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Go Gaelic at Irish Fest

A free bus service will be made available on both Friday and Saturday from 9 to 11 p.m. The bus is going to leave from the Fairgrounds and make two stops, one at the Howard Johnson Inn and Suites at 1614 Central Avenue, Colonie, and one at the Albany Irish-American Center at 375 Ontario St. There will be cabs at both locations to bring passengers to their homes.

"The festival's board of directors is urging anyone who drinks alcoholic beverages at the event to use this free service," said Nelligan.

Front man for Hair of the Dog, Rick Bedrosian, said playing the festival is one of the highlights of the year for the band.

"It's one of the best [Irish] festivals in the world, and always one of our best shows of the year," said Bedrosian, who plays bass and sings the lead vocals for the band.

Bob Hallett, the lead singer and instrumentalist of Great Big Sea, said playing the festival allows the band to take its music to a higher level.

"Any band that strives to succeed in the world wants to play bigger shows," Hallet said. "We never intended to just be a backyard band."

Hallet said Great Big Sea, which hails from Newfoundland, primarily plays pop music with traditional folk music instruments.

He said they take inspiration from the Irish, Scottish, English and French folk music traditions.

The not-for-profit Irish 2000 Music and Arts Festival Inc., with headquarters at the Albany Ancient Order of Hibernians, Irish Cultural Center in Albany, organizes the annual festival.

Since it has started, the festival has made donations close to $300,000 to charities including the Albany Irish-American Center, the Irish-American Heritage Museum and all of the schools of Irish dance in the Capital District.

The year, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and the national charities of the Ancient Order of Hibernians will be the beneficiaries of the event.""

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