time: 1:45-2:45 p.m., Seelie Court
Fee: FREE

Derek Warfield is one of the great Irish ballad singers but he’s also much more – a founding member and long-serving front man of the legendary Wolfe Tones, a charismatic all-round performer, a historian, retriever and writer of songs and a man who cares passionately for the Irish song tradition.


Fun With Gaelic Language Workshop

Austin Celtic Festival Gaelic Language

Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m., East Side Pavilion
Fee: FREE


Macallan Scotch Tasting with Kieron Elliott

Austin Celtic Festival Scotch Tasting Kieron Elliott

Time: 2:00-3:15 p.m., Kelpie Tent Stage
Fee: $25 (age 21 and up)


Intermediate Irish Guitar with Ryan McGiver

Austin Celtic Festival Ryan McGiver Irish Guitar

Time: 2:00-3:15 p.m., Workshop Trailer
Fee: $12 (limited to 10 attendees)

Singer/Guitarist Ryan McGiver has toured extensively throughout the US, Asia, Australia and Europe over the past decade playing a mixture of traditional Irish and American music. In addition to performing across the globe, Ryan has taught traditional guitar workshops domestically and internationally including the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia.


Beginning Irish Fiddle with Chris Buckley

Austin Celtic Festival Chris Buckley Irish Fiddle

Time: 3:00-4:00 p.m., Seelie Court
Fee: FREE

Chris Buckley grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His Irish music roots came under the tutelage of Martin Dowling, Liz Carroll, Brendan Mulvhill and James Kelly. Christopher has received numerous awards and recognitions for this outstanding achievements in Irish music. He compeated in three All-Ireland world competitions. In 2001, Christopher moved to Austin and has been a member of and recorded with Cluan, Blaggards and Tea Merchants. He is one of the founding members of the Tea Merchants.


Hill Country Highland Dance Workshop and Performance

Austin Celtic Festival Hill Country Highland Dance

Time: 3:30-4:30 p.m., Kelpie Tent Stage
Fee: FREE

Highland dancing is the unique dance form for Scottish bagpipes. The Highland Fling and Sword Dance date back to the Middle Ages and have a ritual, war-like, masculine character. In the eighteenth century, ballet influenced dances like Seann Triubhas (“old trousers”), the Scottish Lilt and Flora McDonald’s Fancy, giving them a graceful, feminine character. Vigorous dances like the Sailor’s Hornpipe and the Irish Jig were borrowed from neighboring cultures, but are mainstays at Highland games.


INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED IRISH FLUTE WITH KEVIN CRAWFORD

Austin Celtic Festival Kevin Crawford Irish Flute

Time: 3:30-4:45 p.m., Workshop Trailer
Fee: $12 (limited to 10 attendees)

This class is for students who are skilled enough to play tunes in a variety of rhythms (jigs, reels, etc.), with good technique and at a reasonable tempo. This course will expand on the skills and topics introduced in the intro class, with more attention given to ornamentation, breathing, style and repertoire, while continuing to emphasize rhythm and phrasing in the music. Tunes will be taught by ear so bring a D flute and a recording device. ABC notation will be provided for those who need it.


Irish Storytelling with MÁirtÍn de CÓgÁin

Austin Celtic Festival Mairtin de Cogain

Time: 4:15-5:15 p.m., Seelie Court
Fee: FREE

Máirtín de Cógáin is a singing, dancing, story-telling bodhrán player who also is a noted playwright and actor. He performs in his native Ireland and all over the U.S. and between and beyond, too! An infectious personality, Máirtín pleasantly commands the attention of any collection of people, from a concert hall to an intimate porch. Descended from a long line of storytellers and with two CCÉ All-Ireland’s for Storytelling under his belt, Máirtín gets no more joy out of life than the telling of stories. If you are lucky enough to catch him spinning a few yarns, you are in for a treat.


Scottish Country Dance Alliance Workshop

Austin Celtic Festival SCDA

Time: 4:45-6:00 p.m., Kelpie Tent Stage
Fee: FREE

Scottish country dance challenges both the body and the mind. The moves are known in advance, so you don't have to worry about making them up as you go along. Also, you get to meet new people and make new friends! No partner is needed because everyone dances with everyone else. So, come alone or bring a friend.


