This was my first time playing at the festival. Jim has played there for 4 years with his other band Skuttlebutt.
The festival is held at the Altamont Fairgrounds in upstate New York outside of Albany and it is probably the largest Irish music festival in the country. Needless to say, it was packed. There were 4 stages and 24 musical acts.
This yearís acts included Leahy, Cherish the Ladies, Seven Nations, Enter the Haggis, Seisun, Young Dubliners, Tommy Makem, Fenians, The McKrells, Hair of the Dog, Peelers, Rathkeltair, Kevin McKrell, Dublin Trainwreck, Skuttlebutt, Old Blind Dogs, Irish Descendants, Teada, Frank Jaklitsch, Steve Gray, Barrett and Byrne and of course, us.
Jim, in usual fashion, ran around with his camera (and ears!) to other acts at the festival in-between his performances with our group and Skuttlebutt. Shannon Dancy and I also got a hold of the camera for awhile, so you will see some photos that we took. None of us were able to get to all of the acts at the festival, having been transfixed at some of the performance tents by the music (as well as eating, jaw-boning with the other musicians, warming up and getting lost in a sea of green tee-shirts).
We had expected to spend more time with the out-of-town acts because we donít get to see them as often as our local performers, but Jim and I both got transfixed by Kevin McKrellís solo performance and sat through his entire act. I hadnít heard him by himself before and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. He had a full audience of hundreds (perhaps a thousand) people and many were singing along to his originals. This is definitely a different show than he does with his band. For one thing, his vocal style is a little deeper (using more of a chest voice) and he includes songs that challenge his range. It all works. 2 songs that I thought were particularly stunning were his versions of Kilkelly Ireland and Danny Boy.