The 2017 lineup for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is merely weeks away from becoming official, but the scuttlebutt surrounding the event has it that Celtic music performers will not be included on the roster.
While organizers are keeping mum over the reasons for the omission, some insiders claim that many of the staff and volunteers are simply sick of the attitudes of rabid Celtic fans attending the festival that annually takes place at Gallagher Park in August.
“A lot of them are annoying, not only with their drunken and rowdy behaviour, but also in terms of being smug and self-righteous, like it’s the only music worth listening to,” said one insider. “It’s such an elitist attitude that borders on racism.”
“Ach, aye, Laddie,” said one Celtic supporter while swilling at The Black Dog pub in Old Strathcona. “Celtic music represents our heritage and a proud past as one of the greatest ethnicities ever to grace the planet. But that wee bit of pride doesn’t mean we’re racist or elitist! Just better than everyone else!”
“It’s the only musical style at the festival that’s designated by a capital letter,” declared a more sober woman at the bar. “You don’t see that with blues, or folk, or country, or roots or anything else there! But Celtic? Capital C, baby! That speaks volumes about its musical superiority!”
Event producer Terry Wickham was unavailable for comment on the issue, but one volunteer believed another motive for banning Celtic music is that the genre is a reminder of Canada’s ties to the British Empire, something that doesn’t sit too well with Edmonton’s more ethnically-diverse population.
“If they scrap Celtic content, the festival will slit its throat,” offered one volunteer bookkeeper. “Celtic fans drink a hell of a lot more than other patrons when they show up. Their absence will send booze sales into a tailspin into one of our porta-potties.”
Other more mainstream fans were more receptive to the change. “Well, at least that means a lot less vomit to scrape off my sandals at the end of the day,” said one woman.
“I hope they add more bluegrass instead,” added one old-timer. “Banjos I can take. But bagpipes? Their screeching makes me cringe and penny whistles only trigger my tinnitus.”
If the Celtic ban is indeed true, a contingent of diehard Celtic fans plan to protest the decision. One tactic will have them wearing kilts during the festival, marching down the hill to the front of the stage and facing the audience. At that point, participants will lift their kilts as a sign of protest.
“That will sure make a statement,” said a folk festival volunteer. “Let’s see how that statement measures up.”