Sumter, SC Scottish Festival
March 22-23, 2002
This second annual Scottish Festival and Games at the Sumter County Museum
is one of the finest events in the Southeastern USA and still largely
unknown. I’m a vendor there and count most of the musicians and vendors as
friends, so this is a reunion after a long winter for us!
Friday night of the festival is kicked off with hors d’oeuvres (that would
be Scotch eggs, Scotch broth, etc.) and most welcome on fairly chilly
night. There I ran into kith & kin; friends. Then, we’re all treated to a
fine dinner and singing and dancing ‘round bonfires. What finer
entertainment than Neil Anderson, dancer Tori Taggart, Alasdair Fraser,
Colin Grant-Adams, and the Full Moon Ensemble?
Saturday was chilly, but
absolutely beautiful. The museum grounds boast a “living” Colonial Era
settlement, with homes and projects always going. I visited the fire pit
where Haggis was being made, the weaver’s cottage and the smithy. Outside
the Smithy was a dugout canoe in progress!
Of course, there were the Fighting Camerons
with their display and uniforms!
And Pipers! Not only famed piper Neil
Anderson, but also the Palmetto Pipes & Drums!
Clans Donald and McLean were represented;
Alasdair and I represented Fraser!
But most of all, when I think of this
festival, I think of music, music, music! The feel is "homey",
light-hearted, full of friends known and not. Of course, being in the
South, everyone is hospitable and friendly. Saturday evening there was a
Celtic Jam by firelight and red stage lights. All of the musicians played
on stage together! They’re making it an annual tradition! What a treat!
Little McKayleigh Norred swills her
juice from an ale bottle,
shocking most folks! Her dad's a very good home brewer of fine
stouts, ales, and the best mead made with MY lavender flowers!
Oh, and another thing becoming a tradition
"after hours" and the festival closed, friends gather back at our hotel
for our own midnight jam. This year, we were tired, so it only lasted
until somewhere around 2am. As one person put it, with this many
well-known musicians together and the music they were making, it was a
$100 a ticket concert in one room! No one in the hotel complained!
If you’re traveling in the Low Country of
the South next March, please don’t miss this event! I for one hope that it
doesn’t lose funding and continues for many years to come.