Monday, September 20, 2010

"If it's not Scottish..."

Extra points if you can finish the rest of the quote. ;)

On September 11th we drove up to Estes Park with our good friends, A & J to attend the Longs Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival. 'Twas a lovely day, sunny, breezy and not too warm. I've been going to this for years, sometimes with Mom, sometimes with girlfriends, but mostly with Blake.

Although it's a long walk to the park, you can hear the bagpipes from a hefty distance. When you do finally get in, action fills your senses. The sights: beautiful mountains, drums, tents holding neato merchandise under their white peaks. The smells: Cinnamon pecans, funnel cakes, roasting meat. The sounds: Celtic rock concerts, pipe bands marching, drummers & pipers jamming, just for the fun of making music together.

Pipe Band Competition...

The Irish getting in on some of the action... (Identifiable by the orange kilts. Scottish ones are waaayyy prettier!!)

We ate good food (ever have a scotch egg? Yummm), drank good beer - or at least Blake did, he had his Smithwick's, shopped around in the merchants tents (or at least as much as two bored men would let us), and best of all, caught a couple great acts in the concert tent: The Tartan Terrors and Albannach. Both bands were as different as night and day. The Tartan Terrors, who were new this year, were more traditional in their music, and they told some great jokes: "What do you call 500 Englishmen at the bottom of the ocean?" "A good start!"

Albannach, on the other hand, is very primitive and raw in their sound and appearance. They all play huge drums and they have only one piper who ranks among the world's best! If there was a band that summed up the Scottish Highlands it would be them. (Historically, folks who lived in the Scottish Lowlands were very prim, proper and often were sympathizers to the english, while the folks who lived in the Highlands were much more rustic and rural and stubborn) They dress in very primitive and ancient tartans and plaids, they grow their hair out, and their sound is very simple and organic. Drums and pipes were used centuries ago in battle to keep up soldier morale and intimidate the enemy; I would imagine that if it sounds like Albannach, then it would be pretty effective!

Albannach is crazy popular here, and everyone goes nuts when they take the stage, so I got off the best pic I could without ticking off the other photogs behind me!

A young, tailed concert-goer...

Tiny Dancer. She looks like she knows what she's doing!

We also checked out the DeLorean Show. When's the next time in our lives that we'll see 7 DeLoreans in one place? It was pretty awesome.

While we enjoyed our time there, we were all getting tired. It was getting late and we still had to stop by Jose O'Shea's Mexican Restaurant, as is our custom after the Festival. So we slowly ambled to the car and zoned on the ride back to Denver.

Here's one last photo. Since we went on 9/11 it was a bittersweet day. The festival always has some kind of a tribute to those who lost their lives that fateful Tuesday. Please never forget!

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