Updated September 16, 2021
Green Linnet Irish Music and Dance Weekend
by Ryan Thomson
Monticello, New York, was the continuing site of Green Linnet's Irish Weekend, in Sept, 1995. This music and dance party has become so popular that the host resort had arranged for additional housing at a neighboring hotel with shuttle busses running back and forth night and day. Concerts, dance workshops, and lectures were plentiful, with several events going on simultaneously throughout the day and evening. Scheduled events ran from Friday afternoon till late, on Saturday from immediately after breakfast to 2 AM, and on Sunday till 5pm, with informal sessions continuing even as I left at 6pm.
Early risers on Saturday were greeted by the music of impromptu sessions of pipers, fiddlers, and accordionists who had played throughout the night till the light of day. The scheduled events were not strictly Irish but included other Celtic and Canadian music, and Appalachian dancing. Being a fiddler I was fascinated by a multimedia lecture on the life and music of Francis O'Neill, the former Chicago Police Chief who made a point of hiring immigrant musicians to the force so as to support traditional Irish culture.
I had ample opportunity to chat and share music with many performers who record on the Green Linnet label. This was possible because of the way that the weekend is organized. Everyone, performers and attendees alike, share meals, walk the same hallways, and are generally very sociable. Just when you think you've heard the best fiddling of your life at a scheduled concert, a visit to the hotel lobby reveals an informal session with players of all ages making amazing music together. The nature of these sessions changes every few minutes as new musicians join in, and others leave. This is true folk music, where well known performers and newcomers alike, join together in music and song just for the joy of it.
The intensity and energy of the musicians was possibly exceeded only by the large number of set and ceili dancers who danced tirelessly through out the day, and continued to encourage the scheduled dance bands for more more music, even as the clock passed the 2 AM mark. The best part of the Green Linnet weekend was the fun of sharing a celebration of Celtic culture with so many folks of like interest, all in the same place, at the same time. Highly recommended!
Written by Ryan Thomson in 1995
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