Contemporary Celtic bands, including Gaelic Storm, set to light up Irish Fest

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If you go ...

What: Chicago Gaelic Park’s Irish Fest 2011

Where: 6119 W. 147th St., Oak Forest

When: May 27 to 30. Gates open at 3 p.m. May 27, noon May 28, noon May 29, and noon May 30.

Cost: $15 general admission; $10 early admission (noon to 1 p.m.); $12 for adults over 65 and kids 12 and under; Free for kids 3 and under.

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Reaching a milestone requires celebration. Look for that to be done in grand style in Oak Forest next weekend.

The hotlist of contemporary Irish musicians will be in Oak Forest over the Memorial weekend for the 25th Anniversary of Chicago Gaelic Park’s Irish Fest. This emerald extravaganza will bring the best of contemporary and traditional Irish headliners to six exciting stages, May 27-30. To further celebrate the Fest’s 25th Anniversary, a special four-day discount pass for $25 is available at ChicagoGaelicPark.org through May 26.

This Chicago tradition also features full carnival rides, on-site parking, special events for children, Gaelic football and hurling, Ceiling dancing, ponies and draught horses, dog exhibits, shopping and Irish cultural exhibits all surrounded by food, refreshments and great fun.

But it’s the collection of contemporary music headliners that fills the air and makes this one of America’s premier Irish festivals.

Gaelic Storm, premier Celtic music performers, returns this year for Irish Fest’s 25th Anniversary. Gaelic Storm launched into world-wide fame with their appearance in the mega-hit film Titanic. Since then the band’s fan base continues to multiply with each new album, turning the one-time pub band into a world-class touring act. Gaelic Storm’s compelling originals and fresh arrangements are steeped in traditional melody creating new standards in Celtic music.

Taking the Celtic scene by storm, the Tartan Terrors combine music and comedy with championship dancing, world class bagpiping and driving drums to deliver an energetic and all-around unforgettable performance. Members of the Tartan Terrors have performed at prestigious Festivals in four different continents, at Highland Games and Theatres of North America, for President Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and Good Morning America. Come to Irish Fest and see why Celtic Beat Magazine calls the Tartan Terrors “…heirs apparent to the [Celtic] mayhem.”

If ever there was a band whose members make up a potent body of music, it is The Fenians, an electrifying Irish musical quintet from Orange County, Calif., offering a mix of their original creations, contemporary and traditional songs. -Their foundation is decidedly Celtic, but there is no mistaking the influence of Rock, Folk, Bluegrass, Jazz and World influences.

Infinity proudly returns to Irish Fest. Infinity continues to break attendance records at clubs and festivals across the Midwest. Their high energy performance, powerful vocals and song list make for a memorable concert. But more importantly, they maintain the unique ability to engage crowds and make audiences feel part of the show. This is the difference between performers and genuine entertainers and is the reason for their perpetual return engagements year after year.

American English takes that stage again this year. This perennial favorite is hailed as the best Beatles tribute band, featured on WGN, CBS, FOX, 190 North, The Travel Channel, BBC, ABC and NBC. This new ‘Fab Four’ have shared the stage with classic groups The Grassroots, The Neville Brothers, Three Dog Night, and many others.

Making their debut at Irish Fest this year, Red Rebel County is a 10-person tour de force paying tribute to their Irish heritage and rock roots. What these Chicago Southsiders originally intended as musical fun quickly banded into a solid musical unit performing all across the city in clubs and special events. With their classic ‘Chicago Blue Collar’ sound, they bring energy, enthusiasm and hard-working musicianship to their live shows.

Like Irish Fest, Chicago’s own 7th Heaven also celebrated a 25th Anniversary. They’ve had a great year on the Billboard Charts with two releases in 2010; performed at Soldier Field with Bon Jovi; received coverage on TV’s ABC, NBC, FOX and WGN and charted the hit “Better This Way” at No. 2 among Chicago radio stations. Their extremely high-energy live shows received worldwide press coverage from USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and the LA Times.

Milwaukee’s own, The Sandcarvers, deliver some of the best Celtic rock on the planet. Their original songs tell stories from real life by combining strong solo voices and vocal harmonies with blistering instrumental skills. They also put a wicked spin on Irish traditionals that will make you laugh, cry, think or forget - depending on your mood. Their exuberant live show and exhilarating fan interaction have earned them top billing in the music festival circuit and in live venues across the country.

There are plenty of other outstanding performers at the Fest, including, The Four Courts, Crossroads Ceili Band, Bernie Glim & Country Roads, Joe Cullen & Kathleen Keane, Baal Tinne, Irish Musicians, The Cunningham Family “Sean Nós” Dancing & Friends, Gerard Haughey & Sean O’Donnell, Shannon Rovers Pipe Band, Pipes & Drums of The Emerald Society, Joe McShane, Ray Gavin Band, Solid-Aire, Character Fleadh, O’Leary’s Lantern, Cira Walton & Friends, Week Back, Celtic Sounds, Patrick Guinee, Pat Daly & The Sounds of Green, Mulligan Stew, Sean & Charlie, Irish Music Club of Chicago, Pat Finnegan & Billy O’Donoghue, Murphy Roche Irish Music Club, Girls of Murphy Roche, and many more!

The special four-day $25 anniversary discount pass, performance schedules and other online ticket specials are available online at www.chicagogaelicpark.org. Standard daily gate admission to all six musical stages, full carnival midway and on-site parking is $15. Adults over 65 years and kids under 12 are only $12, and youngsters under 3 years are free. There is an early admission discount during the first hour of each day.

Chicago Gaelic Park, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Irish culture, is located at 6119 W. 147th St. in Oak Forest. For more information on membership, benefits and facility bookings visit online at chicagogaelicpark.org or call (708) 687-9323.