The Australian Celtic Festival
About the Festival
The Australian Celtic Festival is renowned as the premier Celtic event of New South Wales. It is the only Celtic themed festival in Australia to recognise different Celtic Nations each year, and has the unique atmospheric benefit of being located at the nationally acclaimed Australian Standing Stones. Festival week sees many Glen Innes Highlands venues come alive with Celtic events and entertainment.
In 2021 we are bringing a new experience for our loyal Festival goers and encouraging a new audience with the Australian Celtic Fringe Festival Event at the Australian Standing Stones Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 May.
There will be 5 ticketed concerts featuring exclusive access to an eclectic line up of Celtic entertainment. We will have the popular Boar N Drum Bar and food stalls. Indoor and outdoor seating options will be available but tickets will be limited.
There will be a FREE market event around the Australian Standing Stones and everyone is welcome to explore the Celtic cultural markets, visit Celtic Societies and Clans and enjoy the Celtic Kids Fairy Marquee, the many Celtic Symposium demonstrations around the site and the Poets Breakfast. Check in will be required upon entry using QR code or manual sign in.
The Australian Standing Stones hold a significant connection with Celtic people past and present. Erected in 1992 to acknowledge the contributions to Australia made by settlers and descendants from the Celtic homelands to our nation’s culture, these stones form a calendar, not unlike the stones raised by the agricultural Celtic ancestors to mark the changing of seasons.
Throughout the world stone circles are shrouded in mystery and wonder. Although we know the origin story for the Australian Standings Stones, at almost 30 years of age they have formed their own traditions and mystique and are the perfect setting for Celtic ceremony and celebration.
The site at Centennial Parklands, Glen Innes also houses Crofters Cottage, a replica ‘taigh dubh’ (black house) and our very own Excalibur sword. You will also find the Celtic Family Wall with stones from Celtic homelands donated by individuals, families, clans and societies along with other sites of cultural significance including Tynwald Hill and the Hill of Tara.
The Australian Celtic Festival operates on a three-year cycle recognising six Celtic Nations; 2021 Ireland and Isle of Man, 2022 Wales, Cornwall and Brittany and 2023 Scotland.
Ireland and Isle of Man share cultural similarities and heritage in having Gaelic languages and traditions. While the Nations will be combined, the Festival will ensure that all honoured Nations are celebrated through ceremonies, performer selection themes and gourmet food.
Wales, Cornwall and Brittany share in common their Brythonic languages. They are the remaining Celts of western Britain, some moving across the channel to Brittany. All three homelands share a bond in holding national Eisteddfod festivals.
Scotland is a strong Nation with a proud history and very popular with Australian Celtic Festival attendees as a unique theme. Our town is named after Major Archibald Innes, born in Scotland. With all the cultural colour and spectacle, Scotland will remain a standalone Nation.
Other Nations of course have Celtic history and the Australian Celtic Festival continues to recognise all Celtic heritage within this new format.
Events Around Town
During Festival week there are many fringe events, free and ticketed, happening around Glen Innes Highlands, including history and cultural symposiums, music gigs at various venues, art exhibitions and much more adding to the atmosphere of Festival week and the Celtic experience. Many of these events are facilitated independently and will be subject to their venue’s Covid -19 Safety plan and patron capacities.
We’ll be sharing the most up to date information on events happening around town through our program page and promoting events through the Australian Celtic Festival Facebook Page.