Beechworth Celtic Festival stages inaugural tattoo inside famous Old Beechworth Gaol

Beechworth Celtic Festival will host its first tattoo inside the historic walls of the town’s Old Gaol on November 11.

The inaugural tattoo will include seven prominent pipebands, including The Scots School Albury pipeband still fresh from its recent success in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

“We’re bringing together some of the best community musicians and dancers in Victoria and NSW for the festival’s inaugural Old Gaol Tattoo,” tattoo producer Chris Earl says.

“The 90-minute spectacular which begins will feature massed pipe bands, drums, highland and Celtic dancers filling the gaol with majestic sound and movement in the setting sun. 

“The tattoo will have a stirring and poignant finale recalling on the 99th anniversary of the end of World War One and the men and women who had served Australia in the armed services.”

Another highlight will be the performance of Barry Versus Kelly, which focuses on the finals days of the Old Beechworth Gaol’s most infamous inmate Ned Kelly and the man who sentenced him to hang on November 11, 1880, Redmund Barry.

There will be two 90-minute performances in the mess hall, at 2pm and 4.30pm.

The gaol courtyard, mess hall, exercise yard and veggie garden all host individual programs and visitors can immerse themselves in all things Celtic with performances by Claymore, Likely Celts, Bhan Tre, Platform 9¾, Ceilidh Rogues, Eddie Lewis and Saorirse, on one of the two stages during the day. 

Bhan Tre will also perform at Hotel Nicolas on Saturday and Sunday night while Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel will host Ceilidh Rogues on Saturday night.

Festival committee chairman Roger Humphris says the new format is a unique opportunity for people to experience top contemporary Celtic groups and celebrate the outstanding talent within the region. 

“Today’s Celtic performers offer a diverse range of entertainment, from traditional folk to an eclectic contemporary offering of Celtic music,” Mr Humphris says.

“The festival brings that all together to provide a complete program of entertainment that will appeal to Celtic fans and music lovers alike.

The weekend starts with a traditional Celtic dinner at the Old Priory on Friday, November 10, featuring the traditional “address to the haggis”.

The Lowdown

What: Beechworth Celtic Festival

When: November 10-11, Old Beechworth Gaol

Tickets: from $20