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March 8-10th, 2019 
Motherlode Fairgrounds

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Celtic Heritage Celebration


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On March 8-10th, 2019, the Gold Rush community of Sonora, will showcase the sights and sounds of medieval combat.
This will be no medieval dinner show however, or acting troupe trying to play make-believe, this will be hard-core, full contact jousting, at its most extreme!

Real Combat

For the first time ever- “Knights’ of Mayhem”, from the National Geographic Tv show, have challenged some of the stars from the History Channels, “Full Metal Joust”, to a full-scale, no holds bar, extreme jousting match, that has never been seen in modern history!

In 2011, the Sonora Celtic Faire was the set location for the second episode of the National-Geographic show “Knights of Mayhem”. At the time the reigning champion of hard-core jousting was Sir-Charlie Andrews.

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Years later, Sir Charlie is still up to defend his title at Sonora again. In fact Charlie has made a recent statement that he will defend his title against all challengers in the rain or snow if need be!

At the 2019 Sonora event, the public will be able to enjoy the sporting event from an arena that is 70% covered from the effects of mother nature, so rain, shine, or snow, all challenges will be accepted.

Again, the Sonora Celtic Faire is bringing the best of jousting to the entire world, and hopefully it will be a major sport in the next Olympic Summer Games….do not miss this....

The Real McKenzies

The Real McKenzies

That year was somewhere around 1992, the setting was Vancouver Canada,and McKenzie was looking for something new, since his band TT Racer had recently disbanded. Who would have thought that a great deal of fun could be had pilfering your parents closet of old kilts and high socks to wear on a stage on which you would perform cover songs of various bands, altered slightly, to fit a scottish theme. Example: I Wanna Be Your Scot as opposed to I Wanna Be Your Dog. You get the point. Someone probably joked, If were gonna wear kilts, we might as well have a piper too.

While certainly not a new angle in rock music, the bagpipes were only ever used in a couple of songs at most by various bands, never a mainstay of an entire set. Soon though, it was apparent that this was a distinctive sound that could be finely tuned, with the soaring pipes complimenting the ferocious electric guitars and vise-versa. Of course the first thing that springs to mind is the word gimmick. Sure, I guess thats applicable here. But before you go taking things way to seriously, lets also not forget the concept of show buisness. People annually spend a shitload of money for the sole purpose of being entertained. So why not go out of your way to be entertainment? That was all a moot point with the McKenzies anyway. Because they just wanted to have fun, and you are more than welcome to have fun with them, as hundereds of thousands have.

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Since forming in 1988, Tempest has delivered a globally-renowned hybrid of high-energy Folk Rock fusing Irish reels, Scottish ballads, Norwegian influences and other world music elements. The last 28 years have seen the San Francisco Bay Area based act release fifteen critically acclaimed CDs and play more than 2,000 gigs. It's also enjoyed an evolving line-up that's enabled musicianship and creativity to rise with each new member.

Hailing from Oslo, Norway, founding member and lead singer/electric mandolinist, Lief Sorbye, is recognized as a driving force in the modern folk-rock movement. He started Tempest after years of touring and recording on the folk circuit. San Francisco fiddler Kathy Buys brings her international award winning playing to the Tempest stage. Her experience performing world-fusion music with high energy dance bands combined with many years of playing Irish traditional music in America and Ireland makes her a perfect fit for Tempest. Driving in from the North Bay area is Josh Fossgreen, an exceptional musical talent whose innovative bass textures add a rich dimension to the Tempest soundscape. And Northern California's own young Indian-American progressive guitarist, Ab Menon, skids to a flaming stop on the Tempest stage, replete with flying dreadlocks, dazzling string stylings and a sense of ticklish fun. Cuban-born drummer Adolfo Lazo, an original Tempest member, colors the band's sound with inventive rhythms, and rock-steady drumming.

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Wicked Tinkers

Wicked Tinkers

Prepare yourself for a wild ride with WICKED TINKERS! Pioneers of the growing Tribal Celtic movement, the Tinkers have been playing haunting, heart-pounding bagpipes and irresistible tribal drums as a professional touring band since 1995. With the addition, several years back, of the mesmerizing drone of the Australian didgeridoo and Bronze Age Irish horn, the magic was complete. Sit back and be transported to an earlier time in Scotland and Ireland, when battle cries filled the air and strange, unheard-of creatures roamed the night. Or better yet, get on your feet and let your body move to ancient rhythms and forgotten sounds.



The is a New and Exciting all Girls Celtic Rock and Pipe band. Don't missout on the epic debut at Sonora Celtic Faire this year!

