The organisers of the 4th Knysna Celtic Festival Sponsored by Lew Geffen | Sotheby’s International Realty Knysna have announced the line-up for the Festival’s highlight event - the Sundowners Celtic Concert.
“The Concert was originally established to promote bluegrass and Celtic music, and as a showcase for local musicians like the Knysna & Districts Pipe Band - but it’s become such an enormous success that we’re now able to attract international guest performers,” said organising committee member, Pipe Major Steve Collins.
The Festival has become one of South Africa’s most popular Celtic gatherings, drawing pipe bands and highland dancers from Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, and KwaZulu-Natal. Together with the Concert, the event features a Massed Pipes and Drums parade in the town’s Main Street, the country’s only street march competition, and traditional piping, drumming, and dance competitions during the annual Highland Gathering at Loerie Park.
SUNDOWNERS CELTIC CONCERT
This year’s concert - the seventh in the series - will feature Cape Town-based traditional folk bands Jenny & The Jameses, and Blacksmith (which has played at every one of these concerts since 2012), as well as Scottish Highland dancers from Pretoria’s O'Leary Studio, and Irish dancers from Cape Town’s Celtic Dance Tapestry.
“Of course the Knysna & Districts Pipe Band will also be on stage - and we’ll be introducing our newly-formed Castle Rock Ceilidh Band, too – whose members are mostly also members of the pipe band,” said Mr. Collins.
“Another very exciting addition to this year’s line-up will be the 26-piece Carpe Musicam! orchestra from George, which’ll perform popular Celtic music, and will then join the Knysna & Districts Pipe Band and the other musicians for an epic Grande Finale.”
“We’re especially looking forward to welcoming two of the world’s very best Celtic musicians to Knysna: the top Scottish harpist and composer, Catriona McKay, and the award-winning Shetland fiddler, Chris Stout, who’ll be joining us for the second year in a row,” said Mr Collins.
Catriona McKay (www.catrionamckay.co.uk) was named Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2014 Scots Trad Music Awards. She is renowned for exploring the limits of the Clàrsach (the traditional Scottish harp), and as the co-designer of the new Starfish McKay harp, with its alternative tuning pattern. She collaborates regularly with folk, jazz, classical, and experimental artists, has appeared on stage with groups as diverse as the Moscow City Symphony and the Scottish Ensemble, and is a member of the Chris Stout Quintet, and of the leading Shetland band, Fiddlers' Bid - amongst others.
Like Ms. McKay, Chris Stout (who was named Shetland’s Young Fiddler of the Year for his traditional music, and Shetland’s Young Musician of the Year for his abilities on the classical violin - both in 1990), is also recognised for his cutting-edge exploration of the traditions of the music in which he is grounded, and for his determination to explore new musical territories through innovation and experimentation. (Chris Stout on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Stout)
Mr. Collins said that the Sundowners Celtic Concert will run from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on 24 February, 2018, and that dinner will be available from a range of quality local food stalls - with wine, beer, and cider from The Bell Beer Garden - during the performance.
“As usual, a portion of ticket sales will go to the Knysna Sea Cadets, which received R25,000 from us after last year’s concert. This brought the total we’ve raised so far for this very worthy organisation to about R125,000 - and we’re hoping to match or better our 2017 donation this year,” he said.
Tickets for the Sundowners Celtic Concert cost R150, and are available from Sotheby’s offices in Sedgefield, Plettenberg Bay, and Knysna (Leisure Isle, Woodmill Lane, Knysna Mall, Thesen Island), and from Bosun’s Pub & Grill on George Rex Drive.
Concert tickets bought from these venues will include free daytime entrance to the Highland Gathering at Loerie Park.
More information: Knysna Celtic Festival on Facebook (https://web.facebook.com/pg/Knysna-Celtic-Festival-431494573603501/about/?ref=page_internal)
Media release for the Knysna & Districts Pipe Band by Martin Hatchuel
IMAGES: The 2017 Sundowners Celtic Concert. Please credit Hylton Herd