FolkWorld Live Review 8/2000:
It was a very warm Friday evening in May. The house of youth in Sachsenhausen/ Frankfurt am Main where the 1st Gaelfest took place lies directly on the River Rhine. The river walks as well as the amusement district of Sachsenhausen were filled with people because of the beautiful weather. However, when the concert began, nearly every seat in the huge hall was occupied. The air was hot and the windows were opened wide.
Many folk fans from all over Germany have come to the "Haus der Jugend" to visit the Opening Gala Concert, the various workshops, the Templehouse Monster Ceili and the Grand Finale Matinee Concert. The festival was opened by the Irish ambassador who has arrived from Berlin especially for the event. The audience on this Friday evening was mixed and also many members of the Irish community living in this region came to see the concert.
The visitors of the festival enjoyed the music of the Templehouse Ceili Band, An Tor and the Deutsche Uilleann Pipes Gesellschaft as well as the impressive performances of the step dancers Mary Murray, Sean Kilkenny and Mick Mulkerrins. These three very often came on stage just to accompany the traditional Irish music with their dances and it was visible that everybody had a lot of fun.
During the break a lot of people took their beer and went on the terrace to enjoy the warm evening. Later on, raffles were sold and the lucky winner of the first price won a flight to Ireland.
On Saturday and Sunday, workshops were offered for set dancing, step dancing, fiddle, flute, tin whistle, uilleann pipes, banjo, guitar, bodhran, Irish language, Celtic mythology and story telling. With about 120 workshop visitors, the Gaelfest is among the biggest workshops of Irish dance and music in Europe. This weekend festival combined the characteristics of an Irish music festival and an Irish summer school.
Gaelfest 2000 was organised by the newly founded Deutsch-Irische Gesellschaft Rhein-Main.
Not far away from Frankfurt, in Wiesbaden another festival took place one week later: the Celtic & American Folk Music and Dance Festival. The "Großer Tattersall" is a nice old theatre in the center of Wiesbaden which was crowded on this Friday evening. The beautiful weather from the previous week had gone and it was fresh and rainy outside. However, the audience warmed up quickly when the concert started with Piper Quest playing on highland pipes and Scottish border pipes songs from Scotland, Canada and Ireland.
Then, Fiddle & Feet came on stage with American folk music while Natalie Aboulfath presented a beautiful performance of Appalachian Flatfooting and Cape Breton stepdancing. The music became more romantic with Jonny Robels who played songs from Wales and Brittany on the harp.
The real dance part took place after the break, when the Celtic American Dance Troupe swept across the stage fascinating the whole audience. All together, the evening was a beautiful mix of folk music and traditional dances presented by people who love to dance and to make music!
Further infos available at: the Gaelfest homepage
Photo Credit: All Photos of Gaelfest 2000 by Andreas Moll
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