FERGUS SCOTITISH FESTIVAL: From Celtic punk rock to bluegrass and pipe bands

From raging Celtic punk rock and bluegrass to pipe bands and sweet country sounds, the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games has a wide lineup of unforgettable musical performances this year.

On Friday night, the Sleeman’s Highland Pub will host The Mudmen and their hard-driving brand of Celtic rock and punk fusion. These lads center their guitar rifts around ripping bagpipes, creating one of the most mesmerizing and powerful rock performances anywhere. It is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Juno award-winning Leahy will headline Sunday’s performances, with a 4pm concert in the Highland Pub. This group of eight siblings have been making music together since childhood, and now thrill audiences around the world. Their unique blend of folk, country, Celtic and roots sounds has sold over half a million copies, and their story has been the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary.

Toronto’s The Heartbroken, an alt-country band featuring Damhnait Doyle, will also play Sunday. Described as a marriage of Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Willie Nelson and Linda Rondstadt, this is one foursome you won’t want to miss. That’s just the beginning: back by popular demand are Tommy Leadbeater, a festival favorite, and Saturday’s performers Poor Angus, an East Coast ensemble that features Highland pipes, Irish whistles, fiddles, guitars, mandolins, bodhrans, bass and four-part harmonies.  Other performers include Rant Maggie Rant, David Leask, Fiddlestix and the Oakville Celtic Fiddle Club. Check out www.fergusscottishfestival.com for a full lineup.