With the Celtic fest unfurling this weekend in Muskegon, Diana Ladio of Michigan’s The Moxie Strings offers up the Top 5 reasons to attend plus a Top 10 playlist of songs by festival performers.
The Michigan Irish Music Festival has grown to become a September highlight for thousands of Celtic music lovers, so much so that it’s now touted as the “best damn fest in the whole Midwest.”
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This year’s festival being held Sept. 13-16 at Heritage Landing in Muskegon aims to prove that with sets by Ireland-based favorites Slide, Moya Brennan & Crannua Collective, Cuig and Aofie Scott and a host of highly acclaimed regional and national acts such as Scythian, The Elders, Kittle & Co., The East Pointers, POGEY, Chicago Irish Music All Stars, Seamus Kennedy, The Moxie Strings, The Founding, Crossbow and others.
Traverse City-based fiddler Diana Ladio is at the heart of two of those bands – Michigan’s own The Moxie Strings, which she co-founded in 2007 with cellist Alison Lynn, and Kansas City’s much-beloved The Elders, who are playing their farewell tour.
The Moxie Strings perform at 5:15 p.m. Friday on the Bob & Bernie’s Pub stage and at 3:45 p.m. Saturday on the Belfast Stage. Ladio performs with The Elders at 9:30 p.m. Saturday on the County Cork Stage and 3 p.m. Sunday on the County Kerry Stage. (Browse the full schedule online here.)
For The Moxie Strings – featuring Ladio, Lynn of Grand Rapids and percussionist Fritz McGirr of the Detroit area – playing the Michigan Irish Music Festival over the years has become a tradition they relish.
Local Spins asked Ladio – who conceded she’s in the midst of “doing a nomadic year of travel” with no real home base – to list The Top 5 reasons this festival deserves attention:
1) GREAT MUSIC — We’re so proud to call MIMF our “home fest” because they prioritize musicianship and musical diversity above all else.
2) FAMILIAR FACES — We’re lucky to tour out of state quite often, but it means our Michigan shows are further and fewer between. MIMF offers a chance for all three sets of Moxie parents to attend, as well as many of our “road parents.” Also, the MIMF festival family has become an extension of the Moxie family over the years. We’re always thrilled to see them and congratulate them on another great year.
3) TENTS — Whether you’re escaping the rain or the sun, weather will never get in your way at MIMF, thanks to each stage being covered by a giant tent.
4) PIGEON HILL BREWING CO. BEER — One of our favorite Michigan breweries and they are featured in almost every tent.
5) ALL AGES — We don’t always get a chance to have parents, students, friends, grandparents, etc., all in one spot. We love the chance to have the whole family in the audience, especially all our West Michigan students. (The students of North Muskegon orchestras will be joining us on Saturday.)
LOCAL SPINS’ MICHIGAN IRISH MUSIC FESTIVAL PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY
COURTESY OF THE MOXIE STRINGS
(Editor’s Note: Blackthorn’s “The Parting Glass” also was selected for this playlist but isn’t available on Spotify.)
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