Northland International Festival
The McIans will close out entertainment lineup
The Irish punk folk rock band The McIans has a fiddle player.
That's a fiddle, not a violin.
What's the difference?
"You can pour beer into a fiddle and no one minds," quipped Brian Kerr, lead guitarist and singer with the group.
When people put the terms "Northland" and "international" together, generally these days they're thinking about Somalis, Latinos, central Africans and lately, Bhutanese refugees from Nepal, but The McIans will be on hand for the Northland International Community Festival and Health Fair Saturday, June 22, to show there's far more diversity than that in the neighborhood.
This will be the second international festival, and the second appearance at the event for The McIans, a band that has been around in various forms for the past five years, according to Kerr. A native of Scotland, Kerr is also general manager of the Northland Performing Arts Center.
Much of this year's festival, moved up by almost two months and pared down to a single day from last year's inaugural event in August, will be held in and around the center at 4411 Tamarack Blvd.
Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission and parking are free.
The McIans will be the closing act, performing from 7 to 8 p.m.
The others in the group, which performs a mixture of traditional Irish, modern punk and contemporary Celtic music, are drummer Steve Stinchcomb, bass player and vocalist Ken Kress and Peter Harris on the aforementioned beer-receptacle fiddle.
Kerr, who came to the United States from his homeland when he was 21, lives in the Hilliard area. Stinchcomb and Kress are Powell residents and Harris hales from Clintonville.
Fiddle players have come and gone from The McIans and its predecessor band, Six Pack Theory, but the core members have been together for a decade now, according to Kerr.
"We can communicate nonverbally very easily," he said.
The McIans, Kerr added, are much in demand on St. Patrick's Day, but enjoyed last year's international festival and are looking forward to Saturday.
"It's so much fun to play," he said of their music. "It's so high-energy, the audience loves it, even if they don't know the words."