GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN, NC—The 55th Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering of Scottish Clans bring music and entertainment to thousands July 8-11. Traditional and modern Celtic music flood the meadows at dusk and continue into the night. Visitors are welcomed to spread out a blanket and experience the Celtic performances in the shadows of Grandfather Mountain.
Each night is unique and features different aspects of Scottish culture. The celebration kicks off with Thursday night’s Opening Ceremonies. Spectators are invited to an informal picnic beginning at 4:30 p.m. in MacRae Meadows. Visitors are welcome to bring food and food concessions will also be available for purchase. During the early evening there are bagpipe band performances as well as sheep herding demonstrations by Scottish border collies.
As night falls over the meadows, the leaders of 112 sponsoring clans proudly carry their torches to let it be known that their family line is represented at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. The torchlight ceremony is held to invoke the “Spirit of the Clans” upon the gathering. The primitive ceremony hearkens back to the days when Celts banned together on the fields of battle to defend the Highlands from invaders.
Friday night’s festivities begin with the Scottish Country Dance Gala at 8:00 p.m. and run until midnight at Lees-McRae Williams Gymnasium. This event features a colorful display of the old-time Scottish dances passed down through generations. Admission for dancers is $25 and admission for spectators is $10.
The Celtic Jam held in MacRae Meadows Friday night features performances that shed light on the connections between the traditional music of the British Isles and the bluegrass music of the Southern Appalachians.
Some of the traditional Celtic performers at the jam are folksinger Ed Miller and the Blessed Blend, a duo that blends Native American and Celtic music to create a harmony of tribal sounds from two cultures. Other groups performing include: Colin Grant Adams, Celtic Connection, Ed Miller and Friends, Clandestine, Mother Grove, Teribus and Albannach.
Clandestine, well-loved by Grandfather Mountain Highland Games audiences when they appeared in the past, returns with their blend of Texas Celtic Folk.
Teribus returns to the Meadows for a second year at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Teribus is a bagpipe and drum trio playing Celtic and Tribal music influenced by musical traditions from around the world. Teribus is led by Kevin Hartnell, Richard Kean, and EJ Jones, and promises to bring “high energy and a spirit of fun” to the meadows.
Sporting medieval armor, tattoos and animal skins, the Pictish drumming and energetic piping of Albannach encourages audiences to “Keep it Tribal.” The members of Albannach were all born and bred in Scotland and enjoy sharing their intriguing culture, history and heritage with onlookers by means of music.
The Celtic Rock Concert on Saturday night, held in MacRae Meadows is sure to get the blood pumping and serve up a memorable evening of Celtic Rock. The concert showcases high-energy performances by Albannach, Mother Grove, the Forget Me Nots, Blessed Blend, Teribus, Brother and Clandestine. Tickets to the Celtic Rock Concert are $15 for adults and $5 for children with free parking available on a first come basis.
This year the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games are thrilled to welcome back the band, Brother. Brother is known for its high-energy mongrel rock. The band members cut their musical teeth in Australia and have spread their distinct sound across the globe. It is rare to find a didgeridoo player and a bagpipe player on the same stage, let alone in the same band. Brother tastefully incorporates both instruments and provides listeners with something unforgettable.
For more information on the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games phone (828) 733-1333 or visit online www.gmhg.org . For lodging and other travel information, contact North Carolina High Country Host at (800)-438-7500.
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