Boston, Massachusetts – From storytelling to step dancing, traditional Irish music to headlining international rock and folk acts, there will be something for everyone at the 2007 ICONS Festival scheduled for August 10-12 at the Irish Cultural Center of New England. Spread out over nearly 50 acres in Canton, Massachusetts, this festival will truly offer a range of activities suitable for both individuals and families.
Formerly known as the Irish Connections Festival, the event has been re-launched this year as ICONS. The event is destined to join festivals such as Glastonbury and Bonnaroo as among the best festivals on the world stage.The festival will kick-off in 2007 with music from Irish stars Dervish, Saw Doctors, Tommy Makem, and Altan as well as international recording artists The Black Crowes, Nanci Griffith and the Dropkick Murphys. But that’s not all. In addition to the music, the full experience will include author readings, sporting events, genealogy workshops, a traditional Irish Tea House and a host of activities geared towards those under the age of 12.
"From music to literature to traditional dance, the ICONS Festival has been designed to offer something for everyone," said Sean Grant, Executive Director of the Irish Cultural Centre of New England. "While the festival is grounded in Irish tradition, we are exploring the boundaries this year and bringing a more modern look to the traditional arts. We are determined to make the event a destination for all audiences."
Long the heart of the ICONS Festival, this year’s line up will surpass any seen before. Performances from the headline acts will take place in the evenings while other artists will perform during the day. From the Black Crowes, Saw Doctors, Nanci Griffith, Dervish, Dropkick Murphys to the all-female, Appalachian revivalists Uncle Earl, produced by the legendary John Paul Jones, the musical performances are designed to impress.
Other artists participating in the 2007 ICONS Festival include Altan, Cara Dillon, the Prodigals, Tommy Fleming, Liz Carroll and John Doyle, Tommy Makem, Paddy Keenan, Niamh Parsons, Mick Moloney, Jimmy Crowley will join newer arrivals like Beoga, Maeve Gilchrist, The Roches, and Antje Duvekot, whose acclaimed breakthrough album was produced by Seamus Egan of Solas. In addition, workshops, jam sessions and special pairings will generate intrigue and unpredictability.
Some highlights of the 2007 ICONS Festival will include:
• Harpapalooza, a stage featuring performances from harp orchestras and solo performers as well as a traditional Irish dancers
• Literature, an opportunity to celebrate Ireland’s rich and diverse literary tradition with several presentations by authors themselves and reading programs at the festival. Featured writers will include Peter Quinn, author of Looking for Jimmy: A Search for Irish America and Boston Globe Sport columnist Dan Shaughnessy and author of Senior Season
• Genealogy has become one of the most popular elements of the festival. The Irish Cultural Center, in conjunction with Tiara, an organization dedicated to assisting individuals in genealogical research, will provide workshops on exploring family names and the roots of one’s heritage.
• Gaelic Games. The American branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) will stage highly competitive games of Hurling and Gaelic Football played by both men and women through the weekend. Explanations and exhibitions of the origins and currency of the games will also be on display.
• An Ghaeltacht — Gaelic, the Irish language will be celebrated as one of the oldest and richest languages in the world. From spoken word to old-style singing and dancing, these celebrations will take place in an authentic replica of an Irish Thatched Cottage on the site of the Festival
• Dance — The world of traditional dance has always been an intrinsic part of Irish culture and recently has made its appearance into popular culture. Sean-nos dance, meaning "old-style" is a solo percussive dance originating from Ireland and its revival is currently sweeping Ireland and spreading to American dance communities. Traditionally performed by men, four American women from across the country — Shannon Dunne, Alicia Guinn, Kiernan Jordan and Maldon Meehan — will join the 2007 ICONS Festival to explore and present the fascinating trends and techniques of Irish sean-nos dance.
• The Marketplace, featuring the finest Irish and Irish-connected goods. From art, jewelry, clothing, antiques, pottery, books and music, The Marketplace will allow visitors to take a little piece of Ireland home with them.
• Tir na nOg, — Land of the Young. This will be the center of children’s activities in the festival. From story-telling to musical performances, educational activities, puppets, and special characters, Tir na nOg will be the ultimate destination for those under the age of 10.
The ICONS Festival takes place August 10, 11 and 12 at the Irish Cultural Center of New England, located at 200 New Boston Drive in Canton, MA. For tickets and information, visit www.iconsfestival.com.