Victorian Piping Assoication

Pipers from the Victorian Pipers Association will delve into four seminal works, performing a sample of the most moving pieces you’ll hear.

The Golden Age of Piping

Piobaireachd - Gaelic for piping and sometimes called the ‘Classical Music’ of the Great Highland Bagpipe. 

This program explores Piobaireachd composed by the legendary MacCrimmon family of Skye. Spanning 300 years they were the hereditary pipers to the MacLeods of Dunvegan, composing some of the most beautiful and emotive music for bagpipes ever conceived, giving rise to a Golden Age of Piping. Their tradition developed the instrument like never before and lifted it to portray haunting themes and complex variations as they sought a vehicle for the expression of their tribulations and joys, sorrow and anguish.

National Celtic Festival Piping Challenge

Recognising the influence of legendary Scottish piper Gordon Duncan, we’ve invited 4 of Australia’s premier solo pipers to compete in a 15 minute piping challenge playing tunes written by Gordon, to win the 2018 National Celtic Festival Piping Challenge. Fingers flying, music flowing, this is Australia’s piping at its best

Melbourne Comhaltas

Melbourne Comhaltas is a vibrant, welcoming group of expats and locals who, as an organisation, have spent nearly 50yrs spreading and celebrating Irish culture through music and dance. Their shows are sure to delight and get audiences keen to give Irish ceili dancing a go. Our performances will showcase some of the groups' favourite songs and dances, and workshops will get anyone up and playing or singing- no matter their age or skill level.

St Joseph's College Celtic Group

St Joseph’s College Celtic band began as a small trio of teacher and students having a casual session at lunchtimes. Over the past 4 years, the group has welcomed many new members from different year levels and teaching faculties who love to play music together. Taking their inspiration from the Irish and Scottish traditions, bringing tunes learned at sessions and fiddle camps throughout the year, these musicians love to play their jigs and reels for all who care to listen! 

Ryan O'Shea Irish Dancers

These Dancers come from many regions of Victoria, and perform regularly at all types of events, from local charitable functions to larger corporate events, Nursing Homes and Aged Care facilities.  Many are experienced International Dancers, having presented their Irish Culture throughout Europe and Asia.   Their Teacher, Geraldine Ryan, is a well-known authority on Irish Dancing and is recognised as the senior, longest active Registered Teacher in the world. 

They are well-known at many Folk/Celtic Festivals for their lively and entertaining performances .  The tiny tots are always a delight, and are the professionals of tomorrow.

Geelong Scottish Dance

Geelong Scottish Dance has been a proud supporter and participant of the National Celtic Festival for many years.  Dancers will entertain you with traditional dance and part-traditional with an upbeat tempo.  The performance displays various skill levels by children and young adults.

Cathy's Celtic Dance

Cathie's Celtic Dance is an energetic group of dancers from Albury-Wodonga and Beechworth. Opening in 2005 with a few students, Cathie's Celtic Dance has grown into a large group of performers of all ages that regularly perform throughout Victoria and New South Wales. The group performs to both traditional and modern music, with both traditional and original choreography which includes, soft shoe, hard shoe, Ceili and group dances.

Rich Davies & the Low Road

Rich Davies & the Low Road


With a poet's heart and rocker's soul, Rich Davies & The Low Road deliver a 'foot-stomping contemporary folk attack' (Mick Thomas). Hailed as 'The Pogues meets Springsteen', and having spent most of the last 18 months wowing audiences across Australia, the award winning songwriter and his formidable band are renowned for their rousing live show, as they peel back the skin of rock’n’roll to expose bones of folk and roots.

Think Springsteen meets the Pogues, glorious and visceral folk music
— Post To Wire

Damien Leith

Damien Leith

“The rousing renditions of traditional Irish songs were a highlight...” Anna Vlach, The Adelaide Advertiser

... a polished and personable performance from an artist who has ridden his luck with great skill and now is deservedly rolling in four-leaf clover.” Matt Byrne, Sunday Mail




Glasgow’s Paul McKenna has travelled the world as a musician for over a decade; collecting the stories of everyday and exceptional lives. His vibrato is immediately recognizable and when he begins to weave a tale, audiences are stilled. His bandmates (Ewan Baird, Conor Markey, Robbie Greig, Conal McDonagh) weave exceptional melodies with traditional instrumentation and their sound has carried them to no less than six major Canadian Folk Festivals in 2017.

