Tuning into Irish Fest
Celtic World Showcase spotlights music from six nations

August 18, 2016


More than 100 acts on 17 stages are among the highlights at Milwaukee Irish Fest on the Henry W. Maier Festival Grounds on Milwaukee’s lakefront.
Submitted photo

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Irish Fest spotlights food, culture, sport, canines and more.

But you overlook the music at your own entertainment peril. It’s hard to overlook 100 entertainment acts on 17 stages over four days.

Whether it’s traditional Gaelic songs or Irish rock, serene or energetic, the music will weave its charm on Irish and otherwise alike at the lakefront through Sunday.

This year, the emphasis is on heritage through the Celtic World Showcase.

The festival features acts from six Celtic nations. Some will perform in their native languages, including Welsh and Irish Gaelic.

Musical groups include Dardanelles from Newfoundland, Canada; Dallahan, whose members met in Edinburgh; Celtic Fiddle Festival, which represents the three main branches of Celtic culture; and the Wrigley Sisters, a fiddle and guitar duo from the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

The lineup includes festival favorites Gaelic Storm, We Banjo 3, Red Hot Chilli Pipers and High Kings.

The festival described emerging acts that are coming back as Ten Strings and a Goat Skin and Socks in the Frying Pan. They qualify for some of the more quirky names.

Milwaukee Irish Fest will have 11 new acts this year. They include international talents Barrule, known for its traditional Manx music from the Isle of Man; the five young Celtic roots musicians of Calan; the four-member JigJam from County Offaly and County Tipperary; and De Barra, a third-generation band that plays traditional music.

Special shows for this year include:

-Solas - All These Years 20th Anniversary Tour: on the Aer Lingus stage at 7:30 p.m. today, 8:30 p.m. Friday, 3:15 p.m. Saturday and 3:15 p.m. Sunday. Gaelic for “light,” the American Celtic band has created 11 albums.

-Moy Brennan - Known as “the first lady of Celtic music,” she will sing with De Barra on the Celtic Roots stage at 4:30 p.m. Friday, 8:15 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. She is on the Coors Light stage at 5 p.m. Saturday.

-Trinity Irish Dance Company - The dancers will perform at 4:30 p.m Friday at Aer Lingus and 6:30 p.m. on the Children’s Stage, 3:15 p.m. Saturday on the Coors Light stage and 6:15 p.m. Saturday in the Crossroads Area.


General admission - $20

Senior (60 and older) - $15

Thursday (13 and older) - $5

Children (12 and younger) - Free


Today - Free admission with a donation of school supplies for Hope House.

Two-day pass - $25 (Saturday and Sunday, available online only,

Half Price Friday - $10.

Arthritis Foundation Run/Walk to Milwaukee Irish Fest - Register for the run and walk to Milwaukee Irish Fest and receive free admission before 3 p.m. Saturday.

College Day - College students receive $3 off admission with a student ID between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday.

Military Day - Free admission for active, reserve, retired and guard military personnel plus one guest, with valid military ID on Sunday.

Fests Feeds Milwaukee - Donate a nonperishable food item by 11 a.m. Sunday and receive free admission.

Festival hours  

Today - 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday - 4 p.m. to midnight

Saturday - noon to midnight

Sunday - 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.