Seven volunteers have a big impact on the 65 entertainment acts that take the stages of the Dublin Irish Festival.

Seven volunteers have a big impact on the 65 entertainment acts that take the stages of the Dublin Irish Festival.

In general, volunteers are a big part of what keeps the Dublin Irish Festival going, and the seven-member entertainment committee works throughout the year to bring talented acts to the event.

"It's a highly select group of people who have experience and have earned their stripes," said Christine Nardecchia, Dublin volunteer resources administrator.

"They know the world of music and performing, and live performances and stage management," Nardecchia said.

"You don't just step up and say, 'I want to be a stage manager.' You have to have experience."

The makeup of the committee has been in place for several years, said Alison LeRoy, Dublin Irish Festival director.

"This same committee has been in place as it stands for maybe about five years," LeRoy said, noting that membership has come from suggestions from committee members.

Some entertainment committee members know Celtic music from hosting a radio show, others have experience bringing in bands for their own pub.

Morton O'Kelly, a native of Ireland, is a member of the geography department at Ohio State University and has more than 20 years of festival experience.

"I began my involvement through the Dublin Irish Celebration, a group chaired by Kay McGovern, that was responsible for building the festival," O'Kelly said.

"In the beginning, the festival was smaller and the committee arranged all aspects of the event -- from bands to tents to insurance."

O'Kelly eventually became involved with the entertainment committee because of some musical experience.

"My involvement gradually emerged from my participation as a musician in the early '90s, to joining in with event planning, to today chairing the entertainment committee," he said.

Work for the entertainment committee begins directly after the festival ends with monthly meetings held to review potential acts.

"They start meeting right after the festival," LeRoy said.

"We start off with a wish list and start naming bands and bring a list of names suggested, people that applied, and rank them," she said.

"Then we go back and find out how much they cost and if they're available and keep refining (the list)," LeRoy said.

"They really are music experts. It's a passion for them. They just have a depth of knowledge I could never have," she said.

Work isn't over once the music lineup is finalized, though.

Committee members often act as stage managers and spend the entirety of the festival listening to music.

"They all have control of specific stages," LeRoy said.

"They recruit a stage manager or serve as stage manager throughout the weekend," she said.

"They're there almost the whole time.

"If it's not their shift, they're hanging around, listening to music," LeRoy said.

"It's important to get feedback on the acts ... . They also spend time talking to the entertainers.

"We get some of our best ideas from the entertainment we've had."

O'Kelly said he spends the hours volunteering for the festival for the music.

"I want to continue to volunteer so that we can preserve the great musical legacy that the tradition brings to us," he said.

"I also feel very fortunate to be able to bring my favorite music to my own neighborhood."

O'Kelly recalled a favorite festival moment when a sample CD was released from the 1997 festival.

Crowd reaction to bands is always rewarding, too.

"I really enjoy bringing high-quality traditional Irish music to the festival," he said.

"I love it when the crowd has a reaction to the bands that I knew from my own experience would be a favorite.

"There are too many examples to name, but it has happened every year, without fail, that some entertainer creates that wow moment."

The Dublin Irish Festival runs from Aug. 3-5 in Coffman Park.

For more information on the festival or to check out the entertainment lineup, look online at dublinirish