Founded in 1999, the event supports the St. Columcille Irish Cultural Center’s ongoing goal to raise enough money to purchase property for a new building. The organization is currently operating out of a shared space at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Livingston.
“It’s really blowing up this year,” said John Leary, the fair’s marketing director. “It’s become so well-known that the acts are contacting us now.”
Organizers stepped up the profile this year, reaching beyond Staten Island via postings in bars and restaurants, print ads and on the ferry billboards. They even created a Facebook page — 4,000 friends strong — that managed to catch the attention of the large Irish community in East Durham, N.Y. A group from the town has chartered a bus to take them on the three-hour trip to S.I.
Of course, the big draw will once again be 17 bands will play on three stages: The Main Stage for headlining acts, a Pub Tent for acoustic singer-songwriters, and a Traditional Tent for Irish and Celtic tunes.
Among the touring acts, Derek Warfield & the Young Wolf Tones are once again coming all the way from Ireland. Formed in 1963 as The Wolfe Tones, the band has had much success across the pond. A 2002 BBC poll saw their song, “A Nation Once Again,” voted as the world’s favorite song.
Local bands like Sonas and Staten Island Pipes & Drums will also be on hand. The Moonshiners, who’ve played just about every fair since its inception, have the distinction of being the final act on the Main Stage because of their roots and longevity.
“At one time, we were probably the only Staten Island band playing Irish music,” said founding member and drummer Bobby Moller, dubbing the The Moonshiners sound a fusion of rock and traditionals.
Other highlights include a “seisun,” the Irish word for a jam session, at the traditional tent. The seisun will be led by The Wild Goose Players, but fair-goers are welcome to bring their own instruments and join in. Instruments typically include fiddles, flutes, and accordions.
Get your Irish up this weekend on Staten Island | SILive.com