Entertainment and Demonstrations
Being able to participate in the Scottish fun is a big part of the Portland Highland Games. From enjoying live music to trying out a new skill or just browsing through vendor booths, the Games offer you a ton of activity and enjoyment to fill a whole Saturday.
2018 Information Coming Soon
We’re still working on organizing all the entertainment and activities, but we left last year’s information up so you can see what to expect.
- Border Collie Demonstration
- Genealogy Discussion with Laurence Overmire
- Ceilidh Social Dance
- Pizza Box Bodhran Class
We have lined up a great list of bands who will be performing on our entertainment stages.
- The Fire
- Golden Bough
- Biddy on the Bench
Check out more about these bands below.
- 10:30 AM
- 11:30 AM
- 1:30 PM
Border Collies are a favorite of the PortlandHighland games. Come see their demonstration as they move and herd sheep around a course. If the sheep are too tired, unattended children may be used. (only partially kidding)
Ceilidh Social Dance
- 3:30 – 4:30 PM
The Ceilidh Social dance is your chance to try your hand at Scottish Country dancing. With live music, learn some of the basic moves and socialize with other attendees of the Portland Highland Games. This event is fun for everyone, young and old.
Pizza Box Bodhran Lesson
- 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Have you ever wanted to learn how to play the bodhran? Don’t know what a bodhran is? The bodhran is an Irish drum. We may not have drums enough for everyone, but we do have pizza boxes. Come learn some Irish rhythms with the musician of The Golden Bough as they teach you the basics… on a pizza box.
- 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
LAURENCE OVERMIRE has had a multi-faceted career as a genealogist, poet, actor, director, educator and public speaker. He is the author of 10 books, including five on genealogy. To help others become aware of their intriguing ancestral ties, Overmire researched many of the early immigrants to America, tracing not only their celebrated ancestors but also the prominent Americans who descended from them. As well as his books on genealogy, Overmire’s poetry has been widely published in the U.S. and abroad in hundreds of magazines, journals, and anthologies. The Ghost of Rabbie Burns: An American Poet’s Journey Through Scotland, is his fourth collection of poems, though it also includes a fair amount of family history and genealogy.
- 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM
A special area on the Upper Field is designated for young Highlanders and their families! This ever-popular Childrens’ Games and Activities are brought to you by the Girl Scouts.
All competitors receive a participation medal. No registration is required. You can drop in at any time, between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. A parent must be present while their child is participating. Entry fee of $5 covers all activities and supports the Girl Scouts.
- 1:30 – 2:30 PM (Upper Field Entertainment Stage)
- 3:30 – 5:00 PM (Upper Field Entertainment Stage)
The Fire is a high energy pure-drop Scottish music band, with world-class fiddling in combination with bagpipes, guitar, bodhran, whistle, and bouzouki. The group includes International Scottish Fiddle Champion Rebecca Lomnicky, multi-instrumentalist David Brewer of the popular Celtic band Molly’s Revenge, and Adam Hendey on guitar and bouzouki. Members of the trio have each spent copious amounts of time delving into the traditions of their respective instruments, with Rebecca and David having additionally lived and studied in both Edinburgh and the Highlands of Scotland. Together, The Fire performs captivating Scottish music which bridges the gap between the fiddle and bagpipe music of Scotland—two worlds united, into a heartfelt and rousing musical experience. Between their entertaining and informative stage banter, vast array of instrument combinations and extensive repertoire, including everything from soaring slow airs to intricately arranged dance tunes, these charismatic performers will leave you on your feet with your hands together. The Fire has headlined at Celtic festivals such as The Pleasanton Scottish Highland Games, The Utah Scottish Association Highland Games, The Portland Highland Games, The Sedona Celtic Harvest Festival, The Northwest Folklife Festival, The Oregon Scottish Festival, The Yachats Celtic Music Festival, The Monterey Scottish Games and Celtic Festival, and has performed at a variety of venues throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland.
The Fire is currently based out of Santa Cruz, California, and has recorded two albums together.
Find out more about The Fire at: firescottishband.com
Biddy on the Bench
- 9:45 – 10:30 AM (Upper Field Entertainment Stage)
- 12:30 – 1:30 PM (Upper Field Entertainment Stage)
- 2:00 – 3:00 PM (North Field Entertainment Stage)
- 3:30 – 5:00 PM (North Field Entertainment Stage)
The versatile combination of banjo, guitar, mandolin, tin whistle and four part vocal harmony lends itself equally to high-energy Irish rebel songs and shanties, lively session tunes, and mournful Gaelic ballads. Grounded primarily in the folk/traditional style of Irish music pioneered by such bands as “The Dubliners”, “Planxty”, and “The Bothy Band”, Portland’s own “Biddy on the Bench” breathes life and authenticity into old standbys of the genre and lesser-known tunes alike.
