The Michigan Irish Music Festival, presented by Family Financial Credit Union will be held September 14-17th, 2023, at Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon.
Tickets are available for sale at www.michiganirish.org
Save $5 or more on single-day tickets or 4-day passes when you buy tickets online.
Michigan Irish Music Festival is rich in culture, celebrating both life in Ireland and here in the States as Irish Americans. Through various art forms on multiple stages and areas of the festival grounds, there are abundant opportunities for fun, education, and interaction.
Don’t miss all of the dynamic storytelling, ranging from children’s stories and songs to personal accounts of life in Belfast in the 1950s-1980s to classic fairy tales with a twist. Discover the incredible history of the Book of Kells, a centuries-old manuscript that survived the test of time. Learn about actor Buster Keaton’s summer vacations in Muskegon, as well as his connection to Irish heritage. Join Enda Reilly for a reflection on poet WB Yeats: The Waters to the Wild . Hear John Kennedy of Kennedy’s Kitchen share about his family’s emigration through Irish music, story, and song. Explore the ancient landforms and monuments of Ireland with Slide’s Mick Broderick’s presentation, Slide Around Ireland. This immersive presentation will take you on a journey through thousands of years of Irish history and culture, showcasing some of the most impressive landmarks and natural wonders that have stood the test of time.
For the musically inclined, Bodhran or Tin Penny Whistle lessons are available. Learn to speak some Irish / Gaelic phrases during an interactive session with Colm Keegan. History buffs can join Liz Gould’s workshop to learn about heraldry and create a personal “Coat of Arms”. Epicurious folks should check out the presentations from Baker College Culinary Institute of Michigan and Wonderland’s Distillery for delicious food demonstrations and craft cocktail class!
As always, the cultural stages will be alive with music and dancing, featuring groups from around the Midwest. Ardan Academy of Dance and Steph’s Steps will highlight traditional Irish Dance including Ceili, hard shoe, softshoe, and a blend of Irish and clogging styles. The Michigan Feis Parade of Champions is another not-to-be-missed celebration of Irish heritage. Music from Mona Shores Fiddlers and Chelsea House Orchestra (CHO) will highlight the incredible talent of local high schoolers. The Mona Shores Fiddlers are an extra curricular ensemble established in 1996 which performs throughout West Michigan under the direction of Kelly De Rose. Hailing from Chelsea, Michigan, on the east side of the state, CHO is comprised of about two dozen string, wind, and percussion musicians playing music derived from Celtic and other folk music sources. This group shares an energetic and eclectic experience with their audience! 2743 Henry Street, #231, Muskegon, MI 49441 PH 231-683-2065
For those interested in a life in Ireland, a pop-up consulate will be available for opportunities to meet with consular officers and ask questions about obtaining Irish citizenship through descent, Irish passports, and other related topics. Be sure to catch the exciting exhibition from the Ward Music Archives, Come Back to Erin: Irish Travel Posters of the 20th Century. Join the Michigan Irish American Society to celebrate influential Michiganders of Irish descent at the induction of the 2023 Michigan Irish Hall of Fame Honorees.
Stay tuned to the MIMF social media pages and website – www.michiganirish.org . – for the full artist line-up, activities, cultural presentations, and other updates.
Along with presenting sponsor Family Financial Credit Union, other major sponsors of the festival include G&L, Langlois Home Furnishings, The Mart Dock, and Budweiser. The Delta Hotels by Marriott and Shoreline Inn are host hotels for the festival.
Michigan Irish Music Festival Returns September 14-17, 2023
The Michigan Irish Music Festival, presented by Family Financial Credit Union, is excited to announce the Entertainment Lineup* for September 14-17th 2023, at Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon. Over 25 bands will perform on multiple covered stages.
Tickets are available for sale starting Thursday, May 4, 2023 at www.michiganirish.org. Save $5 or more on single-day tickets or 4-day passes when you buy tickets online.
