Welcome to Berea, Kentucky

and to the 11th Berea Celtic Fest.  

August 14-16, 2020.

The 2020 edition of Berea Celtic Fest became a virtual Facebook event with lots of terrific musicians, who contributed  and shared their talents with a large number of people. This was an experiment, not planned into details, but more like "let's see what happens". Friends from across the South and Midwest were generous to play brand new pieces and others dug in the memory box and found excellent music. Jeremy Wade held a Bodhran workshop on zoom, which drew 12 participants, including a German and two Canadians. I was very pleased to see that some local musicians and friends offered their assistance. So thanks a bunch to Al, Alice and Ruth, to kelly Caldwell and Friends and to Deborah Thompson. But again, the veterans stepped up and clarified how important this small, cozy gathering is in their mindset. It was totally worth following all the clips and comments from Friday till Monday. 

Thanks to the sponsors, who believed that we could pull something worthy off.

Sune Frederiksen, Director

Folk Circle Association

Contributions may be sent to:

Berea Celtic Festival, PO Box 488, Berea, KY 40403.

BECOME a Berea Celtic Festival FACEBOOK FRIEND.

It's worth it.

2019 Program

Friday, August 16

Kentucky Artisan Center

12:00 PM: Fiddler and violin builder, Russell Hopper plays Irish tunes for lunch.

Russel Acton Folk Center, 212 Jefferson St.

6:15 PM: Workshop, Irish set dancing, Allison Asay Duvall. FREE OF CHARGE.

7:00 PM: Ceili (Irish family friendly dance) Instructor Allison Asay Duvall of the McTeggart Dancers, Lexington and Gan Anam.

8:30 PM: Contra dance w/Joe Wilkie and Gan Anam.

Suggested donation: from $3 and up. 

Berea Center for the Arts, 315 Chestnut St.

7:30 PM - 8:15 PM: Concert Jil Chambless, Dan Vogt, Steven Payne.

8:15 PM - 9:30 PM: Concert: Bella Issakova, Don Penzien.

Suggested donation $5 and up.

10:00 PM: Session for all musicians.

Saturday, August 17

Berea Farmers Market, 428 Chestnut St.

10:30 AM: Turlach Boylan, Davey Mathias, Eddie Jones. Donations.

Madison County Library, Chestnut Street

2:00 PM: Skip Cleavinger and Rebecca Baumbach: Family friendly presentation

                of instruments used in the Celtic tradition. 

Robie Books, Chestnut Street

1:15 PM: Robert Tincher - A journey to Scotland through music, story-telling

                and dialogue. Donation $3 and up.

Kentucky Artisan Center

1:00 - 2:15 PM: Set Course (Jeremy Wade, Justin Bridges). Donation.

Berea College Visitor Center & Shoppe, Main Street

1:00 - 2 :00 PM: Gan Anam. Donation.

Papa Leno's

1:00 - 2:00 PM: Jil Chambless & Dan Vogt.

Union Church, Cowan Chapel

3:00 PM: Mark Rosenthal - songs from Ireland and bazooka.

4:00 PM: John Skelton - Breton & Galician pipes and flute presentation, and mini-concert. Suggested donation $5 and up.

Russel Acton Folk Center, 212 Jefferson Street. Donations.

3:00 PM: Dance workshop: Irish Kerry Sets w/Joe Wilkie and Set Course.

4:15 PM: Rebecca Baumbach: Fiddle workshop for youth; intro to Celtic music.

Sessions, Short Street, behind Gumbo shop and Boone Tavern.

12:00 - 1:00 PM: Mark Rosenthal

1:00 - 2:00 PM: Don Penzien, Steven Payne

2:00 - 3:00 PM: Russell Hopper

3:00 - 4:00 PM: Jeni Balcom

Boone Tavern patio

4:00 - 5:00 PM: Randy Clepper & Friends

Union Church Lawn


7:30 PM: The Celtic Concert

at Union Church featuring

John Skelton, Justin Bridges, Russell Hopper, Jeremy Wade, Jil Chambless/Don Penzien/Steven Payne/Dan Vogt, Skip Cleavinger/Rebecca Baumbach, Jeni Balcom, Randy Clepper, Turlach Boylan/Davey Matthias, Bella Issakova, Gan Anam, and more. 

Admission: $20, students $5, Priority seating $50. Kids under 10 free. 

For the Saturday workshops and presentation we would like the participants and audience to donate on a sliding scale from $3 and up. 

Sunday, August 18

Union Church

10:30 AM: Celtic inspired service w/Jeni Balcom on Irish harp.

Hotel Boone Tavern

12:15 PM: Jeni Balcom on Irish harp at the Boone Tavern brunch.

Kentucky Artisan Center

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM: Turlach Boylan, Dave Mathias, Eddie Jones. 

Monday, August 19

WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hours, Lexington

6:45 PM: Host Michael Johnathon welcomes Turlach Boylan and Davey Mathias as special guests from Berea. Ticket info at 859-255--5700. 

Hotel Boone Tavern

Group Code: 119300.

Double/double $99.00 + tax, King $117.00 + tax.

Prices do NOT include breakfast. Phone: 859-985-3700.

Group block guaranteed till July 17.

Holiday Inn Express

219 Paint Lick Road (I-75, Exit 76)

Phone: 859-985-5500.

Includes nice breakfast and indoor pool.

Standard king and standard double queen rooms $95 + tax.

Double queen suites and double king suites $104 + tax.

Available for both musicians and guests.

