Wow how time flies – it’s been almost a month since the Festival and we’d like to extend a massive thank you to everyone for making our 2021 Australian Celtic Fringe Festival such a success!
You did this by visiting, tasting, laughing, singing, dancing and enjoying. You came to the Markets. You came to the Concerts. You explored Glen Innes and its beautiful surrounds. You revelled in the wealth of talented artists who came this year – nine bands, three highland dancing troupes, five pipe bands, a fiddle club and a talented MC! Through six concerts at the Festival itself and in more than ten shows around town, the music kept on playing and you celebrated all of them.
With around 30 market stalls, and the clans and society marquees set about the free entry Cultural Market venue, the thousands of visitors who came had plenty to enjoy, from crafts and fine goods to an array of tasty fare and for kids the fae queen and the fairy marquee. In town, starting in the lead up to the weekend the Town Hall hosted the Australian Celtic Fashion Awards exhibition full of imaginative design and in the Chapel Theatre the Celtic Symposium was an afternoon of interest.
The Festival this year was different, with planning to make it safe and compliant in a most uncertain world. The Australian Celtic Fringe Festival 2021 has ensured the continuation of this major and hallmark event and secured the enthusiasm for it from businesses and organisations in Glen Innes Highlands, traders from further afield who visited, and more widely with Clans and Celtic societies and associations. Our town’s hospitality was welcomed by all who attended and it was a wonderful, well-received weekend.
Save the date for our Australian Celtic Festival 2022 – 28th April – 1st May. We look forward to welcoming back a full program featuring our in-town Street Parade and Opening, and ever popular Strongman competition, so look out for future editions of this newsletter for updates!
We hope you enjoyed 2021! From the ACF team
The Concert Sessions - Ticketed Events for 2021
This year the 2021 Australian Celtic Fringe Festival celebrated Ireland and the Isle of Man and was honoured to host the Consulate General of Ireland, Sydney, Owen Feeney, and to receive thanks and greetings from the President of the London Manx Society, Alastair Kneale.
The Australian Celtic Festival operates on a three-year cycle recognising six Celtic Nations; 2022 Brittany, Cornwell & Wales, 2023 Scotland and 2024 Isle of Man.
That's a wrap on our 2021 Dawn and Opening Ceremony
At the crack of dawn on Saturday 1st May the crowds gathered at the Australian Standing Stones with the official opening conducted on Tynwald Hill. A Welcome to Country given by Bob Blair and smoking ceremony performed to cleanse the area of bad spirits to ensure an enjoyable weekend of events. Judi Toms, Chair of the Australian Standing Stones Management Board, was Master of Ceremonies. Naomi Bain sang the Australian National Anthem, and the flags began to rise on Tynwald Hill as the sky brightened. Cara Robinson, one of this year’s wonderful Festival performers, played the tin whistle and was delightfully accompanied by magpies and other birds in the crisp autumn morning. Eimíle Brí, who performed at The Croft during the Festival weekend, sang the Irish and Manx anthems, each in their respective languages. With all flags flying at Tynwald Hill, Owen Feeney opened the 2021 Australian Celtic Fringe Festival, providing heartfelt thanks for the acknowledgement to Ireland this year with kind words to all. Glen Innes Mayor Carol Sparkes added her words of support for the achievement of holding the Festival this year. Suzanne Jamieson, convenor of the Celtic Council of Australia, spoke likewise and also read a speech of Manx greeting from Alastair Kneale, President of the London Manx Society. Nigel Brown, President of the Glen Innes Arts Council, read a poem to invoke the time, place and mood of the Festival. And the Cauldron was lit by Australian Standing Stones Management Board Member Steve Toms.
Thank you to the Pipe Bands
We’d like to extend a thank you to the Pipe Bands and Fiddle Club who attended this year’s Fringe Festival. Adding to the event atmosphere and making our ceremonies and presentations memorable. There’s nothing quite like the sound of an in sync pipe band kilted in spectacular colour! We enjoyed the company of the Armidale Pipe Band, Glen Innes Pipe Band, Murrumba Pipes and Drums, Moreton Celtic Fiddle Club and Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band.
