The Scottish Banner spoke to the Middle Tennessee Highland Games & Celtic Festival committee on this year’s event, taking place next month.
SB: Tell us about Middle Tennessee Highland Games and Celtic Festival, what are this year’s dates, where are you located, event times, etc?
MTHG: Date is Sept 11, 2021, at Percy Warner Park, in the Belle Meade neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee. Festival times are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
SB: What is the history behind your event, how long has it been going on?
MTHG: This will be our 6th year in Nashville Tennessee. We had to cancel in 2020 because of Covid and so we are very hopeful for our return in 2021. We have scaled down this year’s event to one day, but the enthusiasm shown by everyone to return to highland games leads us to believe that we will have a great crowd and a successful return.
SB: Who is performing at this year’s event? How many stages?
MTHG: We will have two stages of music and one stage for dancers and young people’s music. The music this year consists of three local Nashville Celtic bands: Doon the Brae, NoseyFlynn and The Secret Commonwealth. Two national touring bands: Seven Nations and Tuatha Dea, and the Scottish Bard from Glasgow Colin Grant Adams. An intimate acoustic stage and a rocking beer garden stage – chose your style or enjoy both. Irish step dancers and Highland dancers perform near the children’s zone and have many performances planned along with the Kid’s Ceilidh Band. Our three pipe and drum bands from Nashville and Knoxville will perform while roving through the festival grounds.
SB: What Games will be at this year’s event?
MTHG: We will have amateur heavy Scottish athletics for men and women in Classes, A, B, and masters. Events will include weight throws, hammer throw, weight over bar, sheaf toss, and of course caber toss. We have 40 athletes registered to compete.
SB: What is different this year than from years past?
MTHG: We have had to closely watch the pandemic’s progress in our community and had to try to plan accordingly. Fortunately, we have a great team that has been able to pull together all the pieces of a multi-faceted festival. We are now looking forward to a Highland Games and Festival will all the ceremony and fun we all enjoy. Our tag line for 2021 is “The Year of Recovery”.
SB: What can one expect when attending your event?
MTHG: We think of it as a three-ring circus of Celtic Culture. The anchor to the event is the Heavy Scottish Athletic competition. It is supported by a Scottish Clan village of over 45 Scottish clans and societies. We have over 40 vendors of Celtic products, and yummy foods, plus 2 tents of soft and alcoholic beverages, We have a large Kids Zone, and demonstrations in Highland and Irish dance, tartan weaving, and Birds of Prey. And of course, we will have numerous bagpipe and drum teams and a solo bagpipe competition. At noon we will have a special Opening Ceremony and Tartan Parade to honor 911. It should be a very full and fun day for the entire family.
SB: What is your favorite aspect of Scottish culture?
MTHG: The goosebumps we get when hearing the pipe and drums come across the field, the cheers when the caber fly’s through the air, the love, and pride we see when a grandfather in a kilt shares a story of the ‘old country’ with a child and the warmth of a dram of good whisky.
SB: What are you most looking forward to about this year’s Games and Festival?
MTHG: Thousands of people having a great and safe time getting back together, celebrating a great culture.
The Middle Tennessee Highland Games & Celtic Festival takes place on Saturday, September 11th, 2021 at Nashville’s Percy Warner Park. For further details see: www.midtenngames.com