BCMFest was born after Laura Cortese (Scottish fiddle) and Shannon Heaton (Irish flute) realized that they had been seeing a lot of great, traditional Celtic music acts playing in 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.
As BCMFest enters its tenth year, the festival is stronger than ever, and its vision is more refined. 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.