Hello All - I just got back from a great weekend in New York - Long Island, actually - at the Long Island Irish Fest in Calverton. What a venue! Everything under giant circus tents to protect everyone from the elements. It was considerably cooler under the tents than in the hot sun, of which there was plenty. There were three stages with pretty much continuous entertainment, lots of food, beer, wine, water and even an energy drink called, believe it or not, "Bawls". I didn't have any of that but I was told by no lesser source than Kevin McKrell that the stuff lived up to its slogan "bounce with bawls". A great selection of vendors there as well, selling everything from clothes to instruments to jewelry to trailers. Speaking of Kevin McKrell, he was there as part of the group, The McKrells. The band now includes his daughter Kate, as a permanent member. They were highly entertaining, as usual. Speaking of old friends, the band lineup also included Mary Courtney and Morning Star. I only got a chance to talk with them, since we were performing at the same time on different stages. I did get a chance to hear my friends The Makem and Spain Brothers. They were as exciting as ever to hear and certainly are doing everything they can to live up to and pass on the tradition of their late father, Tommy Makem. Also I got a chance to meet, listen to and spend some time with Zig Zeitler and Siusan O'Rourke. Together they're known as Stone Cross. They are a very talented and personable duo who also have the highly respected White Crow Music Conservatory in Saginaw, Michigan. Got to spend a great evening of telling lies in the bar of the hotel where we were all staying and catching up with all of those people plus the traditional group, Colcannon, whom I also got to hear a little bit of at the festival. Very unique and very talented. Just heard from Charlie McKenna, the founder of the Long Island Irish Fest and the Long Island Irish Cultural Center. The festival in 2009 - that's next year - will be on 18 & 19 July. It will be at the same location, Abbess Farm, as this year. I'll be there with bells on and hope that you will too. I imagine that the line-up will be just as much fun and even more intense, given that it will be condensed to two days. Mark your calendars for a great time. I'll tell you more as I learn it. Right now I'm home in SW Virginia, preparing to head down to Savannah, Georgia to Kevin Barry's, opening on Monday, the 28th and going through Sunday 3 August. As you may or may not know, 4 August is the birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard - born in 1790, so I'll have to do a song or two for them on the 3rd. Later that week, I'll be at Delaney's in Columbia, SC - 14-16 August. The 14th is National Navajo Codetalkers Day. A debt is owed there. On the 16th, we celebrate National Airborne Day - 1940. Another debt owed. Of course, I always keep in mind those men and women who are in harms way today. This thing ain't just a day at the beach or a hike in the mountains. God bless them all.