Visitors to the Southern Downs for CelticFest on Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October will find there are a wealth of additional Celtic-themed activities on offer in the region from Friday 29 September to Monday 2 October, as part of CelticFringe.
CelticFest is the ticketed event held at the Warwick Showgrounds; it is a community event run by volunteers. CelticFringe is a series of events that are separately organised and ticketed (where applicable) and held at a variety of venues in Warwick and surrounds.
A CelticFringe highlight will be the Inaugural Australian Juvenile Pipe Band Championships and the prestigious biennial Australian Solo Championships, both hosted by SCOTS PGC College, which will be held on Friday 29 September and Saturday 30 September. Pipers, drummers and school-based bands will travel from around Australia to Warwick for these events, which will culminate in a stirring massed bands performance on Saturday at around 4pm.
Other CelticFringe events on Friday 29 September include a feature-length performance by the beautiful Australian Celtic Women at Club Warwick RSL, a Downs Explorer return heritage train trip to Clifton, including dinner at a Clifton hotel, and day-time tours of historic buildings Glengallan Homestead and Abbey Boutique Hotel – there’s an evening paranormal tour of Glengallan Homestead as well!
For those who want to limber up for a full day at CelticFest on Saturday, Warwick parkrun will hold a Celtic-themed run at its 5km course on the banks of the Condamine River, starting at 7am on Saturday 30 September. Runners are encouraged to wear some tartan or Irish green – perhaps even don a kilt! A 100m kilted dash will be held as a warm-up before the main event.
To get into the vibe of CelticFest, workshops are on offer on Saturday, including a Celtic Art Workshop hosted by the Warwick Artist Group at The Art Hub, from 10.30am-12.30pm. A limited number of places are available for this two-hour workshop, in which participants can create their own unique Celtic art piece as a memento of their CelticFest weekend. Cost is $40 with materials and guidance provided. Bookings to firstname.lastname@example.org or Sue on 0402 460 919.
At Club Warwick RSL, CelticFest visitors can also learn about the mechanics of playing a music instrument, with singer and musician Amie Brûlée showing participants how subtle changes in the way you hold an instrument and move your body can make playing notes or singing a lot easier, in a free workshop between 10.30am-11.15am on Saturday. Why not make a morning of it at Club Warwick RSL? Follow up with a free beginner Gaelic workshop, hosted by talented musician, singer and lover of Gaelic, Lorna Warner on Saturday between 11.30am-12.15. Pick up some basic Gaelic phrases and learn some simple Gaelic songs! Round off your visit to Club Warwick RSL with coffee and cake, or lunch, in the Club’s café.
Take in Celtic buskers on Saturday morning in the Warwick CBD, while you grab a coffee, morning tea or lunch, or as you stroll around the shopping precinct! Wes McGuiness and Dublin Dan will perform between 9.30am-12noon, outside popular Warwick cafes The Cherry Tree and The Little Gallery, respectively.
If it’s a guided historic town walk you’re after, meet World Champion Caller Bob the Bellman of Renown, Town Crier for the Southern Downs, outside the Warwick Town Hall at 10.20 on Saturday; he’ll share stories that often the locals haven’t even heard, with Haggis the Piper along for a stroll as well – ask him for your favourite bagpipe tune!
Glengallan Homestead and Abbey Boutique Hotel will run tours again on Saturday, and the Warwick Masonic Centre will also open between 9.30am-12noon, providing a rare opportunity to see inside what is considered to be one of the finest Masonic Centres in Queensland.
Alternatively, make your way to the Dairy Lounge between 12pm-2pm on Saturday 30 September for Lunch with Lyrics with Auld Alliance – get yourself warmed up to join in the Celtic celebrations ahead of gates opening at CelticFest at the Warwick Showgrounds at 2pm.
For those who fancy a train trip, the Downs Explorer will run a return daytime heritage train trip to Clifton from 10.30am-3.30pm, with optional lunch. Experience our beautiful Darling Downs’ countryside, wooden railway bridges, rock cuttings, villages and townships; enjoy lunch and then pop over to the highly recommended Clifton Museum before returning to Warwick.
Then on Sunday, you can also unwind and mellow out after gates close at CelticFest at 4pm, with Auld Allliance at the Dairy Lounge again, playing in a Tapas and Tunes event between 5pm-8pm.
But your CelticFest weekend is not over even then! On Monday 2 October, last year’s runaway success, the Celtic Line Dancing Workshop, returns to CelticFringe at Club Warwick RSL, from 9.30am-12pm. Modern line dancing embraces the Celtic spirit in this fun and free workshop, with dances choreographed to Celtic tunes. Enquiries to Jenny on 0437 009 906. And after you’ve worked up an appetite from dancing, stay at Club Warwick RSL for lunch!
Or what better way to finish off your CelticFest weekend than to immerse yourself in a gentle yoga class on the lawn at Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park and Café? Deep in the heart of Southern Downs Celtic country at Killarney, Warwick yogi Jes Kerle will take you through this hour-long class from 10am-11am, which is open to all levels of experience from beginners to beyond.
CelticFest is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
CelticFest received funding from SDRC’s Community Grants funding and the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), a partnership between the Queensland Government and Southern Downs Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.
For more information about CelticFest and CelticFringe, please visit the CelticFest website at www.celticfestqld.com.au and www.celticfestqld.com.au/cletic-community-fri-sun, and follow CelticFest on Facebook and Instagram.