In its 5th year, The Annapolis Irish Festival continues to grow and surprise. A few years back, festival producer, Eddie McGowan decided to do a short set on Friday night as a warm-up to the main event. That short set turned into a full-on mini-fest last year that saw about 3,000 people come out to the fairgrounds on a Friday evening.
Not this year. Near perfect weather and a stellar lineup brought a crowd estimated to be close to 7,000 out for a night full of music and fun. The Gothard Sisters, Scythian, Albannach, The Kilmaine Saints, Seamus Kennedy, Gaelic Storm and more thrilled the crowd on three stages.
Dozens of food vendors doted the fairgrounds as well as dozens more merchandise vendors. The beer was flowing, the bass was thumping, and people were up on their feet dancing.
My personal highlights– The Gothard Sisters are always a treat to hear, Sycthian and Gaelic Storm always bring the party out of the audience, Albannach’s drum beats let you know they have arrived; but musically, the best was Ray Scott. Wait? A country singer? Yes. Keeping people on their toes is what the Irish Fest is about and Scott and his band came on stage for two songs to pay tribute to our military who were offered free admission tonight. Scott’s performance was followed up by a fiddle “orchestra” from Scythian, The Gothard Sisters, and Gaelic Storm who played God Bless America. Food wise, there is a barbecue truck from North Carolina and …let’s just say OMG. It is blue and white and adjacent to the main stage.
The sponsors of the Festival include Budweiser, Katcef Brothers, Homestead Gardens, The Greene Turtle, Fado Irish Pub, Galway Bay, and WRNR 103.1.
The festival continues tomorrow morning and the gates open at 11:00am; 10:30 for advance purchase ticket holders. Tickets are $25 and available at the gate. Parking at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds is free. Children 12 and under are free.