Celtic Music & Heritage Festival set for March 9 and 10


The St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 9, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at Francis Field, 29 W. Castillo Drive in downtown St. Augustine. This event is produced by Romanza-St. Augustine, Inc.

The award-winning festival will include more entertainment on a second stage. This year’s additional performances include Mickey Sweeney, the 2023 winner of the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship, who will play and offer educational information about the dulcimer.

The First Coast Highlanders, the official Celtic Festival host band, will offer a workshop about the history and various types of bagpipes; Blue Lotus World Dance Co. will entertain audiences with their Celtic dances; St. Augustine’s renowned pirate magician Capt. William Mayhem will perform comedy, magic and mayhem; and notable historian and lecturer John Miles will present the topics, “The Viking Invasions of the British Isles” on March 9 and “Blarney Stones and Banshees: The Magic of Old Ireland” on March 10. 

The Steel City Rovers, a main stage attraction, will present a workshop at 2:15 p.m. March 9 and 10 on the second stage with, “How to Create Effective Tune Medleys.” The highly specialized feature of Celtic music will include the band members explaining the linking of tunes to create effective, energetic medleys and the topic, “Why is this part of the Celtic Culture?”

The group will explore ways to create effective medleys through tune selections, timing shifts, key changes and segues for Celtic and other music enthusiasts to explore many tools used to inspire the ancient and much-loved style of music, dance and rhythms.

The second stage host is Sharon Foy Baird, who has performed at talent shows, folk music festivals, showcases, benefit concerts and classical music concerts. She has served as chair and hostess for the Milford, Connecticut, Fine Arts Council’s Performance Coffeehouse series for five years.

Her favorite performances from more than 50 roles on stage, screen and commercials include “The Admirable Crichton” at Long Wharf Theatre, “Rainbow” at a Yale University theater, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Picnic” and “All My Sons” for the Alliance Theatre.

She has produced “The Muppets take Manhattan” and worked as voiceover talent for numerous industrial projects and companies with the brands Lego, Dove and Masterbrands.

Currently, she performs in St. Augustine as a history teller for the Historic Tours of America’s History Museum and Oldest Store Museum.

The Celtic Festival main stage offers top international and U.S. Celtic bands offering traditional and Celtic rock music. The extensive music line-up includes festival favorites Albannach, Dublin City Ramblers, Jamison, La Unica, Seven Nations, Steel City Rovers and Syr, with Emmet Cahill returning after a five-year absence.

Appearing for the first time at the festival will be Grammy-nominated Gaêlica and the Mudmen, renowned as the “Canadian Celtic Rock Warriors.” Chad Light is the main stage host and emcee.

St. Augustine’s four centuries of Celtic heritage will be highlighted during the festival’s Highland Games at 10 a.m. March 9 and 10 at Francis Field with athletes demonstrating and testing their strength and endurance.

The Celtic Festival also features bagpipe music jams, Celtic food, unique artisan crafts, imported merchandise and games for children. VIP tickets for the festival on March 9 and 10 may be purchased online at celticstaugustine.com/tickets and at Ann O’Malley’s Irish Pub, 23 Orange St. in St. Augustine. General admission one-day tickets are also available for purchase at annomalleys.com and at the event gates for cash only during the festival.  

The Original St. Patrick Parade begins the festivities at 10 a.m. March 9.

For more information about the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival, go to celticstaugustine.com.

The Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival, Highland Games, and St. Patrick Parade are produced by Romanza- St. Augustine, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Proceeds of the Celtic Festival help promote the arts, culture and heritage in St. Augustine. For more information about Romanza Festivale of Music and The Arts, go to romanzafestivale.com.