Boston's Celtic Music Festival
BCMFest 2017: A Celebration of Community
Festival takes place for 14th year on weekend of January 13-14
BCMFest (Boston’s Celtic Music Fest), an annual showcase for the Greater Boston area’s rich trove of Celtic music and dance, will come to Harvard Square January 13-14 for another weekend of performance and hands-on events.
This family-friendly festival draws performers of all ages from around Greater Boston, presenting music, song and dance from Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton and other Celtic-related traditions. Events are held in Harvard Square’s Club Passim (47 Palmer Street) and also nearby at First Church, Cambridge (3 Church Street) and The Atrium (50 Church Street).
Performances begin with the Friday night Roots & Branches Concert in Club Passim, then continue on Saturday – starting with children’s and family entertainment in the morning – at Club Passim and on three different stages in First Church, Cambridge. BCMFest also features a number of participatory events, including the Boston Urban Ceilidh – BCMFest’s popular Celtic dance party – which takes place on opening night in The Atrium.
The festival winds up on Saturday evening with the BCMFest Nightcap finale concert in First Church, Cambridge.
BCMFest is a program of Passim, a Cambridge-based non-profit seeking to build a vibrant music community through its legendary listening venue, music school, artist grants and outreach initiatives.
At press time, performers confirmed to appear at BCMFest 2017 include: Yann Falquet; Katie McNally & Neil Pearlman; Laura Fedderson, Joel Wennerstrom & Owen Marshall; All in Always – Laura Cortese & Friends; Heather Cole-Mullen; Jenna Moynihan; the Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki Trio; Scottish Fish; Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley with Eric McDonald; Galen Fraser; Keltic Kids; the Rockport Celtic Duo; Liz & Dan Faiella; Elizabeth & Ben Anderson; Mink & Sock; Gus Le Casse; Boston Scottish Fiddle Orchestra; Colleen White & Sean Smith; Royal Scottish Country Dance Society of Boston; Christine Hedden; Big Ham & Shadow Hands (Lindsay Straw and Dan Accardi); Rachel Reeds & Friends; Buttons & Keys; Bagad New York, with Matthew Phelps and Nick Mitchell; and the Boston Harbor Bhoys.
The Saturday evening BCMFest Nightcap concert will celebrate the special, mutually nourishing relationship between Celtic music and its host community – a theme that animates the 2017 festival, according to BCMFest co-founder and co-organizer Shannon Heaton.
“Throughout BCMFest’s history, dominant themes seem to emerge each year,” explains Heaton, who will perform “Irish Music Stories” – a multimedia show combining live music, narration and images of Irish musicians and community – at the BCMFest Nightcap concert. “This year, the BCMFest Committee saw numerous acts with a particularly strong appreciation and understanding of Celtic traditions. Even the newer fusion-type acts have that solid 'trad' foundation. Given how many younger performers will be featured this year, it shows how our local community has taken the tradition into its heart and home.
“So the theme for BCMFest 2017 is ‘Tradition and Renewal: Looking Back and Moving Forward,’ which will be expressed in the Nightcap concert,” she adds. “Traditional music energizes so many of us. And this process of connection to the tradition by performers and listeners alike revitalizes the tradition.”
A look at some highlights of BCMFest 2017:
*Friday night's “Roots and Branches” concert at Club Passim offers a sample of the innovative, dynamic sounds to be heard in Boston’s Celtic music community today. This year’s performers are: Yann Falquet, a guitarist and singer known for his work with Quebecois trio Genticorum; Irish-style fiddler, accordionist and vocalist Heather Cole-Mullen, among the fine young local musicians who have come of age in the past decade; and the Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki Trio, with its fresh, lively New England take on Irish traditional music.
*The Boston Urban Ceilidh features social dances from Celtic traditions, all with live music. No experience is necessary – all dances will be taught.
*BCMFest's Saturday "Dayfest" begins in the morning at Club Passim with songs, storytelling and other entertainment geared toward children and families.
*"Dayfest" also includes participatory events in The Attic of First Church, such as Irish and Scottish music sessions and instruction in Scottish country dance.
*BCMFest is noted for its special collaborations and workshops, in which performers often unite around a particular theme or focus.
*As a bonus, the BCMFest Academy will offer classes taught by festival performers on Saturday afternoon in Passim’s main offices (126 Church Street).
Ticket information, performer updates and other details about the festival will be available at passim.org/bcmfest.
Important Dates for Purchasing Passes and Tickets:
Wednesday, November 9th Member Earlybird All Festival Passes On Sale
Wednesday, November 16th GA Earlybird Passes On Sale
Thursday, December 1 Regular All Festival Pass and Individual Events On Sale
BCMFest (Boston’s Celtic Music Fest), a program of Passim, showcases Greater Boston’s best musicians, singers, and dancers from Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, and other Celtic traditions. BCMFest hosts an annual weekend-long festival in January that features more than 100 performers.
Laura Cortese, Shannon Heaton, Leanne McNally, and Sean Smith head the BCMFest committee. Please contact them with any questions about the festival.
Very special thanks to all who came out to support this year's Second Annual Summer BCMFest! It was an amazing, high energy day in Harvard Square and a delightful evening. We want to particularly thank the BCMFest Committee, Mass Cultural Council, the artists, volunteers, and patrons for coming out.
BCMFest was born after Laura Cortese (Scottish fiddle) and Shannon Heaton (Irish flute) realized that recently they had seen many great, traditional Celtic music acts playing it the area; they thought it would be exciting if more of the Boston-area trad players worked with local folk music venues like Club Passim, the Burren, Johnny D’s, and the Canadian American Club. Soon after their talk, Laura and Shannon began planning a weekend-long showcase of local traditional talent—a Boston Celtic Music Fest to celebrate the rich, diverse pool of traditional music and dance in the Boston area.
The festival has become a hub for generating ideas, energy, and community support for local, traditional Celtic music and dance performers. In 2011, BCMFest became an official program of Passim. Today, in addition to the annual festival in January, audiences and artists can enjoy monthly concerts at Club Passim that feature a broad selection of Boston-based Celtic music and dance acts.
Our committee and artists are out to make this year's BCMFest stronger than ever, with a renewed vision for the future. By presenting touring professionals, tradition-bearers, and young performers, the festival offers a variety of music not found anywhere else. The list of performers and fans involved in the festival continues to grow, a sign that BCMFest is a vital addition to the Boston music community.