By Rodger Hara
(Photo:Garrett Hacking Photography G) THE INDULGERS will be one of the headliners at the Pikes Peak Celtic Festival in Colorado Springs, June 28-30. The Colorado based Celtic rockers have just announced the world wide release of their seventh studio album “WHISKEY TONIGHT”)
After a 14 year absence (not counting a one-off attempt at a festival in 2004), a Celtic festival is returning to Colorado Springs on June 28-30 in Memorial Park, filling empty spaces on the calendar and map.
There’s an old saying that says “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.” A corollary of that could just as easily be “If you’re lucky enough to be Joe Poch, you’re lucky enough.”
Joseph “Joe” Poch is lucky to have been born twenty-four years ago into a family that included Scottish grandparents, Bill and Mary Ann Steed. They had owned and operated the Scottish and Irish Regalia shop and had also been actively involved in running the Pike’s Peak Celtic Festival for many years in Colorado Springs. Their influence led to Joe learning to play the pipes from the legendary Gordon Spears, take up drumming with the Pikes Peak Highlanders and step dancing a la Riverdance with the St. Brendan’s dance company. Eventually, all of that experience has led him to producing the Military Tattoo at the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival in Estes Park and forming his own event management company, Innovative Moments.
The bad luck of the City of Colorado Springs led to more good luck for Joe when the USA Pro Cycling Challenge decided to not include the City in its 2013 tour path. Having already budgeted $100,000 for that event, the City Council chose to solicit proposals for four other events that would bring people to the City, each of which would receive $25,000 in support. Recognizing the voids in the map and calendar, Joe proposed resurrection of the Celtic Festival his grandparents had run and received one of the awards.
Joe is Chairman of the Pikes Peak Celtic Festival committee and manages and coordinates the event in association with the City of Colorado Springs and The Colorado Springs Society of Friendly Sons and Daughters of St. Patrick.
His experience with the Military Tattoo in Estes Park and relationships formed there enabled him to create a festival almost overnight that will match longer-term festivals with its offering of a WUSPBA-sanctioned piping competition, heavy athletics sanctioned by Rocky Mountain Scottish Athletics, Highland Dance, Irish step dancing, music from The Indulgers, Angus Mohr and a new band called The McDeviants as well as food, vendors, Dogs of the British Isles, living history, genealogy, clan tents and more. The festival will feature an opening ceremony with massed pipe bands and beer and whisky tastings too.
Tickets, which will run from $5 for a single day child’s ticket up to $20 for an adult weekend pass, can be purchased in advance and more information found on the festival website, www.pikespeakcelticfestival.com.