Origins of the Festival
In 1992, a group of passionate Glen Innes Highlands locals organised the very first Australian Celtic Festival at the Australian Standing Stones at the Centennial Parklands, Glen Innes, NSW.
The Australian Standing Stones were inaugurated in February 1992, born out of the town’s strong connection with its Celtic heritage of Scottish pastoralists and Cornish and Welsh miners. The idea of the festival originated for the promotion of the Stones.
1992 saw the first festival held over the first weekend in May and has continued annually at this date ever since. The date chosen was influenced by the region’s spectacular autumn colours and being historically a period of clear weather.
The festival fills the Centennial Parklands with a celebration of Celtic culture, arts, history, music and dance, bringing the whole area to life.
Evolution of the Festival
The festival proudly celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2022, welcoming the return of a full festival program following a small-scale fringe festival the year prior due to the pandemic.
Over the years, great additions and innovations have been made to the festival, such as the colourful Grey Street Parade in town, the Celtic Cultural Awards, Highland Games and competitions, and re-enactment camps at the festival site.
The festival has grown from a few hundred attendees in its first year to attract over 6,000 attendees from across Australia and overseas.
Many businesses in the region get involved by hosting their own independent events during the festival, offering additional experiences for visitors and locals. The town also comes to life with Celtic-themed window displays in local stores and menus in many of the local eateries, showcasing the amazing community spirit that exists in this small regional town with a big heart.
The 2023 festival celebrated the Year of Scotland and was the biggest yet in terms of the number of attendees.