Intermediate Celtic Fiddle with Mari Black

Austin Celtic Festival Mari Black Irish Fiddle

Time: 5:00-6:15 p.m., Workshop Trailer
Fee: $12 (limited to 10 attendees)

Multistyle violinist and champion fiddler Mari Black is rapidly building a reputation as one of the most dynamic young artists of her generation. Her energetic playing, engaging stage presence, and commitment to bringing people together through music have made her a favorite with audiences across the country and around the world. Equally at home in a wide variety of musical traditions, Mari is the reigning Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Champion and Canadian Maritime Fiddle Champion, the 2013 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, the 2011 Canadian Novelty Fiddle Champion, a 2010 1st Prize Winner at the American Protégé International String Competition, and a 2-time laureate at the American String Teachers’ Association Alternative Styles Awards.


TRADITIONAL SONGS IN ENGLISH & IRISH with Nuala Kennedy

Austin Celtic Festival Nuala Kennedy Irish Song

Time: 5:30-6:30 p.m., Seelie Court
Fee: FREE

Much of Nuala’s repertoire consists of Irish songs in the English language she learned from her mentor and friend, Cathal McConnell of the Boys of the Lough. In this class we will learn a variety of songs from that repertoire as well as other songs which Nuala has picked up over several years performing and singing. We will try to learn some songs by ear, (old-style!) as well as from songsheets. Some basic phrases in Irish will be taught as well as a couple of simple Irish language songs. No previous knowledge of Irish is required. A relaxed and informal class, this is a good way to broaden your repertoire as well as share some of your own songs and singing experience with the group. Please come ready to share at least one song that you enjoy, and bring a recording device.




SUNDAY WORKSHOPS

Irish Ceili Dance with Inishfree Austin for All Ages

Austin Celtic Festival Inishfree Irish Dance

Time: 12:30-1:45 p.m., Kelpie Tent Stage
Fee: FREE

With intricate and exciting choreography, rhythms, beautiful costumes and music, Inishfree Irish Dance showcases a brilliant mix between traditional style and modern athleticism that has made Irish dancing one of the most respected and exciting dance forms in the world.


Beginning Irish Tin Whistle with Sean Gavin

Austin Celtic Festival Sean Gavin Irish Tin Whistle

Time: 12:30-1:45 p.m., Seelie Court
Fee: FREE

Beginners will learn basic technique, fingering, ornamentation and a few simple tunes. Higher level classes will explore Irish ornamentation (cuts, taps, rolls and more) in depth while also covering phrasing, tonguing and breathing on a variety of Irish tune types. Please bring a tin whistle in the key of D.


Intermediate Irish Guitar with Peadar Hickey

Austin Celtic Festival Peadar Hickey Irish Guitar

Time: 12:30-1:45 p.m., Workshop Trailer
Fee: $12 (limited to 10 attendees)

Dublin’s Peadar Hickey has been delivering the songs of Ireland’s history to audiences at home and abroad for over a decade. A regular fixture on the Dublin city folk and traditional music circuit, Peadar learned his trade on stage at The Arlington Hotel’s, Oliver St John Gogarty’s and The Temple Bar in Dublin’s Cultural Quarter. He is currently an instructor of guitar for traditional Irish accompaniment at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan.


Macallan Scotch Tasting with Kieron Elliott

Austin Celtic Festival Scotch Tasting Kieron Elliott

Time: 2:00-3:15 p.m., Kelpie Tent Stage
Fee: $25 (age 21 and up)


Intro to Uilleann (Irish) Pipes with Andrew Sharp

Austin Celtic Festival Andrew Sharp Irish Pipes

Time: 2:00-3:15 p.m., Seelie Court
Fee: FREE

Andrew Sharp from Bayonne, New Jersey, has spent his entire life emerged in the traditional music and dance of both Ireland and Scotland. Learning traditional music and dance at a very early age, Andrew has won a variety of both Irish and Scottish Performing Arts Awards as a multi-instrumentalist and dancer.


