Before the pandemic, the Commoners stayed busy around St. Patrick’s Day. Over the past two decades, the Fort Collins Irish rock act would typically play around thirty hours of shows over a three-day span every year to celebrate the holiday, performing in various pubs and parades around the state.
Last year, the state was heading to lockdown right before St. Patrick’s Day, and the big Denver parade was canceled. It won't be happening in 2021, either. Since so many COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, Commoners frontman Derek "Mouse" Frodl wanted to give Irish and Celtic acts a chance to connect and perform. So he put together the Colorado Celtic Musicians Broadcast, a five-hour concert that pubs can show and people can watch from home.
“The big places can't do the packed houses that we are used to doing,” Frodl says. “I just felt like something was missing by us not being able to connect with our fans. There are people that only come out to see us on St. Patrick's Day, and there are other people who think we only play on St. Patrick's Day.”
Frodl has been collecting videos from groups like Avourneen, Skean Dubh, Indigent Row, Big Paddy and Juice of the Barley as well as duos, trios and solo fiddlers and bagpipers. Each performance is around twenty minutes long.
“I'm just going to make a big menagerie of videos and try to mix it up and keep the mood changing a little bit,” Frodl says.
Last year, after 2020 celebrations were scrapped, Frodl started the Colorado Celtic Facebook page as a way for the state’s Celtic and Irish musicians to stay in touch. It also made it easier for him to recruit bands for this free online concert, which will air on YouTube.
Frodl says Celtic and Irish bands are on the outskirts of the music scene and are too often forgotten about until St. Patrick's Day rolls around.
“Then everyone joins us for a little while,” he says. "But we have very vibrant and diverse groups. Within Irish music, there's everything from just slower traditional stuff to kind of bluegrass beats on hardcore rock and punk. I mean, Irish is such a broad category...it's a fun scene to be a part of.”
The Colorado Celtic Musicians Broadcast starts at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17; for more information, visit the event's Facebook page.
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