"I like this event, because it's about everyone coming together," said Trevor Roark, event organizer and a member of Green Tea. "We have such a diverse group -- local dancers, competitive dancers, musicians from Madison who focus on traditional Irish music and (Green Tea), who focus more on making our own kind of Irish music. And we are all coming together for the love of music and dance."
This year's event again will feature a matinee concert with the O'Dell Irish Dancers of Stevens Point performing with Green Tea, as well as an evening show with the An Blas Quartet of Madison and the Cashel Dennehy Irish Dancers of Milwaukee performing with Green Tea.
"This is really exciting, because typically people don't see dancers on stage with local bands," Roark said. "What (Green Tea does) is fuse the traditional music of Ireland with more contemporary sounds of rock and folk and dance. So you have traditional Irish dance with this fusion music, and these two layers compete with and complement each other on stage."
Irish dance and instrumental workshops also will return in the afternoon. The O'Dell Irish Dancers will lead the dance workshops, and members of Green Tea will offer instrumental workshops in whistles/flutes, bodhran, piano, bass guitar and drums. Desiah Melby, a friend of the band, will lead a fiddle workshop.
The workshops are targeted at beginners and will last about 11/2 hours. Workshop participants should bring their own instruments, with the exception of the whistles and bodhran.
"This is only the second year for the workshops. We had a very good turnout last year, and it was very exciting," Roark said. "We plan to teach the students the basics, and then the whole group will come together for a 'session.'"
Members of Green Tea also are excited to debut some of their new music at the Irish festival. The band is in the process of completing its new album, which will be released in March, and they will perform many of the songs from the new album.
"We've brought some new styles and influences to this album, and we are very excited to share the new music," Roark said.
An intermission will be held during each performance, and refreshments will be available.
"I think this event has been so successful because of the family-friendly atmosphere," Roark said. "All ages come out to our shows and to this festival, from kids to grandparents.
"People just really enjoy the fun, energy and community around this type of music."
Winter Fest returns for eighth year: Irish music, dance featured | Wausau Daily Herald | wausaudailyherald.com