Tattoo puts new mark on ‘Celtic’
A TRADITIONAL ‘tattoo’ will be the highlight of this year’s Beechworth Celtic Festival which opens in the town on November 10.
The annual event has traditionally drawn thousands of visitors and has been reworked in recent years.
The tattoo is a signal of a fresh approach in which seven pipe bands will perform a 90-minute spectacular within the walls of Old Beechworth Gaol at the end of Remembrance Day – November 11.
The Scots School Albury pipe band will be among them, returned from its recent northern summer success at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
“We’re bringing together some of the best community musicians and dancers in Victoria and New South Wales for the festival’s inaugural ‘Old Gaol Tattoo’,” said producer Chris Earl.
The Bendigo event presenter said the tattoo would include a poignant finale recalling the 99th anniversary of the end of the Great War 1914-18 and remembering those who had been or remained in the defence services.
Remembrance Day will be commemorated at the Beechworth cenotaph in Town Hall Gardens on November 11.
Later the same day, inside the old gaol, a dramatic play – ‘Barry verses Kelly’ – will coincide with the 137th anniversary of the execution of colonial police murderer, outlaw and bushranger Ned Kelly.
The festival will also include the usual highland dancing competition and Irish dancing on the stage in the gaol courtyard.
There will be contemporary Celtic music performances by Claymore, Likely Celts, Bhantre, Platform 9¾, Ceilidh Rogues, Eddie Lewis and Saorirse.
Festival chairman Roger Humphris said the fresh format for this year’s festival offered a new opportunity for local people to experience top contemporary Celtic groups, and celebrate the outstanding talent within the region.
“Today’s Celtic performers offer a diverse range of entertainment, from traditional folk to an eclectic contemporary offering of music,” he said.
Committee member John Costello said the event honoured the cultural traditions of Irish and Scottish people who settled the North East.
It grew from an idea of John Harvey’s in the 1990s.
Mr Costello said the Rotary market would again be held in Queen Victoria Park, north of the old gaol, where pipe bands perform ‘Scots on the Rock’, but there will otherwise be no open air street performances as in the past.
The festival starts with a traditional dinner at Old Priory on November 10.
Tickets are limited and early online booking at www.beechworthcelticfestival.com is encouraged.