In the winter months of 2013, Biddy on the Bench was formed. The members include Kevin Grgurich, Nick Frey, Noah Cotter, Casey Dyer, and Tristan Cormack. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Kevin, Nick, and Tristan have been playing music together for close to a decade. Noah and Casey are Oregon natives and bring with them years of experience with Irish music. Together, Biddy on the Bench approaches each song, each melody, with a passion for the music and sharing it with others.
Find out more at their website: biddyonthebench.com
- 11:30 – 12:30 PM (Upper Field Entertainment Stage)
- 2:30 – 3:30 PM (Upper Field Entertainment Stage)
Long before the popularity of Celtic Women & Celtic Thunder and long before Celtic became a household word, GoldenBough was bringing their style of Celtic music to fans throughout the United State and Europe.
Since 1980 Golden Bough has been delighting audiences with their unique renditions of the Celtic music of Ireland & Scotland. Besides their many years of touring, these modern day minstrels have recorded over 30 albums. Their latest release, “Celtic Festival”, embodies the music and the spirit of a lively music festival.
Golden Bough got the idea for their new CD after performing at Festivals, Highland Games and Fairs. Fans kept asking “Which is the liveliest?” To satisfy the requests, they put together a fun and uplifting album of Celtic songs reflecting the Celtic Festival atmosphere.
Performing on a dazzling array of acoustic instruments (Celtic harp, guitar, violin, viola, penny-whistle, octave-mandolin, accordion, and bodhran), along with a haunting vocal style, Paul Espinoza, Margie Butler and Kathy Sierra present a program that keeps audience members delighted.
The Celtic nations share a long history of culture and fine arts and their music often intertwines to create the powerfully emotional sound of what we now call Celtic music. Golden Bough was founded with the concept of combining this music with various folk styles, highlighting their own compositions. For almost four decades Golden Bough has been delighting audiences with their exceptional interpretations of the music of the Celtic nations and the uniqueness of their original compositions.
In the recording studio, as well as on stage, Golden Bough captures the essence and joy of traditional folk music and captivates audiences with the uniqueness of their original compositions. Wind and Wire Magazine had this to say, “There is a love of this music by the performers that is obvious. A great example of how to do something the right way when many are just doing it, period.”
The music of Golden Bough is enjoyed by listeners of all ages. You’ll be hard put to sit still once the fire of Celtic music is flamed by these fine entertainers. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!
For further information on Golden Bough, their recordings, concert schedule and history you can access their website atwww.goldenboughmusic.com.
- 10:30 – 11:30 AM (Upper Field Entertainment Stage)
- 12:30 – 1:30 PM (North Field Entertainment Stage)
MAC is, at its core, part of the natural progression of Celtic music as it has worked away into the American consciousness. RyanMcKasson (fiddle), Elias Alexander (bagpipes/vox), and Colin Cotter (guitar/vox) are all three well-versed in the Celtic music tradition, and the music that they write and perform as the contemporary Celtic-American folk trio, MAC, is steeped heavily in this timeless tradition while also calling upon influences ranging from rock to classical. MAC’s performances reveal fiery personas tempered with artistry, finesse, and virtuosity as they draw from a deep well of innovative original music and lush arrangements of traditional songs and tunes. MAC is, at its core, part of the natural progression of Celtic music as it has worked away into the American consciousness. RyanMcKasson (fiddle), Elias Alexander (bagpipes/vox), and Colin Cotter (guitar/vox) are all three well-versed in the Celtic music tradition, and the music that they write and perform as the contemporary Celtic-American folk trio, MAC, is steeped heavily in this timeless tradition while also calling upon influences ranging from rock to classical. MAC’s performances reveal fiery personas tempered with artistry, finesse, and virtuosity as they draw from a deep well of innovative original music and lush arrangements of traditional songs and tunes.
Find out more about the band at www.tunesbyMAC.com
Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
- 10:30 – 11:30 AM (North Field Entertainment Stage)
Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) is the social dance form of Scotland. Dances are typically performed with 3-5 couples, and generally in two lines or in a square. The dancers work together to perform a sequence of formations which eventually bring them back to their starting positions, each couple having danced as the head couple at least once. Musicians play lively music in quick time and dramatic music for passionate dances at events small and large. The Royal Scottish Dance Society (RSCDS) has standardized, reconstructed, and collects new dances for everyone to enjoy. Scottish Country Dance is very sociable – it is common to dance with many different partners during a night of dancing, and many dancers in the Pacific Northwest circulate around the area to the larger functions of the nearby branches. Thanks to the standardization efforts of the RSCDS, it is very easy to dance with other RSCDS groups all over the world, even in the absence of a commonly spoken language.