MIMF is thrilled for the return of Seamus Kennedy
Trademarked by his ongoing interaction with his audiences, fast-paced humor is very much a part of what Seamus does. In fact, Seamus seems to be having such a grand time and he makes it all look so effortless that it is easy not to notice what a superb musician he truly is. He will segue seamlessly from an Irish ballad about a dying town to a rollicking reel and then move into American music, equally at home with folk, pop, country or traditional.
Also welcoming celebrated artists:
Slide, with its diverse songs, which range from soulful and sorrowful to contagiously energetic, The Irish Times calls Slide “traditional musicians with attitude”. With songs showcasing a variety of clever arrangements – from sensitive whistle harmonies to driving, high-powered strings and captivating lyrics, Irish Music Magazine says “[Slide] can sing, they can write, they can dance across fingerboards and piano keys, buttons, and bows, and by crikey they can play.”
Socks in the Frying Pan are a multi-award winning trio hailing from County Clare on the West coast of Ireland. Their dynamic vocal harmonies, virtuosic musical ability and their onstage wit has captured and captivated audiences the world around.
Doolin’ is French in origin – though easily mistaken for Irish musicians! This sextet (guitar, bodhrán, violin, tin whistle, accordion/vocals, bass) brings a fresh approach to Irish music. Inspired by the purest tradition, Doolin’ combines instrumentals, vocals and original compositions in a resolutely modern style. The arrangements, at times taking their inspiration from pop-rock, folk, jazz, funk or even rap (and always in the best taste), emit great energy.
Eileen Ivers, a founding member of Cherish the Ladies, has established herself as the pre-eminent exponent of the Irish fiddle in the world today. Touting an impressive list of accomplishments, including a Grammy award and an Emmy nomination, Ivers’ recording credits include over 80 contemporary and traditional albums and numerous movie scores, including “Gangs of New York”.
Sharon Shannon is a prolific composer crossing over into many genres of music. Her style is uniquely traditional Irish and she has been hugely influential in promoting Irish music not only in Ireland, but in the USA where she has collaborated with John Prine and Steve Earle, in Canada with Natalie McMaster, in Japan with the Kodo Drummers, in Malawi with Umoza Children of Mzuzu and recording and touring with Seckou Keita, Kora and percussion master
One for the Foxes is an exciting and dynamic transatlantic trio that features a mix of Irish and American folk music and song, both traditional and newly composed, presented in an energetic and engaging manner. Through a shared deep-rooted passion for Irish traditional music, this trio highlights the vital role of Irish traditional music as an origin of many American folk musics, and explores how those styles can interact with one another in a manner both eclectic and grounded.
New to the festival:
Paddy Keenan, a founding member of the legendary Bothy Band, is widely considered one of the greatest living exponents of uilleann piping. Paddy’s contributions to traditional Irish music were honored with the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Musician of the Year award (2002), which is presented to musical heroes of the modern age, and in 2011 by the Irish Music Association, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Malinda is a NY/DC-based singer, songwriter, and actor. With a mission to make community through her art, Malinda hails a very impressive social media presence, with 1.4 million YouTube subscribers and 2.6 million TikTok followers!
Tossers are a folk-punk band from the south side of Chicago, known for one of the largest populations of Irish people this side of the Emerald Isle. Anthony (T.) Duggins got his start playing traditional Irish folk music in pubs around the neighborhood. He was joined by his brother and his best friends, playing the original songs he had written as well. Named for an old slang term used for worthless British coins in Sean O’Casey’s play The Plough and the Stars, so became The Tossers.