The best folk band to have come out of Scotland in the last twenty years
— New York Times

Siobhan Owen

Siobhan Owen


The haunting vocals and soothing harp of internationally acclaimed, Welsh-born, South Australia-based Siobhan Owen will transport you to the ancient and magical lands of the Celts. Winner of the 2017 Australian Celtic Music Awards "Best Female Artist", Siobhan will sing a selection of heart-wrenching traditional laments and contemporary Celtic songs. Her repertoire includes songs in the Welsh, Irish, Scottish, Breton, Cornish and Manx languages.

Heart-wrenching traditional Celtic ballads entwined with original contemporary Celtic songs… all woven together by Siobhán’s exquisite, emotive voice.


Traditional or folk music could scarcely be considered complete without reference to the rich, extensive archive of Celtic song, which has spread with our emigrants to every corner of the world and has been passed from one generation to the next. Claddagh, a most exciting and versatile traditional folk band prides itself on its variety of styles and songs, ensuring that no two consecutive performances offer the same entertainment - great line up and special guest!

Scottish Gaelic Society of Victoria

The Scottish Gaelic Society of Victoria is a non-profit organisation consisting of members, who are keen and enthusiastic about keeping the Gaelic language alive.

The Scottish Gaelic Society of Victoria are offering two workshops - 

  • Scottish Gaelic Music Workshop

  • Scottish Gaelic Language Workshop


Saoirse (Gaelic word for freedom) are a vibrant vocal and dance group from Melbourne. Saoirse delight their audiences with their beautiful renditions of traditional Irish ballads and original works, they will join hands to offer some spirited jigs and reels to get your feet tapping.  Saoirse’s aim is to bring beautiful Celtic music to a wider audience, A Saoirse performance will delight the audience with a little bit of everything Celtic including heartfelt ballads, lively tunes and original songs.


Trouble in the Kitchen

Trouble in the Kitchen


Celebrating 20 years of playing together, Trouble in the Kitchen return with new material. Trouble in the Kitchen have earned a reputation as world class performers of traditional Irish music. They have succeeded in beautifully weaving together classic Irish traditional music with original material and a strong dose of music from the Australian-Irish tradition, and in doing so their sound has developed a distinctive, innovative twist. 

Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club

The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club takes traditional and contemporary Scottish music and adds their unique flavours, drawing also on Scandinavian, Quebecois and other influences from around the world. They regularly collaborate with some of the world’s best traditional musicians. Come and experience their charming and exhilarating shows, and feel free to jump up and dance along!

Barry James Gilson

Barry James Gilson is a Wathaurung man.

A singer, poet and storyteller. Barry specialises in bringing back the ancient words and language of his people the “ Wathaurung “.

Barry has been a lead singer in the Tanderrum ( Melbourne festival ) for the last five years ongoing .Also involved in mountain to mouth as a singer /poet 2017,2018. Working strongly towards reinstating a lost culture that has survived genocide and colonisation .Great odds he has overcome to work towards leaving a legacy of hope and survival for future generations to follow .The past  he believes is the greatest strength he has, because without it... there is no future ."



Claymore is a Celtic multi instrumental powerhouse. A highly energetic band with their own troupe of Highland Dancers. Their shows are always high energy and exciting to watch! If audience participation, great music dance and laughs are what you’re after, Claymore are the band for you at this year’s festival. Not to be missed!

Fiona Ross & Shane O'Mara



An esteemed tradition bearer in her native Scotland, Fiona Ross is flying the flag for the Scots song tradition in her adopted home of Australia. She brings knowledge & commitment to her performance, her honest singing style showcasing the richness & diversity of the tradition. Fiona joins forces with Australian guitar maestro Shane O’Mara to deliver a captivating set of traditional Scots songs with a contemporary edge.

— Una

Kildara Centre - St Brigid's Well

Melbourne’s Kildara Centre is owned and administered by the Brigidine Sisters Victorian Community and offers a varied program for adult searchers, called “Brigid’s Well,” a peaceful conference venue and a well-equipped library. Like the wells in ancient times, which provided hospitality, healing, compassion and hope to wayfarers, “Brigid’s Well” provides a similar haven for hospitality, learning, spirituality, hope and healing for all who come.


 Kildara Centre is offering three workshops on Celtic Spirituality - 

  • The Wisdom of the Celtic Peoples regarding Creation and Time

  • The Wisdom of Brigid: A Woman of Hospitality & Justice

  • The Wisdom of the Celtic Peoples regarding Law and Order and Everyday Living

Telenn Tri

Telenn Tri - string wizardry at its best! Driving rhythms combine the delicate sound of harp, punchy accordion, and infectious fiddle dance music. Featuring harp, piano accordion, Irish bouzouki, guitar and Scottish fiddle, Telenn Tri perform music from deep in the heart of Brittany, to the Scottish Highlands, giving you a true taste of what Celtic music can be, combining new compositions with traditional Scottish and Irish music.