Intermediate Irish Banjo with Damaris Woods

Austin Celtic Festival Damaris Woods Irish Banjo

Time: 2:00-3:15 p.m., Workshop Trailer
Fee: $12 (limited to 10 attendees)

Damaris Woods, lives in Co. Meath and is recognised as one of the foremost banjo players of all time and her exceptional style of banjo playing and her trademark triplets has other musicians striving to replicate it. Damaris is a gifted music teacher on a range of instruments to a broad spectrum of ages and many of her students have been prominent prize-winners in competitions over the last number of years. On an annual basis Damaris organises a hugely popular traditional arts camp in Co. Cavan – “The Ag Seinm Traditional Arts Camp”. Over five days, over one hundred and twenty students aged between 5 and 70 years enjoy workshops in a range of instruments, song and dance with tutors within a context of fun.


Fun With Gaelic Language Workshop

Austin Celtic Festival Gaelic Language

Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m., East Side Pavilion
Fee: FREE


Irish Storytelling with MÁirtÍn de CÓgÁin

Austin Celtic Festival Mairtin de Cogain

Time: 3:30-4:30 p.m., Kelpie Tent Stage
Fee: FREE

Máirtín de Cógáin is a singing, dancing, story-telling bodhrán player who also is a noted playwright and actor. He performs in his native Ireland and all over the U.S. and between and beyond, too! An infectious personality, Máirtín pleasantly commands the attention of any collection of people, from a concert hall to an intimate porch. Descended from a long line of storytellers and with two CCÉ All-Ireland’s for Storytelling under his belt, Máirtín gets no more joy out of life than the telling of stories. If you are lucky enough to catch him spinning a few yarns, you are in for a treat.


Sean Nos: Singing in Irish with Brian O'Hairt

Austin Celtic Festival Brian OHairt Irish Singing

Time: 3:30-4:45 p.m., Seelie Court
Fee: FREE

Come explore the singing traditions of Gaelic Ireland. Learn about the historic development of these regional traditions while focusing on pronounciation, phrasing, orenementation and individual style. Students will try their hands a the various types of Irish Gaelic songs such as the "big songs", silly songs, macaronic songs, religious songs and more. No understanding of Gaelic is necessary. Students will learn several song choruses with which to sing along in a group setting. Please bring a recording device.


Intermediate Irish/Ulleann Pipes with Cillian Vallely

Austin Celtic Festival Cillian Vallely Irish Pipes

Time: 3:30-4:45 p.m., Workshop Trailer
Fee: $12 (limited to 10 attendees)

Cillian Vallely is an uilleann pipes and low whistle player from Armagh in the north of Ireland. In recent years, he has played and recorded with Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Tim O’Brien, and Riverdance in addition to recording as a guest on over 50 albums. With Lunasa, he has played at The Hollywood Bowl, Glastonbury Festival, Womad Aledaide, Edmonton Folk Festival in addition to multiple tours of Asia, Australia, US and Europe.


Scottish Country Dance With the ASCDS Youth Group

Austin Celtic Festival Irish Dance

Time: 4:45-6:15 p.m., Kelpie Tent Stage
Fee: FREE

Scottish country dance challenges both the body and the mind. The moves are known in advance, so you don't have to worry about making them up as you go along. Also, you get to meet new people and make new friends! No partner is needed because everyone dances with everyone else. So, come alone or bring a friend.


Intro to Bodhran (Irish Drum) with Mark Stone

Austin Celtic Festival Mark Stone Irish Drum

Time: 5:00-6:15 p.m., Seelie Court
Fee: FREE

One of America's most respected and foremost players of the bodhran, Mark Stone has performed and taught across the United States, Canada, and Europe with many of today's most renowned Irish musicians. Mark began his professional music career at the age of fifteen playing keyboards in local dance bands and doing studio work. He later focused his attention solely on Irish music playing ceili piano. His knowledge of chord movement and structure has been transferred to the bodhran, resulting in a unique blend of rhythm and tones that has established Mark as a top player in the United States.


Advanced Irish Guitar with John Doyle

Austin Celtic Festival John Doyle Irish Guitar

Time: 5:00-6:15 p.m., Workshop Trailer
Fee: $12 (limited to 10 attendees)

John Doyle is one of Ireland’s most talented and innovative musicians. Originally from Dublin, and a longtime resident of Asheville, John is an accomplished singer and songwriter, multi-Grammy nominee, and an extraordinary master of the Irish guitar whose hard-driving style has influenced a generation of players. A founding member of the acclaimed group Solas, his powerful guitar playing provided the signature rhythmic backbone for the band, and his delicate and emotional finger-style playing and creative vocal harmonies can be heard on four of Solas’ recordings as well as a plethora of other recordings.