Additional entertainers include artists direct from Ireland and from throughout the US:
The Moxie Strings, Tallymoore, Colm & Laura Keegan, Blackthorn, Ian Gould, Kennedy’s Kitchen, Brother Crowe, Conklin Ceili Band, Black Murray, Enda Reilly, Crossbow, Ruth & Max Bloomquist, Barley Saints, Uneven Ground, Chelsea House Orchestra, Toby Bresnahan, Ardan Academy of Dance, and The Mona Shores Fiddlers *Live music lineup is subject to change
Stay tuned to the MIMF social media pages and website – www.michiganirish.org. – for the full artist line-up, activities, cultural presentations, and other updates. Along with presenting sponsor Family Financial Credit Union, other major sponsors of the festival include G&L, Langlois Home Furnishings, The Mart Dock, and Budweiser. The Delta Hotels by Marriott and Shoreline Inn are the host hotels for the festival.
MIMF is pleased to announce the new 2023 officers on the board of directors. Kevin Donovan will transition to President of the organization after serving many years as VP and as Site Director. Kris Collee will now serve as the new VP in addition to her role with Volunteers. Dan Rinsema-Sybenga will serve as Treasurer, and Food Vendors. Debbie Smith continues in the Secretary role and in Blarney Bucks.
As the past President, Chris Zahrt will guide the new executive team and continue her role on the board as the Sponsorship Director and lead cultural activities for the festival. Chris is a founding board member, serving as President for 20 years and will continue to be instrumental in MIMF’s continued success, fostering growth, and developing new leaders to maintain the festival’s mission and commitment to the community. Our mission will continue with this group of dedicated directors: To produce a world-class Music Festival that promotes Irish culture and heritage, enhancing the community as a destination through entertainment, tourism, education, and philanthropy.
2023 Board members (Pictured Left to right, top to bottom)
Eric Anderson, Joe Preston, Tom Bitson, Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, Tom Schaub, Tom Zant, Marc Vanderstelt, Andrew Zahrt, Joe Doyle, LaShelle Mikesell, Mark Grant, Kris Collee, Debbie Smith, Kevin Donovan, Laura Holmes, Chris Zahrt
We’re back and excited to share what’s new for 2022! The Michigan Irish Music Festival will return to Heritage Landing on Sept. 15 -18th for four days of outstanding live music, culture, Irish food, beverages, and entertainment. Tickets will go on sale soon and you can SAVE when you purchase early on our website. Advanced tickets will officially go on sale on April 28!!!
This year MIMF will offer discounted pricing on single-day tickets, four-day passes, and kids, 12 and under remain free. Patrons can save $5 – $10 on any single-day ticket when they purchase online. New this year, Sunday will be our Discount Day: GET IN FREE 10:30 am – Noon and stay through 6 pm. (Please note, Sunday Mass will now be held at 11 am). And, as always, join our volunteer team and enjoy the festival for free before or after your shift.
2022 Ticket Prices (Online pricing available one day before entry)
Walk-Up At Gate
Over 20 bands will grace our stages – stay tuned and listen in to Sounds Like Ireland for band announcements and details. Sounds like Ireland radio program airs Thursdays from 5 – 7 pm on Muskegon’s FM 100.9 Radio.
Look for some exciting changes and new activities at this year’s festival. Whiskey service will now be available at our three main bars and at the expanded craft beer area. We will feature two cultural stages and the Irish Store and Marketplace return for great shopportunities. Wee Ones’ activities will be available and a variety of food and Irish fare in our Celtic Kitchen. Stay tuned to our social media for more announcements and when to sign up to be a volunteer. See you at the festival!
March is around the corner and we love how Muskegon goes all Irish all month long! There are more varied events for all tastes and ages than you can shake a shillelagh at!
“County Muskegon” is teeming with Irish and Celtic themed culture, activities, music and fun. We’d like to highlight some of them here for you.
Muskegon Sounds Like Ireland!
Did you know there is a Muskegon radio station that hosts an Irish music program? If you tune in to Muskegon 100.9 FM from 5-7 pm EST you will find that Muskegon “Sounds Like Ireland” every Thursday! The program is hosted by “Voice of the Michigan Irish Music Festival” Bill Marshall and is “jammers” full of jams to get you in the mood for March!
