HUNDREDS have flocked to the streets of Beechworth for a display of traditional Celtic clothes and colours over the weekend.
The annual Beechworth Celtic festival, a popular tourist drawcard, coincided this year with two other major events in the region – the Mountaingrass Music Festival, also in Beechworth, and the Bright Hot Rod Run.
The trio of events meant the pavement was packed in Beechworth, particularly with gloomy weather from earlier in the week giving way to some spectacular sunshine.
The Celtic festival kicked off on Friday night, with performances from former Australian Idol winner Damien Leith, folk star Eric Bogle and internationally acclaimed Celtic rock band Claymore.
Other events, including the Beechworth Old Gaol Tattoo, market stalls and pug gigs continued throughout the weekend.
Beechworth Celtic Festival committee chair John Costello said the weekend had been a tremendous success.
“It’s been a pretty good weekend – weather-wise it’s been absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“We had just under 400 people at the concert on Friday night, the performances were terrific.
“We had a lot of people wandering through the market on Saturday and enjoying music in all the pubs.
“It was a great crowd, I’d say at least 3000 went through the market.”
Indigo Shire mayor Bernard Gaffney said despite some early concerns about two major festivals being held in town on the same weekend, it had ultimately turned out to be a great success.
“It’s certainly been a massive weekend,” he said.
“There was some concern about having the two festivals side by side, but from what I have seen, there were completely different demographics attracted to each.
“The Celtic festival’s concert on Friday night and Tattoo on Saturday were both huge successes, near sold-out.
“The Mountaingrass Festival was also a great success, I left there late on Sunday and there was just a huge crowd at Mayday.”
While festival-goers enjoyed a big weekend, regardless of whether their tastes were of Celtic of bluegrass variety, Cr Gaffney said it was also a great weekend for the town’s local traders.
“Talking to accommodation providers, most of them were full, and said they had people who were visiting from both festivals,” he said.
“The ones who stay for the whole weekend also end up spending money in town; Beechworth retail is in very healthy condition.
“It really has been quite a complete economic revitalisation.”