Quality Inn

365 Peggy Flats Road, Berea. Exit 77. 

Phone: 859-986-9627

$72.00 per night + tax. 2-bed room. 

Includes comp. breakfast and indoor pool.

Code: Berea Celtic Fest

America's Best Value Inn

196 Prince Royal Drive.  Exit 76.

Phone: 859-985-8000.

1-2 persons in each room: $69.00 + tax.

Group code: Sune special rate.

Continental breakfast, outdoor pool,

pet friendly ($10 per pet per night).

Other motels and B&Bs available as well.

Beanie Odell and

Vincent Fogerty,

have moved to Ireland . Both have participated in previous Berea events several times with great success and enthusiasm. 

Together they are the Red Wellies.

Not only is Berea known as the "Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky", but this quaint little town located right on I-75 where the Bluegrass meets the Appalachian is like a bee hive filled with dance and live music with the beautiful Berea College campus right in the center of town.

Berea is the hometown of The McLain Family Band, balladeer Robert Tincher, Christmas Country Dance School, Hands Four Spring Dance Weekend, several arts and crafts events, dulcimer maker Warren A. May, and a bunch of wonderful musicians such as Donna and Lewis Lamb, Al and Alice White, The New Coon Creek Girls, J.P. Pennington of Exile, and Randall Conn and his bluegrass friends. Even the Judds lived here. And Beverly Buchanan graduated from Berea College.

The famous Renfro Valley and The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame are located only 10 miles from Berea in Rockcastle Co.

We are very content about last year's Celtic gathering and happening which was filled with good solid educational components, great quality music and dance from the Isles across the pond. The area around Berea was mainly settled by the Scots and Irish, so we feel a strong connection. Let the chemistry work!

In recent decades our region has attracted dozens of quality musicians - both native-Irish and American-born - who have dedicated themselves towards developing an approach to "Celtic" music that might be described as "pure drop". The musicians developed the skills - within their heart and hands - that allow them to readily assimilate their playing into more established musical circles, such as those found in Chicago, St. Louis and in several cities in the East. Vibrant "pure drop" teaching traditions have sprung up in nearby Cincinnati, Asheville, Knoxville and more recently Kansas City.

The Berea Celtic Festival brings together some of the primary carriers of this emerging regionwide scene and presents the music via informal, accessible, collaborative workshops and sessions. In many cases the music will be complimented by skilled dance enthusiasts thus completing the energetic circle that is ceol agus rince - i.e. the music and the dance.

No such Scene would be complete unless ample opportunity was granted to various ballad traditions that have sprung from The Isles - be assured that you will find ample opportunity to both sing and to listen throughout the festival weekend.

Please come and join and aid us continue a going-forward tradition by supporting this annual Berea Celtic Fest.

See list of partners on the last page.

A new generation of traditional, authentic Celtic music is ready to commit an arm and a leg for their passion: Celtic music. Simone Westerkamp and Friends are ready to rock the town.

Justin Bridges and Jeremy Wade aka Set Course, known all over the Ohio Valley region for their traditional Irish music and support of the Celtic tradition. Really appreciate their continuous support of the gathering in Berea. Come enjoy the bodhran, fiddle and nyckelharpa. 

Tim Benson from Rochester, NY brought much quality and enthusiasm to Berea Center for the Arts at the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 festivals. So did Cathy Wilde from Louisville. 

Irish harpist Jeni Balcom of Cincinnati John Skelton of Mercer Co. on flute, and Larry Green of Bardstown on fiddle.

Jeni has graciously participated each year, except for one year. She is the recipient of the 2019 Musicians Award.

Turlach Boylan, Kansas City, KS/N. Ireland,

Four Leaf Peat, Knoxville, TN. Eddie Jones, Kansas, Skip Cleavinger and Rebekka Baumbach, Bowling Green, KY, Jeremy Wade, Lexington, KY, Jil Chambless and Dan Vogt, Tuscaloosa, AL, Don Penzien, Raleigh, NC, Andi Hearn, Columbia, SC, Russell Hopper and Herb Williams, both Knoxville, TN, Frances Cunningham, Nashville, TN, Doug Mast, Cincinnati, OH.

List of partners

on the last page.

Russel Acton Folk Center on Jefferson Street. This lovely log building is inspired by a Danish village community center and built in 1984. 

This is also the home of

The Folk Circle Association of Berea.

See www.berea-folk-circle.org

Hotel Boone Tavern at College Square is a Berea Flagship owned by

 Berea College.

Many of our musicians and friends stay

here during the Berea Celtic Festival.

Berea Center for the Arts, 315 Chestnut Street, presenting Festival Partner, is located in the former movie theater. The balcony has been turned into a unique, rustic auditorium that can seat 50 people. New floor, new fans.

This building is now the new home of Noodle Nirvana - Berea's newest restaurant. Pay it a visit.

Four Leaf Peat of Knoxville, TN

provides great reels and jigs.

The Music Makers, Inc. is an instrument store and recording studio located on N. Broadway in Old Town, Berea. Also known for small concerts and music lessons.

Owners are Randall Conn and Danny Barnes, both sought-after bluegrass musicians, with numerous appearences at the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Renfro Valley and WoodSongs. Great soundmen as well.

Phone: 986-3616. See MySpace.

Festival coordinator:

Sune Frederiksen

The Folk Circle Association of Berea

Artistic advisors:

Various musicians

Community partners:

Berea Tourism, Folk Circle Association & Madison County Public Libraries.


Sune Frederiksen, Laura Bost, Dennis Jacobs.

Website, photos and text:

Sune Frederiksen