• WHAT: 146th annual Scottish Highland Games
• WHERE: Alameda County fairgrounds in Pleasanton
• WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 3 & Sunday, Sept. 4. Gates open at 8 a.m.
• DIRECTIONS: 40 miles from Manteca, taking I-205 which turns into I-580. Take Exit 47 (Tassajara/Santa Rita Road) and follow Santa Rita Road that eventually turns into Main Street. At 3.14 miles after exiting freeway turn right on Rose Avenue and travel 0.24 miles to the fairgrounds
• COST: 2-day adult tickets $22
• MORE INFO: Go to www.TheScottishGames.com
PLEASANTON — Seven stages of continuous entertainment is high on the list of many who will attend the 146th Scottish Highland Gathering & Games, set for this Saturday and Sunday at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
The entertainment includes a wide variety of styles with something for everyone.
High on the list of favorites is Celtic Rock. Many prefer the traditional folk style entertainers, and others hold the Celtic Heritage stages with the Scottish Fiddlers Rally and Celtic Harpers in their favorite check list. Add Scottish Country Dancing exhibitions and Scottish and Irish songs in ancient Gaelic by Kirsty Fitch, and you have a well-rounded musical experience.
Four of the Celtic Rock groups vie for top billing, each bringing a solid fan base to the Games.
Perhaps the most visible of the groups is Tempest. Tempest has performed at all but one of the 17 Games held at the fairgrounds in Pleasanton. They are also different from the other rock groups in that they do not include a bagpipe in the five-man ensemble. Norwegian-born Lief Sorbye is the lead singer and electric mandolinist. Fiddler Michael Mullen blows the crowd away with his “hot fiddle” renditions.
From Australia, Brother has grown with a world-wide following. The group includes the use of the Aboriginal didgeridoo.
The “Tribal” element of Celtic Rock is provided by Albannach (an ancient word for Scotland), direct from Scotland. Consisting of all percussion and one bag pipe, the ensemble’s pounding beat has attracted many new American supporters.
Molly’s Revenge brings a standout trio of musicians to the pulse-driving Celtic Rock genre.
Outstanding vocals in the more traditional venues include Scotland’s TV personality Isla St Clare, The Brown Sisters with George Cavanaugh, Golden Bough and soloists Ed Miller, Neil O’Neill and Peter Daldry. The Browne Sisters produce a lively program of beautifully arranged vocal harmony, with cousin George on guitar.
Five of the stages have continuous 45-minute sets with two groups rotating on each stage. The entertainment begins both days at 10 a.m., followed by another set at 11a.m. Entertainment returns at 1 p.m. and continues at 2, 3 and 4 p.m.
Argyle Stage-1: Tempest and Molly’s Revenge
Edinburgh Stage-2: Browne Sisters and Isla St Clare
Strathclyde State-3: Albannach and Brother
The Glen Stage-4: Golden Bough and Ed Miller
Glasgow Stage-5: Peter Daldry and Neil O’Neill
The two Celtic Heritage stages run a similar schedule with fiddlers, harpers, Scottish country dancing and vocal soloists.
Dancing is also of high priority with the Western U.S. Championship Highland Dancing competition and the Irish Pavilion with exhibitions of the rapid-fire step dancing.
The Games are hosted by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco.
Additional information is available on the Games website: www.TheScottishGames.com.