Forte’s Guide to the National Celtic Festival

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Forte’s Guide to the National Celtic Festival

It’s time to pull out your kilts, put your winter woollies on and rug up to dive head first into this Celtic affair, this Queens Birthday long weekend will see the National Celtic Festival come back for 2018! Here’s Forte’s guide for a long weekend to remember.
The National Celtic Festival is set to shine along the sparkling Portarlington foreshore this June long weekend. Foreseeing crowds of over 15,000 with huge performances across 14 stages, the festival is the premier Celtic gathering in Australasia and it’s easy to see why it has become such a draw card for audiences, with its breadth of artistic talent, rich in culture.
Getting There
With an easy 90-minute drive out of Melbourne to the stunning Bellarine Peninsula, a 40-minute ferry-ride from Queenscliff to Sorrento, or a 90-minute ferry ride from Melbourne’s Docklands that goes direct to Portarlington, there’s no excuse to miss experiencing Australia’s premier Celtic Folk Festival.
It’s All About The Music
The festival attracts some of the best and most diverse Celtic Folk acts from across the country and the globe, bringing with them a twist of blues, classical, jazz, indie, rock and much more. This year’s line-up dominates with talented, grounded, charming Irish-Australian star Damien Leith, Scottish-born Paul Mckenna Band and legends of the Irish music scene Altan. Celtic rock band Claymore will also be performing a very special set this year, and is the last chance for Australian audiences to see the band before they head off on the international circuit and play the world’s largest Celtic festival – The Festival Interceltique de Lorient in France. Other acts to keep an eye out for include troubadours Hat Fitz and Cara, vibrant string three-piece Telenn Tri, trad-folk icons Trouble in the Kitchen and Señor Cabrales, who will take you to Scotland via Spain!
What Else To Do
Along with the focus in diverse genres of music, the festival delves deep into culture to include countless comedy, dance, literature, medieval sports and theatre troupes for festival-goers at a range of venues throughout the town. Included is an atmosphere that takes you to another place with exhilarating vibe, punters will be able to participate in anything from jousting tournaments and traditional Viking practices such as deer-hide curing to gorging on a buffet of Celtic delicacies.
Theatre groups have also jumped on board the bandwagon, with the likes of St Joseph’s College Celtic Group, Comhaltas Melbourne and dance groups such as the Victorian Irish Dance Academy, O’Shea-Ryan Irish Dancers and storyteller/comedian Eric Purdie to entertain the masses.
With all the music, art and entertainment, you can’t forget about The Folk Market, which will be bursting with fine food and fresh produce from a wide range of food trucks, along with delicious local wines, craft brews and spirits from Victoria’s bespoke distilleries. Here you’ll find all the regular delicious festival food, along with a range of delicious cultural tastings. This market is adjacent to the festival and free to the public, so non-ticket holders can get amongst it.
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Where to stay
A limited number of Festival Tickets and Camping Packages are available for purchase online at TryBookings. Camping passes can be purchased as a single or double, and for two or three nights depending on your preferences. This package includes great camping and caravan sites in the beautiful bayside Portarlington Holiday Park, a short walking distance to all festival venues, excellent permanent facilities, and a free shuttle bus running to the festival sites. If camping isn’t quite your thing, we recommend checking out Airbnb where you’ll find a range of different private rooms, entire houses, cottages and apartments that are still available for the long weekend. It’s best to get in early though!
This event truly transforms Portarlington’s foreshore and surrounding haunts into a bustling winter-wonderland. With the festival right on our doorstep, there’s no excuse to miss experiencing Australia’s premier Celtic Folk festival.
When & Where: WG Little Reserve, Newcombe Street, Portarlington – June 8 – 11.
Tickets: via Weekend Prices: $170 | $70 Youth Weekend Festival + Camping / Ferry packages available online. Day Tickets also available
Written by Chloe Cicero