The festival is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, and will feature the popular heavyweight games, bagpiping, sheepherding, live entertainment, food, vendors, and festivities for all ages.
The festival, a partnership between Radford University and the City of Radford, has free admission and is a favorite annual event for both residents and visitors to the area.
The festival began in the mid-1990s with an approximate crowd of 3,000, according to Radford University.
“Over the past 20 years, the festival has more than tripled in size and now attracts an estimated crowd of 10,000 people,” according to the university. “Whether a family’s background is of Scots-Irish origin or of other descent, the day always brings with it an air of excitement and anticipation. There is no place more beautiful than Southwest Virginia in the autumn, and the Blue Ridge Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop for the fall festival.”
Two musical groups will headline this year’s festival.
SYR (sire) is a Celtic Folk Rock band from Columbia, SC. Taking inspiration from Celtic history, stories, and myth, SYR creates powerful songs with themes of battle, love, and victory, celebrating the rich heritage of the Celtic Nations in a contemporary style with broad audience appeal.
SYR’s reputation for a high-energy performance has made them a popular attraction for many Celtic festivals and events, and they have built a following across the United States and internationally. Their much anticipated third album releases this year. The band consists of siblings Kyle (lead vocals, guitar) and Laurel MacCallum (vocals & percussion), Kelly Vance (bass), Luis Valverde (drums), Ben Campbell (guitar) and Worth Lewallen (fiddle).
Kinnfolk is the duo of Josh and Julie Kinn, who weave bouzouki, bodhran, and smooth vocal harmonies in their Celtic folk music from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The duo’s musical style is heavily influenced by the sounds of the Roanoke traditional Irish session where they met in 2017. Since forming Kinnfolk in late 2018, the pair have played at festivals, breweries, and listening rooms all over the Southwest Virginia region. Their self-titled debut album dropped on March 7, 2020, (just one week before COVID-19 shut the state down), and they released their first original single, “The Borden Set,” later that year.
Vendors are also a big draw at the festival. The lawn of Moffett quad will turn into an open-air extravaganza featuring artists, vendors, craftspeople, and community organizations. The day is also a great feast with assorted foods offered by vendors offering authentic Scottish fare, classic festival food and American classics such as pizza and burgers.