EAST DURHAM – Music lovers came out in droves Saturday to the third annual Gavinstock, an annual Irish music festival held at Gavin’s Irish Country Inn in Cornwallville, outside East Durham.
The multi-day festival started Friday, Aug. 17, and continues through Sunday, Aug. 19.
The festival resonates with New York and Irish-American culture — green shirts, Yankee gear, Irish flat caps, and a kilt were among the common sights at Gavinstock.
“The goal is to keep Irish-American culture alive and well in the Catskills,” said Bernadette Gavin-Palmieri, owner of Gavin’s Irish Country Inn and the creator of Gavinstock. “We want to start the revitalization of the Irish culture and music festivals, and bring it into 2018 and beyond.”
The festival had many bands from New York’s Irish music scene, including headliner Shilelagh Law, are one of the biggest New York Irish bands, according to Gavin-Palmieri. Other major acts include The Narrowbacks, The Prodigals, Celtic Cross, Jameson’s Revenge, The FDNY Pipes & Drums, Ray Coleman, The Canny Brothers, Farrell School of Irish Dance, Bangers & Mash, and Slainté. The festival’s master of ceremony was Sean Ruane.
“Shilelagh Law has been here at this festival for three years now,” said Gavin-Palmieri. “We hope to have them come back to the festival in 2019 as well.”
Members of Shilelagh Law were born in the close-knit Irish-American neighborhood of Yonkers and the Bronx, according to the band’s website. The group is known for hits like “Christmas in New York” and “The One and Nine.”
Keith Fallon, of The Canny Brothers, was thrilled to be back playing at Gavinstock again.
“She [Gavin-Palmieri] is so great to the musicians and to the people here. They are awesome,” Fallon said. “We always come back to Gavin’s, we play all of the festivals. If it wasn’t for Bernadette [Gavin-Palmieri] and the people here, the festivals, the culture, it would fall to the wayside.”
“Our goal is to maintain this festival,” said Gavin-Palmieri. “We like the size of this right now; it keeps everything authentic and has a sense of community here. We want to keep it maintained.”
The bands played on two music stages for the festival. The first was a large outdoor, main stage. The second, a more intimate stage, was located in Gavin’s Pub.
Beyond the music, Gavinstock also offers family-friendly amenities. There was a large playground, outdoor games, and a large dance floor for everybody to enjoy. There were also vendors selling T-shirts, knick-knacks and traditional Irish clothing. A food truck, a food stand, beer truck and Gavin’s Pub were open for drinks and food.
Gavinstock will wrap up the annual festival Sunday.
Later this year, Gavin’s will also host its 11th annual Guinness Oktoberfest.