Celtic rock band Whiskey of the Damned to perform at 5th Annual Celtic Festival

Whiskey of the Damned will perform Celtic rock music at the 2014 St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival. Contributed image

Whiskey of the Damned will perform Celtic rock music at the 2014 St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival. Contributed image

Founder Eoin McCarthy was given guitar-playing tips by Van Morrison

From Romanza St. Augustine

St. Augustine, FL – Milwaukee-based quintet Whiskey of the Damned will perform on the main stage of the 5th Annual St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival.

The three-day event is set for March 13-15 at Francis Field, 29 W. Castillo Drive, downtown St. Augustine. It’s kicked off by the Whisky Tasting event at 7 p.m. Friday, March 13.

The St. Augustine St. Patrick’s Day parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 14, part of the fun-filled weekend, immediately preceding the opening of the Celtic Festival at 11 a.m. Parade-goers can follow the parade to the festival field.

Highland games, live music and a variety of entertainment also are on the schedule.

Other internationally acclaimed Celtic bands on the main stage include Albannach, Rathkeltair, Searson, the Dublin City Ramblers, Poor Angus, Irish Echoes and Makem & Spain.


Formed by Dublin-born, Wisconsin-raised singer-guitarist-songwriter Eoin McCarthy, the group has been a live-performance favorite in pubs and halls throughout the East, South and Midwest.

McCarthy first performed in public at age six. As a 15-year-old punk rocker accompanying his musician-comedian father to a pub session in Dublin, he received guitar-playing tips from “a guy” who turned out to be Van Morrison.

McCarthy’s avocation led him through various bands until, in Milwaukee, he met up with violinist Gina Romantini, bassist Matt Schuetz, accordionist Brian Link, and drummer Andrew Weber.

Individually and collectively, the five musicians have shared the stage with the likes of The Wallflowers, Doobie Brothers, Fountains of Wayne and even the aforementioned Van Morrison.

“I farmed out one of their CDs to a ‘cross section’ test group of regulars at the pub,” said John Cunningham, Celtic Festival co-chair and owner of Ann O’Malley’s Irish Pub in downtown St. Augustine. “I received very positive feedback, and off we went.”

Cunningham is in charge of signing the bands who are headlining at the festival He gives credit to St. Augustine Amphitheatre General Manager Ryan Murphy.

“Ryan has been a pretty stellar mentor – especially with the bands that we don’t have personal experience with. He showed me some industry websites to evaluate the financial feasibility of a particular band, how well they pull in a particular setting, whether we can afford them, etc.”

Advance general admission tickets are $7, with VIP tickets for $45 that include special seating, restrooms, bar, T-shirt and other perks. Ticket prices will increase on March 1.

To purchase tickets in advance, go to celticstaugustine.com or buy them in person at Ann O’Malley’s 23 Orange St., downtown St. Augustine.

For more information about the St. Augustine Music & Heritage Festival, go tocelticstaugustine.com.


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