Festival finale?

THE 37th Kapunda Celtic Festival is full steam ahead and plans are in place for big celebrations this weekend but it could possibly be the last one.

It is well known that the lack of younger volunteers is threatening the future of many regional events - events that are an integral feature of rural life.

Colin Yates, vice chair, and Andrew Philpott, music director of the organising group, both suggested there are a few elements that have made it more and more difficult to organise the annual event.

 Andrew said, “The Kapunda Celtic Festival as a brand is now more difficult to promote and in particular to market to the younger generation. 

“A lot of people view Celtic music as ‘folk music’ but really it is more than that.

“Another element in particular is that over the past 30 years or so of the event being held, a lot of the same enthusiastic original driving force behind the organisation from the 1970s have moved on.”

“Due to rising out-goings and costs, running the event is becoming unsustainable for us - it really needs to be run on a commercial basis,” Colin added.

Tristan Kerr, chair of the organising committee, feels that the two-day festival celebrating Kapunda’s Celtic heritage is suffering the same dilemmas as some other regional events.

Tristan said, “It’s hard when an event gets to this particular point to try and pick it up and have it continue with a successful future and that’s where we are at present.”

The Kapunda Celtic Festival is the longest running Celtic festival in Australia and its creative roots extend back to the 19th century when Kapunda’s Celtic community enthusiastically celebrated St Patrick’s Day each year.

When copper was discovered in the mid 19th century and the large commercial mine in Kapunda was developed, miners from Cornwall, Wales and Ireland were attracted to the town. 

“It will be a shame if it does fold after such a long lifespan of success,” Tristan said.

“As the organising committee, we hope that it can be revitalised or perhaps evolve into another event of sorts. 

“At the moment, we are focusing on putting on a great show for the public this weekend and look forward to seeing big crowds,” he added.

The official opening ceremony and welcome is on Saturday, at 10.45am.

After the opening there will be live Celtic music featuring Siobhan Owen, Greenwood, Graham Dodsworth, the Fiddle Chicks and a singing competition.

On Saturday night a bush dance is being held, led by the Celtic Music Club of SA.

On Sunday, there will be a main street parade at 1.30pm.    

Entertainment not to be missed will be from John Francis, Umbrella A Cappella, the Elizabeth City Pipe Band, Border Celts and the Bearded Gypsy Band, as well as a singing competition, plus plenty more.

Other Sunday events are a poet’s breakfast at 9.30am, food stalls, a singing competition, story-telling and Kids Zone - plenty for all the family.

There’s free admission from 10am, at Hill Street, Kapunda.

For further information, visit the website kapundaceltic.org

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