St. Augustine’s Celtic heritage celebrated at annual festival

Celtic Fest2015
Three-day event set for March 13-15 at Francis Field 
St. Augustine, FL – International bands, Highland games, Scottish and Irish Clans, Celtic artisans and food, a Whisky Tasting and Northeast Florida’s ONLY St. Patrick’s Day Parade will bring CELTIC to town!

The 5th Annual St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival is set for March 13-15 at Francis Field, 29 W. Castillo Drive, downtown St. Augustine.

Why was the Celtic Festival started in the Ancient City?

“Over half the population of St. Augustine has at least one Irish, Scottish, Welsh, or other Celtic ancestor,” said Albert Syeles, president of Romanza St. Augustine, the organization that has presented the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival since 2011.

“But most remarkably, the colonists and soldiers who founded St. Augustine in 1565 came from Celtic, northern Spain. We were founded by Celts. Spanish Celts!”


The event kicks off with the Whisky Tasting, an event that begins at 7 p.m. Friday, March 13 in the Second Stage Tent on Francis Field. Tickets are $45 per person and include five tastings.

Raise your glass and delve into the correct way to taste whisky. Learn the background about each sample – facts and history about the different regions where the whiskies are made. Go to and click on Whisky Tasting to make reservations for the tasting.


The St. Augustine St. Patrick’s Day parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 14 at Francis Field and travels down Orange Street to Avenida Menendez (the bayfront), then to Cathedral Place, next on Cordova Street, then back to Orange Street.

Lads and lasses from throughout Georgia and Florida, Savannah to Sarasota and beyond converge upon the Ancient City each year, donning their best GREENS! Parade-goers are asked to arrive early to find parking and claim a spot along the parade route, then follow the parade to the Celtic Festival!


Internationally acclaimed Celtic bands will perform on the main stage March 13-14 at Francis Field. The groups include Albannach, Rathkeltair, Searson, the Dublin City Ramblers, Makem & Spain, Poor Angus, Whiskey of the Damned and Irish Echoes.

This mix of bands brings together the best of Celtic music. Fans will hear Irish folk music, Celtic rock, see Irish dancing, and hear the bagpipes, fiddle, Irish flute, whistle, bodhran, tambourine, mandolin and many other instruments.

“The different styles and genres that are represented by artists from Galicia, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, and the United States are as varied as the miles between all those different places,” said John Cunningham, Celtic Festival co-chair, in charge of booking the bands.

The Second Stage will feature Finn & Fiona (Celtic storytellers); Pirate Magician Capt. Mayhem, local band Jig To A Milestone, comedian and storyteller Derek Coghlan, musician Ric Welch, along with Gaelic and Penny Whistle lessons, storytelling and comedy.


Originating in the Scottish Highlands during the 11th century, Highland games have long been a favorite spectacle, and they’re sure to be a major draw at the 2015 St. Augustine Celtic Festival on March 14 & 15.

See some of the most impressive kilt-donning athletes around – challenging one another in traditional Scottish heavy athletics and strength competitions, including the weight throw, Scottish hammer throw, stone put and the always entertaining caber toss, which involves tossing a long, tapered pine log or pole end-over-end.

The Scottish Highland games are traced back to King of Scots Malcolm III, who summoned contestants to a footrace in order to find the fastest runner in the land to serve as royal messenger.

Over the centuries, Highland games events have expanded to include piping, drumming and dancing competitions, plus entertainment and exhibits celebrating Scottish and Gaelic culture.


Clans from throughout Scotland, Ireland and the rest of the Celtic world are represented each year, bringing with them the music, colors, language and stories of their ancestors. Each clan is invited to fly their banner in the annual St. Augustine St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

In addition to all the Celtic activities, there will be vendors offering food and beverages, Celtic jewelry, arts and crafts, and apparel – including kilts!

To purchase tickets in advance, go to 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 to

2015 Main Stage Schedule

In Order of Appearance

(Subject to Change)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Bagpipe Jam
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade Awards
  • Albannach
  • Irish Echoes
  • Clan Parade
  • Poor Angus
  • Highland Game Awards
  • Clan Awards
  • Whiskey of the Damned
  • Rathkeltair
  • Makem & Spain
  • Albannach
Sunday, March 15, 2015

10:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.

  • Kirking of the Tartans
  • Mini Clan Parade
  • Albannach
  • Searson
  • Makem & Spain
  • Rathkeltair
  • Highland Games Awards
  • Dublin City Ramblers
  • Blackwatch Kilt Drawing
  • Albannach

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