St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Downtown Nashville Features Local Superstars and the Hottest Irish Bands

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Nashville Celebrates St. Patrick's Day With Irish Twist; Music City Irish Fest Set to Take Over Mid-town Saturday, March 12, 2016; Free Event Aims for Music City to Embrace Heritage & Explore Irish Musical Roots

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“We have an Irish sister city, so it’s only proper that we celebrate that relationship and St. Patrick’s Day in a big way.”

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Nashville is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with its biggest bash of Irish festivities ever.

The second annual Music City Irish Fest (MCIF) takes over mid-town Saturday, March 12 from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. The free street event on Demonbreun at the foot of the notorious “Naked Statue” and at the front door of the Harp and Fiddle Irish Pub aims for Music City to embrace its rich heritage and share its powerful Irish musical roots.

“One of Nashville’s sister cities is Belfast, Northern Ireland,” said Brenda Willis, Music City Irish Fest Executive Director. “We have an Irish sister city, so it’s only proper that we celebrate that relationship and St. Patrick’s Day in a big way.”

Exciting headliners include We Banjo 3, The Willis Clan, Altan and more.We Banjo 3, the award-winning quartet (in spite of their name) from Galway, Ireland, is known for bringing the house down with their lively mixture of Irish music, old-time American and Bluegrass influences.

"We are thrilled to be a part of this festival,” said Enda Scahill of We Banjo 3. “We’re honored to share our interpretation of the closely entwined music of Ireland and America with the Music City audience." Nashville’s own, The Willis Clan, is an up-and-coming band with its roots in world-class Irish music and dance, but the family of 12 children also have pop and bluegrass albums. The Willis Clan has its own reality TV show on TLC and they appeared on Season 9 of America’s Got Talent. Altan, the legendary band from Donegal, Ireland provides a mix of old Irish songs along with hard hitting reels and jigs.

Northern Ireland duo Beat Root and the winners of the Belfast Songwriters Festival are set to take the stage throughout the day. Nashville’s award-winning Southern Academy Irish Dancers and the Nashville Pipes and Drums are known to tear up the stage,
providing fans with a unique taste of Irish authenticity.

“There is a magical aspect to the Irish music, dance and culture,” said Willis. “Young people will get first-hand, in-person contact with dancers, teachers, musicians and instrument makers. All these people are passionate about passing this tradition down from one generation to another."

Last year more than 10,000 people attended the inaugural event. This year more than 20,000 people are expected to take part. Other highlights include traditional Irish food and drink, crafts, sports and instruments. Music City Irish Fest is an exciting new festival being added to the local calendar which will be an annual event held every March in Nashville.

Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President Tourism Ireland, United States and Canada, said “Tourism Ireland is delighted to once again support the Music City Irish Fest. Our hope is that the great music and dancing on show in Nashville over the St Patrick’s period will whet appetites for what is on offer at the great festivals of Ireland and encourage vacationers to choose Ireland in 2016. There are deep rooted and long standing links between Ireland and the southern states of the US and St Patrick’s week offers us a
great opportunity to celebrate these connections."

MCIF 2016 is sponsored by Tourism Ireland, Dark Horse Institute, WSM Radio, Lightning 100, CIE Tours, Harp and Fiddle, Guinness, Yazoo, Lyft, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, McNamara’s Irish Pub, Prime Tours, Sister Cities of Nashville, Yazoo, Barnes and Noble, The Keenan Group, Fireball Designs and CapStar Bank.

Follow us: Twitter @musiccityirish #musicityirishfest
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Go Green. Go Nashville. Go Ireland.

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Brenda Willis
since: 01/2015
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