Start getting your Irish on right at the beginning of the month. Bring your musical instrument and join a “Trad Session” at Unruly Brewing. An Irish traditional music session (seisiún) is an informal collection of folks gathered together to play traditional Irish music. Unruly Brewing hosts such sessions twice every month. Even if you don’t play, you can still come and enjoy the music! More Info HERE
March 1 and March 15
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Get Ready to Tap Your Toes!
Save the date for this performance of Celtic music by Uneven Ground at Hackley Public Library. Uneven Ground ushers in “Irish American” month with a night of vibrant and traditional Celtic music. Blending talented vocals and lively instrumentals, they their audience a unique and engaging performance to remember. Free More Info HERE
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
But, There are Four of Them?
Always a sensation at the Michigan Irish Music Festival, We Banjo 3 are coming to The Playhouse at White Lake! This Galway, Ireland, and Nashville-based quartet, comprised of two sets of brothers, seamlessly converge the varied traditions of Americana, Bluegrass, and Celtic music with pop-sensible songcraft and create a truly unique and gratifying signature sound. More Info HERE
See the Book of Kells
A MUST see, while you are at the Hackley Public Library, is their rare copy of the “Book of Kells”. Only 1,480 facsimiles of this breathtaking illuminated manuscript exist in the world. The original, housed in Trinity College Dublin, is widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure. As far as we know, ours and the copy at Washington Centerville Library are the only two available for public viewing in a library. You can learn more about this treasure in this Hackley Library Video HERE
Mark your calendar for a night of learning, and discover details and history about this centuries-old illuminated manuscript at a special Book of Kells Presentation. More Info HERE
Get a Running Start
Saturday morning gets a “running” start at 9 am with Run Muskegon’s Shamrock Shuffle, this festive 5K encourages participants to dress for the holiday – and awards prizes for the best costumes. More Info HERE
Take the wee ones for a Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast at the Greater Muskegon Woman’s Club! The ladies are celebrating Reading Month, Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the whole green theme with a delicious breakfast that includes a free Dr. Seuss book and visit from a Dr. Seuss’ character. More Info HERE
Entry fees to participate in the parade are non-perishable food and pantry items – and spectators are encouraged to bring them too! Volunteers will push shopping carts along the parade route collecting the items. Or, look for collection barrels located along the parade route. So grab some canned goods and get gussied up in your green garb! Watch the floats, marching bands, dogs, live music, catch some candy and cheer for a very special Grand Marshall! More Info HERE
Route: Along Western Ave between 6th – 2nd Streets
That’s No Blarney
Make a wish and kiss the Muskegon version of The Blarney Stone! Superior Monument are bringing their version of the the famous limestone landmark. Seek it out near the Olthoff Stage and see if you can get the gift o’ gab.
11:00 am – 4 pm
Set Up Camp for the Day
Shamrockin’ In Your Shanty returns to Western Ave in Downtown Muskegon! Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day by reserving a spot for your “shanty” (ice shanty, small pop up tent or just seating)! Spend the day with your friends in the social district. You cannot bring your own alcohol to this event – but you can enjoy social district drinks in your shanty from participating establishments. Prizes awarded for Best Decorated Shanty! $15 More Info HERE
Ardan Academy of Irish Dance is a school teaching traditional step and Ceili dance classes for all ages. The dancers vie in state and national Feis competitions; including the Michigan Feis that takes place every September right here in Muskegon. They send qualifying dancers to the Mid-American and international Oireachtas each year. Come be amazed at their skills as they kick up their heals during a free performance at Unruly Brewing on March 12th
Spend St. Patrick’s Day with one of West Michigan’s most exciting traditional/folk Celtic bands; Uneven Ground. They will be filling the Norton Shores Library with melody and music. More Info HERE
7:00 – 8:00 pm
Something to Cherish
Cherish the Ladies perform with the West Michigan Symphony at the beautiful Frauenthal Center. The Grammy-nominated, Irish-American super group is one of America’s most heralded Irish music ensembles. You won’t want to miss their rousing blend of traditional music, captivating vocals, and propulsive step dancing. More Info HERE
Don’t Be Quiet About This
One dollar admission gets you in to the Playhouse at White Lake to see this classic film on the big screen! The Quiet Man is the beloved film set in scenic Ireland, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara! More Info HERE
Can You Wait Until May?
