Time to get your Irish up again

As autumn comes to upstate New York, people will flock to the region to see the leaves change color. Soon, brilliant oranges will contrast with the green that's been on the trees all summer.

But a chance to revel in those same greens and oranges the traditional colors of Ireland comes just a bit earlier this year at the Irish 2000 Music and Arts Festival which will take place on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14 and 15 at the Altamont Fairgrounds.

In its 11th year, the festival brings forward the best in Celtic music and culture.

"We have rides, games, over 30 food vendors, and over 30 different performers," said Matt Nelligan, festival president.

Vendors will show off their unique crafts and musicians will perform on four stages. One is for traditional Irish music, one for contemporary, one for local, and one for the family, all ensuring that there will be no shortage of entertainment. Children, teenagers, and adults will all be able to find something to do at the festival.

The music has always been a highlight of the Irish 2000 Festival, and this year carries with it a new spin on Celtic music.

"We've had a big development over the past five years in Celtic punk music," said Nelligan. Indeed, Friday and Saturday will feature many Celtic punk bands, including popular acts such as Flogging Molly and the Tossers.

Local bands will also showcase their styles of Irish music.

"Irish 2000 has an emphasis on the music " we've played there every year," said Rick Bedrosian, bass player from local favorite Hair of the Dog. "We have a brand new CD coming out, available for the first time at the festival."

"I've been doing Irish festivals all over the country," said performer Kevin McKrell, of the Hard Road Ceilidh Band, and formerly with The McKrells,"but this was the first one in the Capital District."

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