If supping a Guinness and getting teary-eyed over a passionate rendition of Fields of Athenry feeds your soul, then Queen's Birthday Weekend will have special appeal.
The national Irish music festival, Ceol Aneas, will draw lovers of Irish music from around the country to Nelson for concerts, a knees-up, workshops and tutorials.
Some internationally known performers of Irish music will be playing and teaching throughout the weekend, and fans and students from around the country will participate.
While Ceol Aneas (pronounced ke-ol an-ass) might sound like the sort of activity practiced in private between consenting adults, it means music of the south and has grown since its inception to become one of the leading Irish music festivals in Australasia.
The weekend features instrumental tuition, meet-the-artist workshops, a ceili dance, a concert featuring all the tutors, and several traditional Irish music sessions around Nelson.
There will be a ceili at the Age Concern Hall at 7pm on Saturday evening and a concert at The Suter Art Gallery Theatre at 7.30pm on Sunday.
Among the Ireland-based musos who'll be belting out the Celtic in concert and offering tips and technical advice for musicians in workshops are Conal O'Grada, described as a superstar of the Irish music scene, on flute, and free reed accordionist Benny McCarthy, from the group Danu, which thrilled fans with a rollicking Ceol Aneas performance in 2008.
Louise Phelan is a renowned fiddle player and also plays and teaches tin-whistle, mandolin, banjo and piano; Cliodhna Costello is a one-time all-Ireland banjo champion and Jon Sanders has plenty to teach guitarists.
New Zealand musicians participating in the workshops include Alex Davidson (whistle) and Anna Dunwoodie (harp).
As for the Guinness, the Free House is among the sponsors for the first time and the visiting musicians will be appearing in the Yurt for impromptu performances and jams during the weekend. The main session will be on Saturday night from 8pm till late.
Another sponsor is the Sprig and Fern, which will be tapping the talents drawn to the festival with performances at its taverns over the weekend.
- Concert: The Suter Art Gallery Theatre, Sunday, from 7.30pm, adults $30; students (with ID) or 18 and under $20; ceili at Age Concern Hall, 67 Trafalgar St, Saturday, from 7pm; adults $15, families $40, students (with ID) or 18 and under $10.
- © Fairfax NZ News