The Northwest’s largest, most energetic and eclectic Irish music festival has returned for its 15th year on eight stages and three venues, including Galway Bay and the Convention Center in Ocean Shores.
This week the Galway Bay Celtic Music Feis, or Festival, brings back co-headliners Celtica Pipes and the Young Dubliners, among more than 30 performing acts.
The event actually began Monday with a dinner and music at the 8th Street Ale House in Hoquiam, then Tuesday eased into the first of six days and nights at the beach with five acts playing seven sessions at Galway Bay.
By the time it wraps up Sunday afternoon, acts from six states and six countries will have been on stage performing just over 200 times.
Galway Bay owner and festival founder William “Liam” Gibbons and Chris Doyle, his business partner since 2011, can readily recite the reasons for what has become a huge event: It makes enough money that Galway doesn’t have to lay off any of their loyal staff for the winter … and it fills the town, hotels and many restaurants and retailers with visitors at a time when tourism is otherwise slow. Doyle said advance ticket sales have been ahead of last year, and they expect about 2,200 total paid admissions this time, up from about 2,000 last year.
For Gibbons, the event is an annual affirmation of his belief, first realized in 2004 with five acts on a three-day weekend, that the area could support such an undertaking. Fourteen festivals later, he commented, “I always love the fact that people love what we love – Irish music and culture.”
In addition, Doyle explained that “on the operations side, I look forward to the challenge each year,” and in some ways, the success of the festival has created its biggest challenge. With four separate stages, Galway Bay is usually filled to capacity. Doyle said all-access tickets and Galway-only tickets are pretty much sold out in advance again this year, although they keep a handful to sell at the door each day.
In contrast, there is adequate, sometimes ample space at the Convention Center, which is set up with a big main room and three smaller stages, and offers about 70 performing sessions and 18 workshops, running Thursday afternoon through Sunday. That venue will also host a vendor village and a rotating menu of classic Irish food and drink.
There are a variety of ticket packages available, ranging from $5 for Sunday only at the Convention Center to “Festival VIP Platinum All Access Tuesday – Sunday” for $175. Gibbons and Doyle agree that, for those who want to take in a lot of music, the best value is the $70 Convention Center only pass, good Thursday through Sunday, when all but two of the artists will be playing.
The main stage there is set up to accommodate two or more bands, which creates opportunities for musical interaction. There are nine “battle of the bands” sessions and nine jam sessions, most with two or more artists. Co-headliners Celtica Pipes and the Young Dubliners each play three times at the Convention Center.
Bands scheduled to appear include: Crooked Jacks, Oliver Mulholland and That Irish Guy, all from Ireland; Celtica Pipes, from Scotland and Austria; O’Jizo, from Japan; Blackthorn and Whiskey Dicks, from Canada, the Young Dubliners and Molly’s Revenge, from California; James McCarthy, from Hawaii; Tallymoore, from Wisconsin; The Commoners, from Colorado; MAC, from Washington, Oregon and Scotland; Biddy on the Bench, Coming Up Threes, Cul an Ti’, Peter Daldry, and St. James Gate, all from Oregon, and Stefan Germer, The Bold Doherty, Burren Band, Curlew’s Call, Kimberly Goetz, Sean Williams, Carter Junction, Hank Cramer, Harmony Ridge, Ockham’s Razor, Stark Raving Plaid, Travis Nelson, and the Seattle Irish Dancers, all from Washington.
More information is available online at www.celticmusicfeis.com.
20: “Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Fund-raiser” to benefit the Garden by the Sea on Oct. 20 from 4-7 p.m. at the VFW Hall in Ocean Shores. The funds raised will benefit the community not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2009. The evening will feature 10 premium wines from vineyards in California, Washington,and Australia. Guests will receive two complimentary glasses of wine, appetizers to complement the wine, and have a chance to bid on over 50 different silent auction items. Tickets are $20 each. Limited space is available. Guests must be 21 to attend. Tickets available at Mermaid Cove and Gallery at 739 Point Brown Ave. Suite 2; or make a donation to: GBTS- P.O. Box 721, Ocean Shores, WA 98569. For more information, contact Karen Young at (425) 255-4025 or online:www.gardenbytheseaoceanshores.org.
26: Halloween Gala. Ocean Shores/North Beach Chamber of Commerce is presenting a Halloween Gala on Friday Oct. 26 at the Shilo Inn Ballroom. Doors open at 6 p.m. Hors D’oeuvres, cash bar, live and silent auction, live music by Raucous, and a costume contest with $1,000 in prize money. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the Chamber office, 114 E Chance a la Mer, Unit 100, by calling (360) 289-2451 or at the door.
31: Ocean Shores Fire Department hosts the biggest Halloween party for kids on the North Beach at the Ocean Shores Convention Center from 6-8 p.m.
3: North Beach PAWS annual Dinner & Auction will be Saturday, Nov. 3, starting at 4:30 p.m. at the Ocean Shores Convention Center. Tickets are $35 and are available at: Kool Katz & Dawgs; Valdez & Sage; My Favorite Shop Dolores’ & Fay’s; North Beach Printing; the Convention Center. Buffet by George Lee (pre-order vegetarian entrees); Auctioneer: Eric Bjella. Contact Sharon Dahlbeck at (360) 589-2570 to donate new items and services.
3-4: Run From the Rain Indoor Kite Fly in Ocean Shores, sponsored by Ocean Shores Kites( oceanshoreskites.com). Call (360) 289-4103 for more information.
23-25: Winter Fanta-Sea pre-Christmas festival of holiday gifts and vendors, Ocean Shores Convention Center, (360) 289-9586