Michigan Irish Music Festival Expands Festival Grounds, Cultural Offerings for 2016 Festival

The Michigan Irish Music Festival is ramping up to bring Irish culture to the lakeshore for its 17th year. This West Michigan favorite takes place at Heritage Landing and runs from Thursday, September 15 through Sunday the 18th. This year, the festival is featuring more cultural events than ever before, including sessions on How to Speak Gaelic, Celtic Art History, Understanding the Book of Kells, The 1916 Easter Uprising, and much more. Additionally, the festival grounds have expanded to include the Galway Stage and  Dingle Peninsula. All in all, there’s plenty of new experiences to find at the festival this year.

Celtic Canines On Sunday only, come meet the dog breeds that originated from the Emerald Isle! If you’ve ever considered owning one of these Irish breeds, you’ll have the opportunity to talk with breed owners and educate yourself on whether the breed is right for you. Owners also will give a brief informative talk about their dog, from its characteristics to what the breed was originally intended to do. You’ll find it at the Dingle Peninsula.

The Tavern Looking for some craft beer from one of your favorite West Michigan breweries? Stop by the Tavern, featuring a selection of brews from Muskegon’s own Unruly Brewing Co. and Pigeon Hill Brewing Co., Whitehall’s Fetch Brewing Co., and Perrin Brewing Co. from nearby Comstock Park.

Galway Stage Previously known as the “Dance Stage,” this area is home to the Feis competition’s Parade of Champions on Saturday at 6pm. You’ll also find several other events on this stage throughout the weekend, such as Dave Curley Sessions, Celtic Beard Bout, the Mona Shores Fiddlers, and more!

Dingle Peninsula Located to the left of the main gate behind the ticket booth, you’ll find the brand new Dingle Peninsula. It’s home to the Celtic Highland Games on Saturday and Celtic Canines on Sunday.

How to Speak Gaelic Have a great time learning and speaking the Irish language.

Celtic Art History Muskegon Community College art instructor Tim Norris uses visual samples and shares his studied understanding of Irish art and history, unlocking the meaning and symbols behind these beautiful images of Ireland.   

Understanding the Book of Kells Join Muskegon Community College professor Mike Johnson in a discussion of the intersection of Celtic Art and Mythology, with an emphasis on the iconography of the Book of Kells, primarily the imagery of the serpent, the salmon, and the Tete Coupee, or disembodied head.

The 1916 Easter Uprising Presented by joHn Kennedy [sic], join in for songs, recitations, and reflections commemorating the 1916 Easter Uprising in the intimate space of the newly named Blarney Stage. In word and song, joHn will perform works of his own, of Yeats, and others that relate to the Uprising and Ireland’s long history of struggles.

Ward Music Archives This year’s exhibit is taken from more than 140 postcards in the Bob Burke Postcard Collection at the Archives that show the great amount of destruction in Dublin during and after the 1916 Easter Uprising, featuring some of the leaders of the rebellion and soldiers from both sides.

Dave Curley Sessions Dave Curley of Slide is hosting a series of interactive workshops including an overview of some of Ireland’s social and group dances, a percussion demonstration covering basic technique and rhythm styles in Irish Music (bring your drums!), and an introduction to the Irish traditional music and instruments featuring Diana Ladio (Moxie Strings) and Liam Ladewski (Kennedy’s Kitchen).

Lumbertown Beard Bout A family-friendly beard and mustache competition celebrating facial hair of all shapes and sizes, along with the cultural significance of beards in Ireland.

Michigan Irish Music Festival tickets and passes can be purchased online in advance. Buying online saves patrons $5 per ticket off the gate price, so order yours today. The festival also  offers an Early-In Free promotion on Friday only from 5pm to 6pm, sponsored by Family Financial Credit Union. Other major sponsors of the festival include Mercy Health, G&L, Waddell & Reed, and Budweiser. The Holiday Inn Muskegon-Harbor and Shoreline Inn are the host hotels for the festival. For more information, visit the festival website at

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