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Say Hello to CelticMKE

Published September 27, 2016
By Ed Ward


Earlier this year after much discussion and analysis, the Irish Fest Board of Directors voted to introduce a new logo/icon which better represents the umbrella organization and its varied cultural and non-festival activities.The decision reflects the growth of the Irish Fest organization into an internationally known music and cultural event and acknowledges partnerships that extend well beyond the borders of Ireland.

The decision will have little effect on the look and feel of the festival itself and of course, our well known and loved mascots Paddy and Molly McFest will continue to be as visible as ever.

Growth and Prosperity

Since our first festival in 1981 the Irish and Celtic music industry has experienced dramatic growth and prosperity.  During this growth surge, Milwaukee Irish Fest has become a driving and innovating force.  It is recognized among the top Celtic cultural events in the world along with Celtic Connections in Scotland, Celtic Colours in Nova Scotia and Festival Interceltique de Lorient in France.

Milwaukee Irish Fest  Milwaukee Irish Fest - Entertainment  Milwaukee Irish Fest

As I have personally witnessed this commercial transformation in the past three and a half decades and commented on it, I have often used the imagery of Irish music as a river.  Starting with a trickle in the late 1970s it grew into a stream, growing bigger and wider pulled by the gravity of greater commercial popularity of Irish music and dance.  Many new musical streams branch off and flow away from the mainstream while others reconnect to the main musical branch. But the musical river grows and changes the landscape it travels through creating new routes and side channels to follow. Some musical styles flow intermittently high or low and an occasional sleeper style may emerge with great interest and success. It is very exciting to fully embrace the global community of talented and passionate Irish and Celtic artists and promoters who have brought us where we are today.  

The new CelticMKE brand embraces this larger and expanded musical world enabling us to better compete in a multitude of Celtic nations for funds, influence and new and innovative ideas.


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Milwaukee Irish Fest School of Music

School of Music

Milwaukee Irish Fest School of Music offers year-round instruction in instrumental Irish traditional dance music to students of all ages. Music lessons, group classes, and workshops are available.


Summer School

The Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School features classes that showcase the rich culture, history and traditions of Ireland and Irish America.


Milwaukee Irish Fest Foundation


The Milwaukee Irish Fest Foundation was formed in 1994 to advance the charitable and educational purposes for which Irish Festivals, Inc. was originally formed.


Irish Fest Scrapbook

Explore the history of Milwaukee Irish Fest in photos, audio, and video in this digital collection curated by the Ward Irish Music Archives.


Ed Ward
Ed Ward founded Milwaukee Irish Fest.  
He also founded the Irish Fest Foundation and the Ward Irish Music Archives.  

Ed served as a permanent member of the Irish Fest Board and served as the Chair of the Entertainment Committee.

View more blogs from Founder's Corner, here.



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