Crowds from the tri-state area witnessed a series of extraordinary performances from several popular Irish bands as Greenwood Lake’s first Irish Festival was launched during Memorial Day weekend, in this Hudson Valley community that harbors Orange County’s largest fresh water lake.
Despite the opening day’s rains, the bands played on to an enthusiastic audience. The Festival’s second day began with brilliant sunshine that presaged a great day for the Irish. The last segment of performances featured The Prodigals, an American Irish punk band that started in 1997, call their genre of music “jig punk,” that merges traditional Celtic melodic roots with rock rhythms.
Next up was Fiddle Frenzy, created in 2016 by Christy Brown, a long time fiddler of the Irish musician group, Emish, providing an outlet for energetic young musicians.
“The fiddlers, aged 7-18, learn many different styles of fiddling by ear and love to perform Irish, Scottish, Old Time and Bluegrass tunes,” said Brown. Fiddle Frenzy opened for the final performance of the evening from the band, Barley Juice.
Barley Juice is comprised of Bill Dominick, fiddle and backing vocals; Keith “Swanny” Swanson, vocals, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, tin whistle, bagpipes; Eric Worthington, bass, backing vocals; Kyf Brewer, vocals, guitar, accordion, piano, bagpipes, harmonica; and Remy Brewer, percussion. Barley Juice, originally from the Baltimore and Philadelphia area, played for the first time in Greenwood Lake.
Led by Kyf Brewer, who began as a bagpiper, the group began slowly. “When we started we only played bagpipes on St. Patrick’s Day, but then we started getting calls to perform at festivals,” said Brewer. They play an array of instruments and are talented and engaging musicians.
Greenwood Lake’s Irish Festival is one of many festivals and events scheduled for 2022. This year’s fireworks performance will be a ticketed two-day event, on July 1-2. Columbus Day weekend in October will feature 18-time Grammy winner, Jimmy Sturr, with special guests. The Lakeside Farmers Market, first introduced during 2021, will be expanding this year on every Saturday beginning on June 18 through October 29. For more information about additional events in the village of Greenwood Lake, including its free 2022 Concert Calendar at Waterfront Park, click on VillageofGreenwoodLake.org.
Photo credits: Peter Lyons Hall