Great weekend. Attended the Weston Irish Fest in Weston, MO. This is its 6th year, though I only discovered it last year. I've long been a lover of Celtic Music, but its only been in the last couple of years that I've had opportunities to attend many live performances (save one rather interesting jaunt to see Tempest in a seedy little biker bar in San Jose, CA many years ago). Everyone put on a great show. The music, of course, was great. However, being an Irish music festival, there was a respectable amount of wit on display and a really wonderful sense of energy and fun in the crowd. My favorite was a group I first heard at the festival last year, Brigid's Cross. Paul Baker is one of the best fiddle players I've ever heard and a hell of a funny guy as well. Peggy Goonan Baker, has a beautiful voice and plays a mean Bodhran, and Richie Reece plays the guitar and performs some pretty impressive step dancing. They always do a great show, and they have their first three albums available for free on the internet so you should really check them out.
I heard two groups I hadn't heard before, Jiggernaut, and Switchback. Both were a lot of fun. Switchback was an interesting blend of Celtic, Blues, Bluegrass, and Country, really hard to describe or define, but great music nonetheless. Jiggernaut was more Celtic Rock and put on quite a show. I talked to their lead singer Deanna Smith Scotland for a bit after one of their performances and she was just so nice and gracious. The Elders, a KC based group that is probably the best known of the performers, were there as well. It was the first time I had seen them live and they definitely lived up to their reputation.
The Arafat Shrine had a pipe and Drum band that played several times between the sets of other bands and did some touching tributes to fallen soldiers in Iraq. The O'Riada school of Irish Dance did a performance, and as always as was awed by the skill these girls have developed at such young ages. There were many other acts there that I didn't get a chance to watch perform. Bob Reeder, a well known local balladeer was their, and very involved in getting the festival together, and also raises money to help hearing impaired children. I didn't get to see him perform, but I did buy a couple of his CDs and definitely plan to make it to one his performances soon.
All in all it was a great day. I'm always amazed that with such a large crowd full of energetic music and beer and whiskey flowing freely that there aren't any problems. But everyone was so cool and just in to enjoying the music and having a good time. Lots of people were up dancing at points (many of them attractive red headed women, god bless the Irish), and everyone was just having a great time. I spent way too much money on CDs, and more on a hat and some jewelry for my wife thanks to the efforts of an attractive young lady that flirted shamelessly with this fat middle aged guy to make a sale, but overall it was worth it. Looking forward to next year.