Golden Bough

Golden Bough

Rooted in the traditional music of the seven Celtic nations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, The Isle of Man, French Brittany and Spanish Galicia), Golden Bough has become a popular and in-demand group on both sides of the Atlantic. Since their formation in 1980, this trio of
modern day minstrels has traveled great distances to numerous countries, to bring their music to enthusiastic folk fans the world over.
Backing themselves on an array of acoustic instruments; Celtic harp, guitar, octave-mandolin, mandolin, accordion, violin, penny-whistle
and bodhran, they blend their voices in the pristine harmonies that have become a Golden Bough trademark. To date they have released
over 30 recordings. In the recording studio, as well as on stage, Golden Bough captures the essence and joy of traditional music.

Black Irish Band

Black Irish Band

The Black Irish Band is celebrating 29 years of performance and Twenty-Five CD albums. Hailing from the historic Gold Rush Country of America, the four member Black Irish Band have a musical style that is as timeless as the rugged landscape of the west, a tribute to the people whose lives were spent building the world we now take for granted. The band has a large compliment of traditional maritime and railroad music, as well as ethnic tunes in their repertoire. They excel at Irish & Scottish, Italian, and American folk music with an assortment of original songs and traditional western ballads. The bands musical style captures the spirit of the immigrants of this land, the men and women who tamed the Wild West.

Michael Mullen

Michael Mullen

Michael loves fiddling, whether it's playing Celtic rock in front of thousands, or just enjoying some quiet tunes with a few friends. He has drawn the bow across the strings all his life, and continues to explore new horizons and delve deeper into well-known territories as well. As a California native (born in Fresno, grew up in Reedley) he was lucky to grow up in a town with very strong local support for music in the schools, where he played in school and youth orchestras (and every other musical group at Reedley High). He did not truly learn the simple joy of playing his instrument, though, until he began exploring "alternative" musical styles such as folk fiddling, country, swing-jazz, old time, etc. It's in Scottish and Irish music that Michael has found his true heart's home: no other kind of music both speaks to his soul and satisfies his musical mind like the power and plaint of Scottish and Irish reels, jigs, airs, and songs. Michael has performed many different styles of music with many different bands and ensembles over the years. A short list might include Tempest, Caliban, The Cadillac Cowboys, The Sons of the San Joaquin, Melanie O'Reilly, Shay Black, and several ensembles of his own such as Pangur Ban, Sgian Dhu, and GreenBridge. Michael has been known as a high-energy performer for years, receiving much praise from critics, the audience, and the press for his studio and live performances. He has attracted a following in his own right as a dynamic performer in both the acoustic traditional scene and as a rock violinist, and although both his performance style and his fiddling ability have matured over time, Michael still receives rave reviews from press and fans alike.

Cooking with Turf

Cooking With Turf

Cooking With Turf is a traditional Celtic band that can play rollicking jigs and reels
as well as sweet and sensitive waltzes, airs and songs.
They will make you laugh out loud with some of the funny songs they know,
or maybe you'll get a bit misty on some of the typically poignant ballads.
Cooking With Turf is...
Richard Ferry on wooden flute, whistles and guitar,
Steve Kenworthy on fiddle and guitar,
Ken Van de Kieft on various mandolines, dulcimers and guitar,
and Jared Myers on Scottish bagpipes, smallpipes and guitar.

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Pipe Bands
Stag and Thistel

Fresno Stag and Thistle Pipes & Drums

The Fresno Stag and Thistle Pipes & Drums was formed as a main offshoot of the founding of the Piping Society of Central California in 1990 as a non-profit organization with the following purpose: "To preserve and promote the great highland bagpipe, excellence in piping and drumming, and the love of Scottish music." Now in its 25th year, the band has already accomplished many of its goals. The band teaches piping and drumming for free to anyone who has a genuine interest and willingness to work hard to learn. The band has also sent numerous pipers, drummers and dancers to summer schools and camps when possible. Over the years, the band has played at innumerable parades, dinners, parties, funerals, weddings, ceilidhs, holiday events, highland games and festivals from San Luis Obispo to Mammoth Lakes and San Diego to Sacramento.

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Emerald  Pipe Band

Emerald Society Bagpipe Band

Located in Ripon CA The Emerald Society Bagpipe Band features bagpipes and drums since 2005. It is the premier pipe band in the Central Valley of CA. It has performed throughout CA including: Modesto, Stockton, Fresno, Angels Camp, Murphys, Sacramento, Sonora, Bakersfield, Oakdale, Ripon and other cities in Southern CA. The band performs sets in both Irish and Scottish music. The band can perform a variety of events including: weddings, parades, cultural events, funerals and private parties. The band can provide solo pipers, a few or a full band with or without drums. We offer free instruction to those who would like to learn to play the bagpipes or drums. Our band is a family oriented group with members ranging from 7 to 70 years of age.

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"Organizers Patrick, Gary & Lissa have picked out the finest whiskies for the tasting room. It's hard work, but the Celtic Faire staff are very dedicated to good whiskey tasting".

Whiskey Hunters
Whiskey lineup