Celtic Family Jubilee

storyThe second annual Celtic Family Jubilee Fam-Jam takes place in Brooksville, Florida this weekend. Recently we spoke with event organizer Greg McGrath about the festivities.

What is your own heritage?  
On my dad’s side, I am Irish; my mom’s parents came from Celtic Ukraine (Eastern European Galicia)

When and why did you get involved with this event?  
Multiple reasons – our production company is Celtic Heritage Productions, Inc., and we produce several events in Florida and North Carolina …Specifically for this event, though, is the family-oriented atmosphere, making Celtic Family Jamboree not just a music festival, but a teaching and learning event via workshops, a family reunion via the on-site camping, and a tailgate party via the potluck supper. The performers know each other quite well, so there are collaborations between members of different bands. It’s truly a family event, not only for nuclear families, but for the larger Celtic family/community.

What are the rewards of being involved?  
Smiles on people’s faces!

Why is it an important event for the community there?  
Anytime that people can gather together in a spirit of harmony, it makes the community a better and happier place.

What can attendees expect this year?  
Great music, along with a couple of musical surprises.  (But I don’t want to give a hint; they really are surprises!)

Will you remain involved with the event in the years ahead?  
Absolutely. This event is wholly owned and funded by Celtic Heritage Productions, Inc.

How else are you involved with the Celtic community there?  
As stated before, we produce festivals – a total of six, including this one – in Florida and North Carolina. Additionally, my wife’s band, Marcille Wallis & Friends, has a high-energy St. Patrick’s themed concert series presented on and around St. Patrick’s Day, plus a Christmas concert series – “Christmas With The Celts” – going into its 15th year. Her band performs regularly at Scottish and Irish events around the country, and we have brought her Celtic-themed performances to venues such as Disney World, the Biltmore Estate, and Dollywood. My wife and I are members of New World Celts, an international pan-Celtic charitable organization that works to promote Celtic culture around the globe.

Is enough being done to preserve and promote Celtic culture generally?  
Can we ever be truly satisfied with our efforts on this level? You’re doing a wonderful job, with an easy-to navigate website that is colorful and interesting and inviting.

What can we be doing better?  
Keep up the good work! Keep spreading the interest …We have found a number of people who say, “This music touches my heart, but I don’t know why, since I’m not Irish.” And then lo and behold, they discover that “Celtic” is not just “Irish,” but includes Scotland and Wales, of course, plus regions of France and Spain … or as in my own personal heritage, a region of Eastern Europe. Until I started really exploring Celtic culture, through my Irish roots, I never knew that my Ukrainian roots were Celtic as well. And I believe we need to make Celtic culture as accessible as possible, so that others may make similar discoveries.