With an amazing variety of music, dance, language, and arts and crafts events on offer in Peel, Ramsey and Douglas.
Yn Chruinnaght 2014 is very much a family affair, bringing together far-flung cousins in a festival suitable for all ages. During the main festival in Peel (16th -20th July), there will be a return visit from Jamie Smith's MABON, a lively Welsh group with strong Manx connections, who won 'Best Group' in the 2014 Spiral Earth Awards (Friday 18th July) and who are renowned for their energetic live sets. With family roots firmly entrenched in the Donegal Gaeltacht, traditional musicians The Friel Sisters - Anna, Sheila and Clare - though born and brought up in Glasgow, play a mixture of Irish music and song on fiddle, flute and uilleann pipes (Saturday 19th July). Their debut album attracted rave reviews, describing their 'raw natural talent delivered with passion and confidence by three sublimely gifted musicians'.
Photo - MABON.
Breton brothers Eliaz and Meriadeg AKA Ar Vreudeur Lorho-Pasco are a Biniou-Bombarde duo (Breton bagpipe and reeded instrument) whose parents used to come to Yn Chruinnaght in the 1980s, and they will give a recital (Wednesday 16th July) and play for Breton dancing led by Jowdy Davey (Thursday 17th July). If you've never heard this sort of music before or tried the dancing, you will find it infectious and instinctive.
Photo - Ar Vreudeur Lorho-Pasco. Courtesy of Toby Lowe
Yn Chruinnaght will also welcome talented duo The Brim, with Jamie Toms (guitar) and Alan Pengelly (accordion) accompanying dances for a Cornish ceili (troyl) called by Julian Whiting (Thursday 17th July); and entertainment at a number of events from Frankie Archer & James Taylor, a talented young fiddle and guitar duo based in the north of England.
Photo - Frankie Archer and James Taylor.
A special feature this year will be a visit from Scottish craftsperson Ruth Black who will be teaching Celtic knotwork embroidery workshops (Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th July). Ruth runs a family business with her mother and daughter at www.annamacneil.co.uk and their work will be for sale at the Artisan Craft Fair on Saturday 19th July from 12-4pm in the Corrin Hall, Peel. This is a return to Yn Chruinnaght's roots in a celebration of Island of Culture.
Photo - Ruth Black wallhanging.
Plus, there will be performances from the fantastic body of top-class musicians, singers and dancers here in the Isle of Man, including internationally renowned singer and guitarist, Davy Knowles (Wednesday 16th July), who is currently working on his Island Bound documentary, connecting the blues performer with traditional music roots. Other Manx acts include The Mollag Band who will be launching their eagerly anticipated album Afloat, dance group Ny Fennee (both Sunday 20th July), Rachel Hair's harp group Claasagh (Thursday 17th July), The Fecktones (Wednesday 16th July) and young singer-songwriter Azariah (Saturday 20th July).
Photo - Davey Knowles
The festival is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the famous Manx artist Archibald Knox (1864-1933) with a beautiful Knox-style logo specially designed by Nicola Dixon, a lecture by Yvonne Cresswell, and several events that have been designed to coordinate with MNH's fabulous Celtic Style exhibition at the House of Manannan.
Photo - The Friel Sisters.
Yn Chruinnaght tickets are now on sale from Shakti Man (Ramsey), Celtic Gold (Peel), Peter Norris Music (Douglas) and Thompson Travel (Port Erin). For online PayPal sales (including an online only Festival Pass for just £35) and further information, go to: www.ynchruinnaght.com.
There are a limited number of tickets for the two embroidery workshops - available only from the festival office for £15 (£10 U18): 01624 695787 or email@example.com for more details.
Photo - The Brim
Community events are at the heart of the festival, and this year, there will be free events in the run up to the festival as part of Manx National Week, starting with a Manx themed storytime at Ramsey Library at 11am on Saturday 5th July, Manx, Irish and Menorcan (yes, Menorcan!) dancing in Mooragh Park from 2-4pm on Sunday 6th July, a stall at Tynwald Fair on Monday 7th July where you can buy tickets, gifts, hear live music and pick up a programme, plus the annual Ian O'Leary lecture at Ramsey Town Hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday 8th July where Yvonne Cresswell will talk about 'Archibald Knox and The Deer's Cry'.
Yn Chruinnaght is grateful for the generous support of Culture Vannin, the Isle of Man Arts Council and Manx Telecom. Full details of their programme are available online on their newly re-designed website, where you'll find promo videos showing the highlights of previous festivals. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook. Try something new for Island of Culture - be part of the Island's own gathering of Celts!