From March 10 – 17, just ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, Vancouver will be going green. The 12th annual CelticFest, Western Canada’s biggest Celtic festival, will hit downtown with an exciting assortment of music, dance, food, and more in celebration of the seven Celtic nations and its local community.
Though admittance to many of the Festival events are free, CelticFest also boasts a stacked lineup of exciting ticketed events held at various venues around the city. From special performances by world-renowned Irish musicians to whisky tastings at Doolin’s Irish Pub, here are a few you’ll want to highlight on your schedule.
Known for blending genres, this Dublin-born singer and songwriter’s unique combination of Irish, reggae, and rock music have garnered him fans and collaborators in the likes of Brian Eno, Sinéad O’Connor, Bob Dylan, U2, and Morrissey. He performs a special pre-CelticFest concert on March 5.
When: March 5, 2016
Where: Imperial – 319 Main Street
Tickets: $50 / $75 premium seating in advance available online
The Irish Rovers
The legendary ambassadors of Irish music come to CelticFest to mark their 50th anniversary as a band. It’s also 30 years since EXPO86 and the famous Unicorn Pub. On their last world tour, fans of this iconic band (who isn’t?) will want to spend this special St. Patrick’s Day in their company, enjoying their well-loved tunes.
When: March 17, 2016
Where: Vogue Theatre – 918 Granville Street
Tickets: $35 – $50 available online
Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir
Bask in the glory of 80 incredible voices as the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir returns to CelticFest following last year’s sold-out concert. The choir will perform a repertoire of folk songs, spirituals, show tunes, and more in the Welsh vocal tradition. The De Danaan Irish Dancers, piper Tim Fanning, and band Ballyhooley will join the entertainment.
When: March 11, 2016
Where: St Andrew’s Wesley Church – 1022 Nelson Street
Tickets: $30 general / premium seating $40 / $27 students and seniors available online
The CelticFest Ceilidh is always a festival highlight with its lively assortment of music and dance. Hosted by Michael Viens and house band Blackthorn, the event will also feature performances by the BC Regiment Irish Pipes and Drums, Pat Chessell, Mary Brunner, Mairi Rankin, Brian Flanagan (Halifax Wharf Rats), and, for the first time this year, renowned dance caller and Glasgow-born Duncan MacKenzie. This event sells out every year, so get your tickets fast.
When: March 12, 2016
Where: Imperial – 319 Main Street
Tickets: $25 in advance / $30 at the door
Standing Room Only Theatre returns to CelticFest this year with Moll, a production by the award-winning Irish playwright John B. Keane that parodies the happenings in a rural presbytery in Kerry in the 1970s. This side-splitting comedy was recently granted an extended run due to popular demand at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre and is bound to have the audience in stitches when it comes to Vancouver.
When: March 10 – 16, 2016
Where: St. James Hall – 3214 W. 10th Avenue, and Dentry’s Irish Grill – 4450 W. 10th Avenue
Tickets: $20 available online
Calling all whisky lovers — Doolin’s Irish Pub will be holding Whisky Tastings that cater to all levels of aficionado. Beginners can enjoy the Introduction to Whisky 101, which offers basic knowledge and insights. Intermediates will enjoy the Whisky Tasting 201 and true enthusiasts will have the opportunity to learn even fore at the For Connoisseurs session. Each tasting includes five samples.
When: March 14 – 16, 2016
Where: Doolins Irish Pub
Tickets: $30 – $85 available online
The work of legendary Irish folk musician Sharon Shannon, best known for her dexterity on the accordion and fiddle, has spanned decades and genres, with its unique mix of Irish folk with Cajun music, French-Canadian, even hip-hop. Shannon, whose eponymous 1991 album is Ireland’s best-selling album of traditional Irish music, has also collaborated with an eclectic array of artists including Bono, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, Emmy-Lou Harris, and Alison Krauss. She received the Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Meteor Awards in 2009.
When: March 13, 2016
Where: St. James Hall – 3214 W. 10th Avenue
Tickets: $40 | $36 for Rogue Folk Club Members in advance available online