by Brenda Hillegas
Packing, road trips, bus tickets, train tickets, hotel rooms, unpacking…a few of the things on my mind when The Glengarry Bhoys post new tour dates. A personal favorite, and great friends of mine since 2002, I’m thrilled to say that The Bhoys are coming to me this weekend! I could ride a bike to this festival if I wanted to…but I won’t.
The band is making an appearance at the 17th annual Celtic Heritage Festival at Graeme Park in Horsham, PA on July 20th and 21st. If you aren’t familiar with them, this is the perfect opportunity to meet The Glengarry Bhoys along with all of the other Celtic music Graeme Park has to offer- Seamus Kennedy, Blackwater, The Celtic Martins, Carl Peterson, Melinda Crawford, Ruthanne Ankney, Irish dancers and more. Though we can’t speak for the rest of the bands, The Glengarry Bhoys’ fiery fiddler, D’Arcy Furniss is ready with a definition of the Bhoys’ music.
“We offer a hybrid of traditional Celtic and contemporary music that is pleasing to music enthusiasts of all sorts. Our music is strongly influenced by Scottish and Irish heritages while adding flavors of modern rock and world accompaniments. It is this blend of artistry that has coined the phrase ‘the band that prevents you from sitting still’.”
And those Bhoys never do sit still, coming all the way from Canada for this weekend’s gigs. Surprisingly, this is the band’s first time at Graeme Park.
“We have not had the chance to play this festival before mainly because our tour schedule is or has been so hectic,” says the Bhoys’ lead singer, Graham Wright. “However, this year we have chosen to play a few new locations to expand our fan base and bring our style of music to these new locations.”
Without a doubt, Graeme Park is a great choice for the Bhoys and the perfect location for a Celtic festival. It’s a 42-acre historic park, featuring the Keith House- the only surviving residence of a Colonial Pennsylvania Governor. The mansion, which has remained intact since the late 18th century, is open for tours if you’re interested in learning more about this area’s history.
“The organizers of the Graeme Park festival contacted one of our agents and our record company which eventually filtered down to me,” explains Wright. “After looking at the location, I chose to accept the performance mainly because of its setting and it was something new.”
The park is great for locals, providing many nature trails, picnic areas and events throughout the year. Along with the Celtic festival, the park also hosts a World War II weekend, school events, theatre performances, senior days, Christmas shows and more. In fact, this Saturday night, the park is hosting a public investigation with the Olde City Paranormal team to prove or disprove the presence of spirits who may still be in Graeme Park. Tickets are $50 and reservations can be made by calling 215-915-9453.
Needless to say, I’ll be skipping the ghost hunt and having a few pints with the Bhoys instead. On Sunday, after the band finishes their final set at Graeme Park, they’re headed up the road a bit to the Sellersville Theatre.
“We enjoy the theatre and the staff at Sellersville,” says Wright. “We are treated well, the venue and location are perfect, and it’s always a pleasure to perform there.”
The Bhoys are no stranger to switching gears and playing in more than one spot on any given day. “Theatre shows are amazing, the interaction with the audience is more like playing in your living room, there are no distractions and when you tell a story, people feel as though they are right in there with you,” Wright says of performing in different settings. “You can expand on your repertoire and get the true feeling of a song out to your audience.”
Furniss agrees. “Our theater performances are more personal than a festival show. There’s more time to get to know us and our music.” But, The Glengarry Bhoys never pass up an opportunity to perform at a festival! They just finished three days at the Kincardine Scottish festival in Ontario and at least eight more festival days are scheduled until the end of September.
“Our festival performances are driven heavily on high energy, foot stomping Celtic music. More of an ‘in your face, let’s put the boots to them’ kind of show!” says Furniss.
Knowing the Bhoys for over a decade now, I can say for certain that these guys never stop being in your face. In a good way! Though Furniss just finished law school and the band’s bagpipe player, Stephen McIntosh, graduated from med school, Furniss says that music and performing have always taken precedence.
And just like the band, new music and fiddle sets are always on the go. “There are six new fiddle sets ready to be performed,” Furniss says. “Some do not make the set lists, but the ones that don’t are always played on our European tours and during after parties!” All the more reason to get to know these guys!
If you can’t catch the Bhoys this weekend, they’ll be back soon enough. Head to Bethlehem at the end of September to see them perform at Godfrey Daniels, followed by all three days at Celtic Classic. Or, if you’ve never been to Ireland, you can join the Bhoys on their trip there in August.
“There are a few spots left for Ireland,” says Wright. “We decided to do it in August because we have been hounded by the teachers who can’t get away in the fall! We thought that August would be a great time with great weather.”
Though the weather might be a tad warm this weekend, the festival at Graeme Park promises to keep you hydrated. And there will be a beer tent. Tickets are $10 a day or $15 for the weekend. Teens between 13-17 are only $5, and 12 and under is free. For more information, check out the park’s website.
The Glengarry Bhoys perform Sunday night at Sellersville Theatre, also featuring the Philadelphia Celtic rock band, Barleyjuice. Tickets are available on the theatre’s website and proceeds benefit the Celtic Cultural Alliance who bring us Bethlehem’s Celtic Classic each year.