By Colin MacGillivray

Kilmore Celtic Festival will return to its roots when it returns this weekend after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival, which began in the 1990s, has attracted people of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, Manx and Breton heritage from across Australia, celebrating all aspects of Celtic culture including music, food and poetry.

Organiser Dianne Le Quinitat said this year’s festival would bring back popular acts that had supported it since its inception.

Among the many musical acts to feature during the weekend will be Celtic rock band Claymore and folk groups Saoirse and Bric a Brac.

Ms Le Quinitat said popular band Red Cat, who played at the first ever Kilmore Celtic Festival, would return, with Bhan Tre and dancer Geraldine O’Shea-Ryan among the other acts slated for the weekend.

The festival will begin on Friday night at Kilmore Courthouse with a welcome get-together from 7pm.

A poets gathering will kick off the Saturday program from 9am at the Kilmore Courthouse, with people welcome to read their own poetry, personal favourites or simply tell a story, with coffee and croissants available.

Following the poetry reading will be a Celtic ukulele workshop.

The festival will continue with an evening concert at the courthouse featuring Claymore, Bric a Brac and Saoirse from 7.30pm.

Sunday will feature an afternoon tea, with Bric a Brac, Bhan Tre, Green Fieldz and Red Cat providing the entertainment.

Ms Le Quinitat said bookings were essential for the Sunday afternoon tea as places were limited.

She said organisers were thrilled to host the festival again after a two-year layoff.

“This should have been the 26th festival, but we’re going to be celebrating 25 years,” she said.

“It’s great for the town. We get a lot of people coming from out of town, so it’s good for tourism and the local businesses.”

Ms Le Quinitat described the weekend’s musical acts as ‘world class’.

“Claymore is one of the top Celtic rock bands in Australia and internationally too. They’ve played in France at the Inter-Celtic Festival quite a few times. I went over there and saw them one year and they’re brilliant,” she said.

“Red Cat was at the first festival along with Geraldine O’Shea-Ryan and her dancers.

“[They have] been with us all those years and they’ve all wanted to come back, which is the nice thing.

“We usually try to encourage new artists and younger artists as well, but this year because of the way things have been we wanted to have people who have supported us through the years to showcase them.”

People can find more information by searching for Kilmore Celtic Festival on Facebook.

People can book tickets for the Sunday afternoon tea by calling 0488 260 823. Tickets for the Saturday events will also be available at the door.

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