BEARD CONTEST - 3pm Saturday - Clans Area


Celtic Music


Saturday, May 20th

10 AM Spirited Lads
11 AM Piper Jones
Noon Opening Ceremonies
1 PM Spirited Lads
2 PM Piper Jones
3 PM Spirited Lads
4 PM Piper Jones
5 PM Spirited Lads
6 PM Piper Jones

Sunday, May 21st

11 AM Piper Jones
Noon Closing Ceremonies
1 PM Spirited Lads
2 PM Piper Jones
3 PM Spirited Lads
4 PM Piper Jones



Saturday, May 20th

10 AM Scott Ware
11 AM Da Terra Meiga
Noon Closed for Opening Ceremonies
1 PM Eagles Whistle
2 PM Celtic Coyotes
3 PM Welsh Singers
4 PM Shenanigans
5 PM Devil's Dram

Sunday, May 21st

10 AM The Kirkin
11 AM Da Terra Meiga
Noon Closed for the Closing Ceremonies
1 PM Celtic Singers
2 PM Michelle Buchanan
3 PM Iscuma
4 PM Red Light Ramblers


Performers Biographies

EJ Jones (aka, Piper Jones)

EJ Jones began his musical journey at the age of 11 when he began studying the traditional music of the Great Highland Bagpipe. At age 13 he had his first experience performing alone, busking on a street at a festival. Since then he has walked the two sides of the instrument: first in the lifetime study and performance of traditional music in competition, and second in the exposure to the public the power and wildness of the bagpipe as an instrument of the festival.

His first instructor was Michael Cusack at the St. Thomas Episcopal School in Houston TX, where he played in the school pipe band and took private lessons as well as attended the yearly “Balmoral” summer camp, which hosted instructors Jimmy McIntosh, James MacGregor, and Ronnie Lawrie. In high school he continued private study with Mike Cusack and joined the Hamilton Pipe Band, initially formed by Lars Sloan but quickly passed to the leadership of Donald MacPhee in 1989. The Hamilton Pipe Band was a competing band that under Donald MacPhee’s leadership went from the bottom of the Grade IV to becoming one of the best pipe corps in the US in the early 90s, winning the Grade II events at the US Championships in Alma, the Santa Rosa Highland Games, and Bethlehem Celtic Classic. EJ was a teenager playing in a band of adults and being challenged to keep up with some very good players.

At the same time EJ was performing regularly at the Texas Renaissance Festival, having co-founded the group Clandestine with Lars Sloan in 1991. He also played at a weekly session at The Brewery Tap, a bar in downtown Houston, a jam that would continue for more than a decade.

EJ attended Carnegie Mellon University in 1993 for two semesters under the direction of Jimmy McIntosh, where he continued intensive study of classical Scottish bagpipe music. At night he would busk in various locations around Pittsburgh with guitarist Jen Hamel. In 1994 he moved back to Houston with Hamel and reorganized the band Clandestine, which would eventually become a nationally touring quartet playing some of the best Celtic music festivals in the US, along with a few trips to the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in 1997, 2000, and 2002.

In 2002 while still touring and after recording four albums with Clandestine, EJ made his first solo album The Willow with the help of famed guitarist/producer Gerry O’Beirne and friends Rosie Shipley (fiddle), Wolf Loescher (percussion), and Randy Miller (bass/engineer). EJ, Rosie, and Gerry would later tour together until 2004 as the Willow Band.

EJ began making Scottish Smallpipes in 2003, and this became his career focus until 2013.

In 2013 he refocused on performing full-time and created the group Piper Jones Band, which has had recent successes in headlining festivals across the US. EJ is embarking on an ongoing recording effort beginning with the 2015 release The Wandering Stars with bouzouki player Frances Cunningham and many friends.


The Spirited Lads

The Spirited Lads play the tunes that you can’t resist singing along with; before you know it you are clapping your hands and stomping your feet to the infectious music. With stirring vocal harmonies complemented with acoustic instruments, the Lads liven up the room immediately.

Drawing from the legacy of great Irish folk songs and ballads, The Spirited Lads play the right balance of the sad songs, the sweet songs, the roaring songs, the whiskey songs, the sailing songs. They carry on the tradition of groups like The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners; and balladeers like Christy Moore and Paul Brady. The Lads delight both those that recall those artists and songs, and the new generation who are new to the history and legacy of the great Irish Music tradition.

Spirited Lads are:

Jim Hughens: Vocals, Guitar, Tin Whistle
Tim Whalen: Vocals, Mandolin, Harmonica
Albie Duarte (Doherty): Guitar, Vocals
Dave McDerry: Vocals, Banjo, Bouzouki, Guitar


Da Terra Meiga

With its English meaning, "from the witch land", this musical group states its place of origin (Galicia, Spain), in its original language, Galician. The original music of Da Terra Meiga is like Celtic folk with flamenco taste. The band consists of one guitar and two voices, although often different musicians are invited to play, a big list of spanish, american and latin music, with the primary band members, Laura Cruz and Ruben C. Ares. They’ve lived in Albuquerque for about two years, and they recorded their first album, “Guitar and Voice”, in the same city.


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Host Hotel: Marriott Pyramid North

Use the code:

Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival


Grant Oliver


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