We have waited two years – I guess we can wait until May! “House of Hamill, Celtic fiddle!” were originally scheduled to perform in March of 2020 at The Block. But the pandemic had other plans. Finally, Rose Baldino and Brian Buchanan will be able to perform in this welcoming and cozy space. This duo create exciting and original jigs, reels and songs while breathing new life into traditional Irish fiddling.
Dig Into the Roots
Find out why Muskegon has such deep Irish roots; visit the Lakeshore Museum Center’s “Voices of Muskegon” display which shares the story of the Irish diaspora to the West Michigan area. Listen to the Muskegon History and Beyond podcast on the Irish Diaspora to Muskegon HERE
See the Home of Our Most Famous Irish American
The Hume House of the Hackley and Hume Historic Site was home to lumber baron Thomas Hume. Thomas was very proud of his Irish ancestry. While tours do not begin until May, you can still wander the grounds and take in the marvel of these two Queen Anne style mansions, located in Downtown Muskegon. In the meantime, learn more about Thomas Hume HERE, in this Lakeshore Museum Center video.
The podcast is part of a wonderful cultural collaboration between the Lakeshore Museum Center, Hackley Public Library and Michigan Irish Music Festival. The collaboration includes 2 podcasts and 2 videos meant to compliment our Hackley Hooley (taking place on September 18th) and the rich history of Muskegon’s Irish heritage and history. The podcast was exhaustively researched by the Lakeshore Museum’s Patrick Horn and Aaron Mace.
Listen and let Patrick know how much you enjoyed learning more about Mr. Hume!
Born in 1848 in Hillsborough, County Down, Ireland, Thomas Hume came to Muskegon in 1870. Finding work in the lumbering industry as a scaler and tallyman before becoming Charles Hackley’s bookkeeper in 1872, and business partner in 1881. Over the next 24 years, Hackley and Hume built a business empire that included timberlands all over North America. After the lumber era Hume helped create Muskegon’s industrial trade, which continues to this day.
The Hackley Public Library may be one of only two public spaces in North America with a facsimile edition of the Book of Kells on permanent display! Hackley Public Library’s magnificent copy can be seen in a large, beautiful wooden and glass case located in the Main Reading Room. A beautiful Waterford Crystal bowl accompanies the manuscript.
A page of the manuscript is carefully, and ceremoniously turned once monthly by a white gloved member of the library staff.
To celebrate St. Patrick’s day and this wonderful Irish tradition, please join us for the Couch Potato St. Pat’s Virtual Concert brought to you by the Michigan Irish Music Festival and PNC Bank. This free event will premiere live on both Facebook and Youtube (links) on Saturday, March 13th at 8 pm EST.
Hosted by Bill Marshall, the voice of MIMF and the host of the Sounds Like Ireland radio program, he will lead us through an evening of music, culture, and fun. Featuring performances by Doolin’, Seamus Kennedy, The Friel Sisters, and Dave Curley.
There is not a link to share prior to the concert. Do NOT click on any comments or posts claiming to have a link.
This is a FREE show. Do NOT respond or provide any personal information to anyone claiming to have tickets for sale or a link for the concert.
How To Watch Go to the Michigan Irish Music Festival Facebook page at 8 pm EST on March 13th on your phone, computer or connected TV. You will find the concert streaming from a post at the top of our page. bit.ly/MIMFFacebookPage