2021 Guardians ceremony and Society ceremonies
The Australian Standing Stones venue at Centennial Parklands was built as a national monument to honour the contributions of Celtic Australians to the Australia. Each year the Guardians, who undertake to ensure the integrity of the monument as a place of significance and reflection for Celtic Australians, affirm their duties at a ceremony within the stone circle. Guardians include the Mayors of Glen Innes and Mosman, the Convenor of the Celtic Council of Australia, people who were involved in the original raising of the Stones and others who help in the management of the site. This year it was a delight to induct Judi Toms, Chair of the Australian Standing Stones Management Board, as a Guardian. Peace and goodwill are imparted to the ceremony by a Maid of the Flowers and Sword Bearer, whose flowers and sword presentation symbolise the fruits of our labours and a declaration of peace. This year the grandchildren of Guardian Raelene Watson had the honour to fulfil these roles. During this ceremony, awards were presented by the Celtic Council of Australia to Glen Innes locals Mike Gilbert and Peter Hansen, for their contributions and support of Celtic Australia, in Mike’s poetry and Paul’s piping that make for important elements in many celebrations in Glen Innes. To them, the honour of D Ur, for the Irish ‘Duine Uasal’ (with the meaning Honoured person) was given.
On Sunday a series of ceremonies were held in honour of the Celtic nations, at the Gorsedd and Ogham Stones and upon Tynwald Hill. Wales celebrated with the Gorsedd Prayer and Welsh anthem, invoking peace; Cornwall celebrated through the annual ceremony of bringing together granite from Bodmin moor in Cornwall with the granite of the Gorsedd Stone in Glen Innes, invoking connectivity; Ireland celebrated with the Queensland Irish Pipes and Drums playing the Irish national anthem and a speech by Irish Consul General to Sydney, Own Feeney, invoking Bealtaine, the Celtic summer celebration at the start of May; The Isle of Man celebrated with a greeting from the President of the London Manx Society Alastair Kneale, invoking the longstanding relationship of the Society and the Australian Celtic Festival. Scotland celebrated with clans declaring their presence and the kirking of the tartan with the colour and spectacle of massed tartan and pipes. Every year, these special ceremonials bring a unique congregation of Celtic nations together and are a hallmark of the Festival.
2021 Fashion Awards Exhibition
The 2021 Fashion Awards Exhibition held at the Glen Innes Town Hall was a huge success! A huge thank you to our dedicated ambassadors Viv Williams and Esther Honey for bringing this event to life, Sew Many Fabrics for Sponsoring the Fashion Awards and all the talented entrants who brought ‘A Tartan Day Out’ to life. The quality of entries was exceptional – well done to all and congratulation to our 2021 Winners!
Sew Many Fabrics Major Prize Winner - Clare Gibbons
Carolyn’s Closet Junior Prize – Sarah Wilson
APJ Law Art Prize – Patricia Turner
Country Wide Property Craft Prize – Life Choices Tuesday Group
People’s Choice Award – Kerry Hill
Praise to our dedicated volunteers
A big thank you to the amazing crew of volunteers that helped over the course of the 2021 Australian Celtic Fringe Festival. The many helping hands across the whole range of duties, from getting the marquee up for the Concerts to the ground marshalling by RFS crew, our bus drivers, Lara Gresham who was organiser Ronnie Bombell’s right hand throughout the festival, including at the Boar ‘n’ Drum bar, all the Glen Innes Severn Council staff and the team from the Visitor Information Centre. A huge thanks to all the local residents and businesses who gave up their time to help make this Festival come alive and run so smoothly. And thanks to the members of the Australian Standing Stones Management Board, for the help in planning and organising at the Standing Stones venue.
Thank you to our 2021 Sponsors
We thank our 2021 Sponsors for their contributions that helped ensure its success, making the experience enjoyable and bringing the economic benefits to our community.Covid-19 has had significant impacts upon the economy of our community, and we were very pleased to have been able to hold the 2021 Festival, attracting many visitors to Glen Innes Highlands, and so giving a boost to our community and showcasing our beautiful town and surrounds. We look forward to continuing our partnerships in the future and welcome the Australian Celtic Festival, celebrating Brittany, Cornwell and Wales in 2022.