Dayton Music Insider Top Pick: Dayton Celtic Festival

After Dayton's beloved City Folk Festival stopped running, the Dayton Celtic Festival claimed the crown of largest downtown festival. The United Irish, who organize, host and manage this annual festival in collaboration with Five Rivers MetroPark, do not take that responsibility lightly. Each year, they work tirelessly to ensure it's filled to the brim with live music, fresh brews, and lots of fun!

Not Irish? No problem! This inclusive festival certainly celebrates all things Celtic, but certainly remains accessible and enjoyable for people of all heritages. In fact, nearly 100,000 festival goers head downtown Dayton for this special event! So if you've never been, this is surely the time to check it out!

Over 3 days, you can enjoy exciting free live music, yummy brews and foods, cultural workshops, whiskey tastings, a 5k run/walk, bike ride, a children's area, and yes, a parade of kilts!

Keep reading to get the deets on this year's Celtic Festival, along with many other fun original music events around the Miami Valley.

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Friday July 28th

Friday right after work, is when you can kick off the weekend at the 16th annual United Irish of Dayton Celtic Festival  at RiverScape MetroPark. If you love live music, enjoy FOUR stages of continuous live musical and dance entertainment - over the entire weekend! This year's festival features seven headliners: Gaelic Storm, Scythian, Socks in the Frying Pan, We Banjo 3, The Elders, Skipper's Alley, and The Fitzgeralds, along with lots of local and regional entertainers. This event is rain or shine (stages offer covered seating). Visit or call (937) 372-9788 for more information. Festival runs Fri., July 28, 5.30-11 p.m.; Sat., July 29, 11.30 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sun., July 30, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. All ages! FREE!


One of the area's upcoming festivals, Canoegrass , is hosting a preview night at Dayton Beer Company, with Harold Hensley of The Repeating Arms. He'll be performing his self-described lonesome indie folk with a twang! There will also be contests, raffles, and Canoegrass ticket incentives! Music from 8-10pm

Definitely one of the most anticipated shows of the weekend is This Pine Box and Andy Gabbard Dual Release Party, with Shrug at Yellow Cab. Take a listen to Andy Gabbard ’s follow-up solo album Plenum Castle and promising young Dayton band,  This Pine Box ’s The Way Out. Special guests,  Shrug will be opening the show. Very cool! Tickets are $7 in advance through Eventbrite or $10 at the door. $5 extra for under 21. 8pm doors. 8:30pm-11:30pm show. All ages!

One of the rockin' ladies of Dayton, Gretchen from Oregon Express, is hosting a seriously and equally rockin' birthday with local bands Tigersex, Dark Backward and R.I.N.D. Definitely will be ragin' over there - so get in on the party! 9pm-1am 21+ $5 cover. (PS... Happy Birthday Gretchen!)


Missing singer songwriter nights? If so, be sure to check out the Song Writers in the Round with Charlie Tipton & Tony Herdman at  Hannah's on Ludlow. Food specials are also on tap - so bring your appetite too! Show 9pm - 2am.

A great night of music is happening at South Park Tavern with  A Sides / B Sides and Rite of Venus. Enjoy some bluesy grooves and straight rock'n'roll. 21+ No cover! 9pm.

Saturday July 29th

Saturday you can enjoy one of the area's truly unique eventsYe Olde Yellow Cabaret XI - Faeries, Pixies, Sprites & FriendsIt's an entertainment spectacle that features bands: Frenchy and the Punk  and Echo Mecca, Sideshow: Calvicade of Curiosities, Bellydance: Troupe Roja, Fire Dancing:  DaShane StarFox, Aerial Arts: Unicorn & Hooping: Kelsey Jean, Burlesque: Ember, Draglesque: Miss Stixin Stones, Music: DJ V-Ral. Personally love all the dance featured! There will also be lots of vendors at this Yellow Cab event too! Show 7pm-1:30am. All ages (under 18 must be accompanied by parent). $15 pre-sale. Day of show tickets available too.

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It's time for another Gem City Get Down at Blind Bob's Bar! Hosted by MC Picket Fence with music provided by Trunk Bound Regime & DJ Domestic Bliss. This time around this event supports, which has been able to help many small businesses around the globe! Just a $3 donation to get in! It's extra cool knowing the funds are going to such awesome causes! 9pm doors. 21+

Sunset Junkies are back at The Oregon Expressfor a rockin' night with their friends Evil Eye Gypsy and Stella's Demise. Hailing from Lima, Sunset Junkies is set to impress the Dayton crowd with their hard rock riffs. Show 10pm. $5 at the door. 21+.

Get your groove on late night with The Mainline Funk  at  Hannah's on Ludlow. The Mainline Funk loves mixing in jam, blues, and reggae into their funky jams. Will definitely get ya dancing! 11pm-2am.

A brand new Dayton band, Slur, is hosting their first show at South Park Tavern. Congrats!! Joining them are  Goon and Bundy And The SpinsLots of anticipation for the is punk show!! Get your seat early! 10pm show. 18+ FREE!


Last but not least, out in Eaton, there will be lots of tears and hugs at the Good Bye Party of Manfredthe longtime owner of Taffy's of Eaton, and one of the area's biggest champions of live music! There will also be an introduction of the new owner. Lots of area musicians will be performing in Manfred's honor, including:  Moriah Haven, Lani Williams, Bob Dellaposta, Deano Rogers,  Jimmy Woollard, Gary D. Williams, Jennifer Taylor, Dave Hawkins, Kevin Loving, Mike Crook, and Darrell Montgomery ! 8pm-1am. No cover!

And as always, thank you for supporting live music!

Your Dayton Music Insider,

Libby Ballengee

Note to Readers:  The information above is for July 28th-29th, 2017. If I don’t list a price, I’m not sure what it is. Typically cover charges for local concerts are $5. Please click the hyperlinks to find out more about the bands, venues, and events, including start times, directions, and ticket availability.   Keep up with my live music adventures on Facebook, Instagram, or  Twitter. Enjoy the show! 

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