What is Celtfest?
Celtfest is a fun weekend of Ottawa Valley and Celtic entertainment, performed in the natural amphitheater of Gemmill Park in the heart of Almonte. It is a time to share the historical Celtic traditions with today’s local performers. Celtfest also presents a select group of unique artisans and vendors of specialty goods with a Celtic flair. Donations are welcomed at the gate.
Our mission is to celebrate and promote the Celtic heritage of the Ottawa Valley through music and dance and to make this accessible to all. We want to give up-and-coming performers an opportunity to display their talents in their home community. To do this, we feature a free event with a number of entertainers who have a Celtic quality, as well as a wide variety of vendors of Celtic goods. We also provide a tent for seniors and entertainment for children, along with great food and beverages for all.
Celtfest began in 1997. Motivated by a love of Celtic heritage, Brian and Dan O’Connell, along with Terry Currie, looked for a way to keep their musical traditions alive and pass on the legacy of the Celts to the wider community. Throughout generations, fiddling and stepdancing have had a strong presence in the Ottawa Valley. Celtic music has continued to thrive in kitchens, pubs, and churches, Brian O’Connell explains. “In the early to mid 90s, there was a revival of Celtic music, such as Riverdance. We felt with all the local talent in the area, we could put together an event that would promote local musical talent and a weekend to reflect on the Celtic heritage.