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 is set to be another amazing year. Check out the entertainment line-up so far:
Three Entertainment Areas to Choose From for 2018
|9 – 9:45 a.m.||Biddy on the Bench|
|9:45 – 10:30 a.m.||Dram and Go|
|10:30 – 11:30 a.m.||Bill Mullen|
|11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.||Golden Bough|
|12:30 – 1:30 p.m.||Biddy on the Bench|
|1:30 – 2:30 p.m.||The Fire|
|2:30 – 3:30 p.m.||Golden Bough|
|3:45 – 5 p.m.||The Fire|
|12:30 – 1:30 p.m.||Dram and Go|
|2 – 3 p.m.||Biddy on the Bench|
|3:30 – 5 p.m.||Biddy on the Bench|
|1 – 2 p.m. (VIP TENT)||Bill Mullen|
|8:30 – 10:15 a.m.||Fiddle Workshop (Dance Studio) – TENTATIVE|
|10:20 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.||Fiddle Competition (Dance Studio) – TENTATIVE|
|10 a.m. – Noon||Genealogist (Room 108)|
|1 – 1:30 p.m.||Pizza Box Bodhran with Golden Bough (Room – TBD)|
|2:30 – 3:30 p.m.||Fiddle and Harp Rally – TENTATIVE|
|3:30 – 4:30 p.m.||Ceilidh Dance Social (Room TBD) – TENTATIVE|
Times, events and locations are subject to change. Please check back often or check the program on the day of the event.
Biddy on the Bench
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
Bill Mullen – the Wandering Scotsman
Inspired by great Scottish and Irish folk music in his native Dundee, Scotland, Bill has played guitar and performed in bands most of his life. After moving to the USA in 2007, he became a solo artist and has played Irish & Scottish venues, festivals, pubs and clubs in many parts of the country.
Bill is no stranger to the Portland Highland games, he sings and plays Scottish songs old and new, tells you their history and you’re sure to laugh at various stories. He has also written songs from his unique experiences, you may here some of these too. Be ready to join in and enjoy yourself as he weaves a Scottish spell around you.
In his fourth year travelling and entertaining around Scotland, Holland and the USA including Hawaii, Bill will be in Portland for a few weeks before heading East to Wisconsin and Florida then off to Scotland.
“It’s always great when Bill is playing!”
For more info see
Long before the popularity of Celtic Women & Celtic Thunder and long before Celtic became a household word, Golden Bough 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 album of Celtic songs reflecting the Celtic Festival atmosphere.
They also dedicated an entire CD (Songs of Scotland) to the music of Scotland. “Having listened to a spate of Scottish CDs – this CD is a sheer delight. Overall a refreshing and enjoyable collection of Scottish songs and music.” Justine Salmon, Tradition Magazine, UK.
With a dazzling array of acoustic instruments; Celtic harp, guitar, violin, viola, penny-whistle, octave-mandolin, accordion, and bodhran (a hand held Celtic drum), and a haunting vocal style, Golden Bough presents a program that leaves little room for audience members to lose interest.
Golden Bough performs in concert and at Highland Games and celtic festivals all over the West Coast. This Fall they will return once again to perform at The International Talisker Highland-Games in Trebsen, Germany.
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 sound. 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.”
For further information on Golden Bough, their recordings, concert schedule and history you can access their website at www.goldenboughmusic.com.
Dram and Go
Founded in early 2014 by professional piper Micah Babinski, Dram & Go is an elite Scottish music trio based in Portland, Oregon. The core of the Dram & Go sound consists of the borderpipes, fiddle (Rachel Bowen), and guitar (Anton Emery), but they also regularly incorporate banjo, whistle, mandolin, and Irish flute in their arrangements. Dram & Go can be found performing at pubs, festivals, and private events in the Portland metro area and beyond. The band has two albums, a self-titled debut and Heads, Tails, and Heart released earlier this year. Dram & Go’s music invites audiences to explore the rich trans-Atlantic intersections of Scottish piping, old-time fiddle music, and Irish trad while maintaining a forward-looking repertoire heavy on the band’s original compositions.
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
Don Anderson – Genealogy Class
In 2016, Don Anderson presented, “From Native American to Scottish” during the Portland Highland Games. His primary message was how genetic genealogy is an effective tool in breaking through Brick Walls existing in family trees. Don was adopted and was successful in finding both of his birth parents – his mother in 2001 by means of a birth certificate and his father through DNA testing. Since then he finished his book entitled, Paper And Spit: Family Found: How DNA and Genealogy Revealed My First Parents’ Identity.
Don is a life long resident of Oregon and the book has many references to our state and his journey from believing he was Native American to Irish and finally learning of his Scottish heritage. His family were the founders of the Tillamook Cheese factory and the cheddar recipe is still used today.
At the 2018 Portland Highland Games, he will share his story to promote DNA testing and encouraging people to look into their own genetic past. hi will not be selling DNA testing, but rather advising attendees which tests would be right for them.
Ceilidh Social Dance
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.
Bodhran Drum Workshop
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.
Youth Games & Activities – (Upper Field)
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.
British Motorcycles are BACK!!
The British Motorcycles this year have been graciously supplied by Sam Justice, of the Oregon Norton Enthusiasts www.OregonNorton.o