Ask anyone in the know about the céilidhs we held in 1996 and 1998 and they get a dreamy look in their eyes.
The céilidhs are hard to categorize. They were based on “authentic” céilidhs I’d attended in Scotland. Our version was like a mini-Lotus, only focused entirely on local talent. The explanation we gave was “world music, poetry, dance, and storytelling.”
My role was organizer, producer, marketer, creative director, vocalist, and more. I participated in the collective planning/producing brain with the outstanding Daniel McDeavitt and Denise Travers. I believe Hanna McDeavitt helped produce the ’98 one.
The 1996 edition was focused on audience participation, so we saw a lot of artists breaking the fourth wall. Many of our acts performed in the audience space rather than onstage.
All of the artists were outstanding. Planned to last about 3 hours, both céilidhs went overtime but the audience never left. After 4 hours in ’96 and 5 hours in ’97, people still hung out afterwards to soak in the bliss. Alain Barker ended both céilidhs by leading everybody in a group jam with instruments he brought and shared among the crowd.
Somewhere in the CATS vault is a recording of the 1998 céilidh. If you want a real treat, ring them at 812-349-3111 and request that they play it. After more than 10 years, it still holds up!
These “events” were sacred for me and remain dear to my heart. I will always feel bonded to Denise and Daniel for co-manifesting a night to remember.