by Brian Orr
HUERFANO- The fifth annual Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival ended Sunday with a rousing cheer to the Scottish poet Robert Burns and a traditional Burns Supper, albeit eight months late.
Though the date was off, the spirit was there, with a sellout number of people willing to actually try the traditional serving of haggis (containing sheep′s ′pluck′ (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal′s stomach for approximately three hours.) The festival haggis didn’t have ALL that in it, but enough to be nauseous.
In fact, just about every single concert of the festival was sold out, standing room only. Teachers and performers reported that their classes have never been as full as this year.
“Without a doubt, the attendance was very high,” Said Festival Director Barbara Yule. “It’s so heartening that in this tough economic time, people still came out and supported the arts- both locals and people from outside the county!”
The quality and level of the performances was again outstanding. One of the musical headliners, David Coe, commented in the middle of his performance, “I am totally amazed- I love this festival; these little towns are running an international festival- it’s unbelievable!”
The financial impact the festival had on the County is hard to judge, but the influx of hundreds of people into the county, buying food, staying in hotels and shopping surely will give local merchants a shot in the arm for the shoulder season.
On a personal note, I am very proud to have been on the Board of Directors of this festival for the past five years, and watching it grow and mature. I am also very proud that the Huerfano Journal has been able to play a part in promoting an event that so embodies aspects we believe in; that Huerfano County is a terrific place full of talented people, and that when all three communities come together, amazing things can be accomplished.
The Board is full of wonderful, focused people, all donating their time, energy, and more often than not, money. The planning and organizing an event this large begins months in advance, and I know Barb Yule is already planning out the 2010 artists in her head.
What really makes the festival come off so well however, are the number of volunteers from all across the county who come out to help pull this off- and so much of it is behind the scenes. A heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone who was there to take tickets, sell CDs, hang signs, work the lights and sound, cook food, staff the office, offer accommodations to the performers… the list goes on and on, and we thank you all.
Last but not least, without the generous financial support of people who believe in supporting the County and share a love of Celtic music and culture, this festival would not be happening.
Thank you, and we hope to see you all again in 2010!