The 20th annual Celtic Music Feis is coming to a glorious close

With the lights out, the stages empty and on the road again, the 20th annual Celtic Music Feis in Ocean Shores has come to an end.

Celebrating the breadth and breadth of Celtic music, the Feis was another successful iteration, said Liam Gibbons, co-owner of Galway Bay Irish Pub and one of the event’s founders.

“It tickles my heart, it really does,” Gibbons said. “I never knew this thing would grow the way it did.

Michael S. Lockett / The Daily World Rory Makem, the famous Irish singer, will perform in Galway Bay on October 21.

Michael S. Lockett / The Daily World Rory Makem, the famous Irish singer, will perform in Galway Bay on October 21.

Acclaimed artists, new and returning, took to the stage, singing everything from quiet haunting ballads hundreds of years old to newer, more poignant songs born out of the bloody struggle for independence from English rule.

“It went very well. Everything was good,” Gibbons said. “I think we were. We were headed for the highest ticket sales we’ve ever had.”

Acts such as Irish music great Rory Makem, making his first feis appearance, filled their audience as guests came to listen, while others such as crowd favorites Whiskeydicks and Coming Up Threes got them out of their seats with a battle of their own. band-style throw-ins or collaborative sets.

Whiskydicks and Coming up Threes perform together for the upcoming Celtic Music Feis.  (Michael S. Lockett/The Daily World)

Whiskydicks and Coming up Threes perform together for the upcoming Celtic Music Feis. (Michael S. Lockett/The Daily World)

“Rory Makes, a lot of people loved him,” Gibbons said. “Kathryn Rose, she has a beautiful voice. People really liked her.”

The good atmosphere and good company make the feis fun for the performers as well, said Chelsea Joy, piper of the Celtic Pipes.

“One of the reasons we like coming back is because we have a lot of friends in other bands,” Joy said in an interview after Saturday’s set. “It’s like a family reunion.

Dancers from the Seattle Irish Dance Company perform live music on Oct. 21 in Galway Bay.  (Michael S. Lockett/The Daily World)

Dancers from the Seattle Irish Dance Company perform live music on Oct. 21 in Galway Bay. (Michael S. Lockett/The Daily World)

Bouncing from stage to stage between the bar and the Ocean Shores Convention Center can be challenging, Joy said.

“The hardest part is setting up and taking down our equipment between each set,” Joy said. “But they take good care of us in return.

Celtica Pipes, who have played the feis before, most recently in 2021, are a popular multi-song act where they play bagpipe versions of popular themes or songs.

“People know them,” Joy said. “And people want to hear things they know.

Sean Daly of Sean Daly and the Shams will perform at the Galway Bay Irish Pub on October 21st.  (Michael S. Lockett/The Daily World)

Sean Daly of Sean Daly and the Shams will perform at the Galway Bay Irish Pub on October 21st. (Michael S. Lockett/The Daily World)

Many bands will return for another, albeit smaller, festival in Galway in a few months, as the bar hosts the ABC3 — Appalachian, Bluegrass, Country, Cowboy and Calgary festival in February. 1-4. A feis is also planned for next year, which is timed to avoid the influx of clams.

“Quite a few bands that have been there can do Appalachian stuff,” Gibbons said. “That’s the week off of the Super Bowl. We plan everything accordingly.”

Contact senior reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mllockett@thedailyworld.com.

Dancers from the Seattle Irish Dance Company perform as Sean Daly and the Shams play during the Celtic Music Feis on Oct. 21 (Michael S. Lockett / The Daily World)

Dancers from the Seattle Irish Dance Company perform as Sean Daly and the Shams play during the Celtic Music Feis on Oct. 21. (Michael S. Lockett / The Daily World)

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