Get Shamrocked gives visitors a taste of the Irish lifestyle with Celtic music, food and beer

Toronto based Celtic Folk Rock Band, Enter The Haggis, performs on the second day of Get Shamrocked Irish Music Festival Saturday, Sept. 30, at Murrieta Town Square Park. Meghan Taylor photo

Traditional Celtic music traveled across Town Square Park and beer and food were plentiful for those who attended the fifth annual Get Shamrocked Irish Music Festival Saturday, Sept. 30, in Murrieta.

People sat in lawn chairs and laid sprawled out on blankets amid the Saturday morning sun to listen to traditional bands such as Gaelic Storm, Enter the Haggis, The Fighting Jamesons and a handful of others.

It was the second of a two-day event that drew a crowd of thousands, according to Paul Little, co-owner of the Shamrock Irish Pub & Eatery and one of the event organizers.

The music

Little said people may think of Get Shamrocked as an Irish fair, but it’s actually all about the music. He said it’s an Irish music festival – the biggest of its kind on the West Coast.

Fifteen bands from all over the world played the festival.

Though Saturday’s lineup of bands was mostly dedicated to the conventional interpretation of Celtic music, Friday brought bands that mixed that sound with punk rock elements.

The Friday night line-up included Chicago natives Flatfoot 56, Melbourne-based The Go Set and Los Angeles rockers Hoist the Colors.

A selection of food and beer

Food trucks and booths lined the venue, giving people a mixture of traditional Irish and British food staples as well as items such as tacos and burgers.

The food truck for Old Town Temecula restaurant Devilicious was out offering two special menu items: A corned beef melt complete with pickles, beer mustard and swiss cheese as well as  Irish loaded fries.

Orange County-based food truck the Hungry Royal offered its Irish Puff Pastry Sausage Roll, which came complete with french fries, smoked paprika and chili jam.

There was a variety of beer and liquor served at the event, from Ballast Point Sculpin to the very traditional Guinness. Those looking for something a little harder could enjoy Magners Irish Cider as well as Irish whiskey.

First timers get acquainted with the festival

Lincoln Nguyen, 35, of Murrieta said he had just recently moved to the area and decided to check out the festival since he’s friends with members of the Kilmainham Boys, one of the bands that played the event.

Skies were sunny, temperatures were mild and there was a slight breeze outside. Nguyen said it was a great backdrop for listening to his friends’ band play.

“We love the whole outdoors feel,” he said. “It’s a very chill environment.”

Amanda Anderson, 26, of Murrieta said it was also her first time attending the festival.

She attended Friday night’s lineup of punk rockers and came back Saturday for traditional Celtic sounds.  She said she enjoyed interacting with and talking to other festival guests.

“Everybody is really friendly here… Everybody wants to be your friend,” she said.

A history of the event

Little said the idea for an Irish music festival came about in 2013 following a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the pub.

“We saw a huge passion for St. Patrick’s Day and we thought there was potential,” he said.

Over five years the event has both grown and changed as organizers figured out what worked and what didn’t.

Little said it used to be spread out over Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Sunday scheduled as a family-friendly day. It’s since been reworked to be only a two-day festival for people over 21.

A good cause

Little said all the tips given to volunteers during the event would be given to Tiffany’s Gift, a foundation that seeks to raise awareness about dangers of drinking and driving and the importance of safe boating.

The stage at Town Square Park was dubbed The Cullen Connolly Stage, in honor of a teen with muscular dystrophy who was killed in a car crash in Arizona in 2015.  Connolly loved Irish music.

Additionally, a table in the backstage area was signed by members of the Celtic bands and was set to be raffled off. The funds from the raffle went to Cullen’s Claddagh, a nonprofit created in the boy’s memory.

According to Little, the boy’s family decided to attend the festival because of what was being done in his memory.

“It was worth it alone to give some comfort to that family,” he said.

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