The Central Florida Scottish American Society Presents the Highland Games with Albannach and Rathkeltair

In its 38th year the Central Florida Highland Games is an impressive event. The popularity of the Festival has fueled year to year growth in attendance. Event organizers estimate that 25,000 will attend the two day festival in 2015. This year the Festival boasts two of the top Celtic bands on the North American Festival Circuit. In addition, there are an array of events and exhibitions including a traditional Highland Games athletic competition, amateur Highland Dance Competitions, Scottish Country Dancing, Pipers and Bands competition and the obligatory Whiskey tasting.

The Scottish American Society of Central Florida (SASCF) sponsor the festival. Founded in 1976, the SASCF fund educational, cultural and social activities for Central Floridians of Scottish descent. The Games were first held in 1978 and 2015 marks the 38th Games.  The mission statement of the Society is as follows: “Promotion and Celebration for the continuation of Scottish traditions and heritage through education and holding events within the central Florida community”

Providing the entertainment are major Celtic bands including Rathkeltair, a familiar presence on the Festival circuit. Named after the historical site in County Down in Ireland near the birthplace of band member Nick Watson, Rathkeltair brings a wealth of experience and music making ability to this event. Watson, the band’s drummer, previously played with the award winning “Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band”, and band member Trevor Tanner is the former front man for 80’s MTV era band “The Bolshoi”. Neil Anderson on the Pipes is a founding member of Seven Nations (Clan Na Gael) which continues to be a familiar presence on the Celtic Festival musical circuit. Anderson has played with several Celtic Rock bands including Scythian and the Grammy award winning band “The Chieftains”.

Also performing are Albannach, electrifying performers with a combustible combination of Pipes and Drums and a dominant presence on the Festival entertainment circuit. Albannach are performers who tour extensively in North America.  This band have a growing and loyal fan base.   Albannach's leader, Jamesie Johnston, views the band as Ambassadors of Celtic Culture and sees the growth of Celtic festivals in America as important in keeping the culture alive.  The band are based in Glasgow and all members were born in Scotland.  In a March 23, 2013 Transceltic article, "Albannach: Scottish-Celtic Culture Warriors", Johnston in response to the question, “Do you consider Albannach to be ambassadors of Celtic culture", stated: “Yes – When people watch us perform they are experiencing Celtic culture and I see that as the takeaway from our performance, that the audience is experiencing Celtic culture when they attend our performance.”

Pictured below are Albannach performing at Celtic Fling in 2013:

Albannach at the Celtic Fling

Also performing are The Wyndbreakers, Off Kilter who are a band with a driving Celtic Rock sound and who enjoy a loyal following from their tenure as performers at Epcot Centre’s Canadian pavilion, Men of Worth and Juniper.

The Central Florida Highland Games will held in the Central Winds Park in Winter Springs located just northeast of Orlando on Saturday January 17 and Sunday January 18.

The Scottish American Society of Central Florida maintain an active scholarship program for students of the “Scottish Arts”.  The SASCF is a registered 501C3 nonprofit charity.  Details can be found using the link to the SASCF web page below.


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