Angeline Terry

Irish Fest Returns This Weekend

World's largest celebration of Celtic music and culture returns for its 40th year.

By - Aug 16th, 2021 02:30 pm

The Byrne Brothers. Photo courtesy of CelticMKE.

Milwaukee’s Irish Fest is back for its 40th year after canceling its 2020 event due to COVID-19 concerns. 

This year’s festival will take place at Henry Maier Festival Park from Friday, August 20 to Sunday, August 22, one fewer day than its normal run. But those three days will be jam-packed with more than 75 entertainment acts and lots and lots of Jameson. 

The festival, which claims to be the world’s largest celebration of Celtic music and culture, will also run a free virtual program while the in-person festival is going on. This program will include live streams from the festival grounds and virtual performances from Ireland. 

Irish Fest’s lineup includes a variety of Irish, Scottish and Irish American artists. Some highlights include Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hill, Eileen Ivers and Gaelic Storm. Other special events include a Fiddle Extravaganza Show, Irish currach boat races and The Scattering musical finale.

“There’s truly something for everyone, and if you’ve never been, we want to extend a special invitation for you to explore the festival,” said Mike Mitchell, executive director of CelticMKE in a statement. “Many people come for the music, but they stay for our wide array of activities.”

This year, the festival will have some additional health and safety protocols. This includes going cashless to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Google Pay, Apple Pay, credit and debit cards will be accepted anywhere inside the festival. The festival grounds will also have seven cash-to-card machines available where cash can be exchanged for a prepaid debit MasterCard. 

But the event hosts will not require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent COVID-19 test, a protocol Summerfest and other festivals are implementing

Milwaukee Irish Fest will hold a ceremony honoring COVID-19 frontline workers on August 21 at 3:30 p.m. at the Miller Lite Stage. Frontline workers will also receive free admission from 2-3:30 p.m. that day.

“We’re encouraging our patrons to adhere to the recommendations of the CDC and the City of Milwaukee, including wearing face coverings indoors and in crowded spaces,” Mitchell said. 

Irish Fest will run from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday, 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Advance general admission tickets are available for $21 online or the day of with discounts available for seniors, active military and children 12 & under.

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