The medieval streets of Kilkenny will be filled with the entertainment top American Marching Bands during St. Patrick’s Festival Kilkenny this March (14th – 18th).

For the 32 million Americans who claim Irish ancestry, visiting Ireland during the period around St. Patrick’s Day evokes a profound sense of pride and connection to their Irish heritage. Stepping onto Irish soil during this world-famous celebration, visitors from the USA talk of an instant feeling of belonging, helped of course by the legendary warmth of the locals, and the buzz in the air as people venture out on to the streets for the best events schedule of the Irish calendar.

“Profound sense of pride and connection to their Irish heritage”

The experience for Irish-American members of the marching bands taking part in next month’s St. Patrick’s Festival in Kilkenny, will have an even deeper meaning. Their highly-anticipated performances, which have become a tradition since “The Marching Illini” first visited in 1992, afford them a unique perspective on the St.Patrick’s festivities. So enjoyable was the experience for The Marching Illini, they
have returned to play in the festival 8 times since! This is no mean feat, when you consider that the application process is fiercely competitive, and costs for the visiting bands can run up to half a million dollars each time.

Kilkenny is the perfect location to enjoy the spectacle of these bands, some boasting up to 500 members each. With its majestic castle backdrop and medieval streets, Kilkenny will play host to five top marching bands during St. Patrick’s Festival next month, dubbed the “Big Festival In A Small City”.

So popular have been the US Marching Bands in previous years, this year’s Festival will feature daily entertainment and performances by bands from all over the USA.

On the 14th March in the lead up to the festival, The West Carolina Marching Band will perform in front of Kilkenny Castle. This 500-strong troupe are often called “the world’s largest funk-rock band,” playing a crowd-pleasing repertoire of up-tempo pop tunes, with electric guitars, vocalists and other musical elements not typically associated with marching bands. This award-winning band is not to be missed!

“Playing a crowd-pleasing repertoire of up-tempo pop tunes”

On the evening of the 14th, The Cherokee Trail High School Band, from Aurora Colorado, are doing something a little different with a performance in the stunning St. Canice’s Cathedral. Playing a range of tunes from the American back-catalogue including Jazz, Big Band, American Folk and Hoedown, plus Musical numbers and a march by John Philiip Souza. This is free but ticketed event. Secure your tickets to this unique event here!

On the 15th March when the festival officially kicks off, Olentangy Orange High School Marching Band will have their first international performance at the St. Patrick’s Festival Kilkenny in the Castle Park. But that’s not to say they are not used to drawing a crowd, having recently marched in the Hollywood Christmas Parade and Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The 16th March will see the Lakeville South School High Marching Band to take the streets of Kilkenny. They put 100s of hours of practice into each set, and having experienced the changeable Irish climate when they took part in the St. Patrick’s Festival in 2018, they’ve been known to practice in all types of weather! Also on March 16th , hailing from Johnson City, Tennessee, the multi award winning Science Hill High School marching band will be parading through the Kilkenny’s medieval streets with one of their regions largest Marching Band programmes in their 85 year history. Both bands will perform in Kilkenny Castle Park before marching through the streets of Kilkenny from the Castle to Parliament Street. Lakeville South High School Marching Band 12.30pm and Science Hill High School at 1.30pm.