Irish Fest has a soft opening at 5:00 p.m. on this date with only a few of the stages in action. I start this day covering all the tables we need to have ready for the soft opening and then I switch clothes, grab my cameras, and head out into the ground to document the event.
The photography crew is assigned an area to cover and bands to capture for the Irish Fest archives. The idea is that we should shoot photos that offer everyone the opportunity to know what it is like to attend the event. For the Celtic Milwaukee archives, we are to shoot a full stage shot with the sponsor banner and an individual photo of each artist in the act. From that point on for us, it is game on!
Here is a few photos of our crew in action once the music starts.
However, in all honesty, for me the most fun is stage photos of the bands. I get a press pass, can go anywhere I want including on stage, and it is the best job I have ever had in my life.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
Dignitaries from Ireland
Volunteer of the Year Joe Hughes
Opening Day is not helped with a light rain--good news was it cleared off by the evening but not before there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
Volunteers have to work late into the night
Ed Ward--music king--waiting for the music stuff to start
Brave Giant is an Indie/Folk group from Longford, Ireland consisting of Mark Prunty (guitar/vox), Podge Gill (guitar/vox), Ross McNerney (banjo/mandolin), and Emmett Collum (drums).
Paddy Keenan is a uillean piper from Ireland and an original member of most influential Irish traditional music group, The Bothy Band.
The Dance Tent
The Dance Tent is a very popular spot on the grounds during the Fest. Not only is the dancing cool, but the music is always provided by a live band.
Dermot and Flo
Dermot is one of Ireland's finest traditional musicians, hailing from the most northerly part of Donegal, and has played accordion since a very young age, having learned from his father. Floraine (Flo), was not able to attend (I believe) so there was a fine, talented sub whose name I am sorry to report I did not get.
If you attend Irish Fest, you know. If not, this is the most popular act at Irish Fest and they have been on the grounds forever. The crowd loves these guys. They first showed up after their appearance in the movie Titanic in 1998 and have been here every year since.
The focus of the live performances: Patrick Murphy
Co-founder Steve Twigger
Brand new member Katie Grennan
This was her reaction to the question: Are you having any fun in the band?
One of the cool things about Irish Fest is the generosity of the bands in including other musicians like in this case, The Irish Fest Choir...
or the Trinity Irish Dancers.
The crowd turn out for Gaelic Storm is always huge, noisy and full of fun.
Celtica Pipes Rock
For whatever reason this year, the big rock act, Red Hot Chili Pipers, were not in attendance. That could have been a let down until I hear this group. If you look at the faces of these folks on opening night, you will know how they and I felt when we were hit by the sonic sound of this band.
Hailing from Austria, their combination of the traditional sound of Scottish bagpipes with the power of a rock band made my Fest. You are going to see a lot of pictures of this band in these blogs.
Tonight might have been the soft opening for Irish Fest but with all the great music I heard already, I cannot wait for the next three full days of music to start.