December 5 2019 Announcement

It’s with great sadness that the remaining board members of Big Stone Celtic have agreed that there is no practicable way to continue.

With the move out of the area by our Chair, Darinda Lockhart, our Celtic music adviser Jack Beck and our Treasurer Wendy Welch, the remaining members cannot cover their work in addition to the others’.

In conformance with Virginia law all remaining funds will be transferred to another 501c3 organization of the Board’s choice.

Over thirteen years the festival grew from a Saturday afternoon to Friday evening and all day Saturday. We’re proud of what we achieved and the number of people we drew into downtown.

We thank you for your support over the years.

Welcome to Big Stone Celtic 

A celebration of the traditions of the Celtic Nations
~ music, song, stories, food, crafts and dance.

A Brief History

Big Stone Celtic began in 2007 with a small half day festival in one venue (Miners Park) to test the waters and see what interest there might be for a larger event. Numbers were encouraging, so the festival expanded to a full day, using a variety of downtown venues and modeled on traditional music festivals in the Celtic Nations of Europe. More recently with the support of Pro-Art a Friday evening concert has been added to begin the move towards a full weekend event.

Big Stone Celtic encourages visitors to the downtown area with its diverse merchants. The festival is an opportunity for folk from across the region to enjoy the Celtic culture of their settler forebearers. Finally, we try to emphasize the strong links between Celtic music and that of the Appalachian Mountains.

Because most of the venues are public areas it is difficult to charge an entry fee, therefore the festival is largely a free event with most costs covered by donations from Pro-Art , local government, businesses and individuals.

In 2012 the festival became a 501c3 non-profit under the umbrella of The Folk Alliance.

What Does "Celtic" Mean?

The term Celtic is strictly speaking more to do with a shared culture rather than shared genes. The culture began in eastern or central Europe (there are competing theories on exactly where), and spread to most of the continent before eventually being pushed to the extreme western fringes. There are currently seven recognized Celtic nations - Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, Galicia and The Isle of Man. In addition Nova Scotia is aiming to be recognized as the eighth. We would contend that Appalachia has a strong case to be the ninth.

The culture is recognizable through linked language, music, food and artistic design as well as games and sports.

In our area the main connection is to the Lowland Scots and the Scotch Irish (Ulster Scots) and is exemplified in many ways including music, ballads, language and social community, not to mention a strongly independent attitude.



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We are very grateful to the following sponsors for their generous support -

  • Pro-Art
  • Quesenberry'S
  • Wise County
  • Town of Big Stone Gap
  • Freedom Chevrolet
  • South-West Insurance Agency, Inc.
  • Wellmont Health System
  • Moving Forward
  • Tales of the Lonesome Pine
  • Cloverleaf Chiropractic
  • Belltone Hearing Care Center
  • Mike Dizney
  • Old Dominion Power
  • Riggs Oil
  • Big Stone Gap Lawyers
  • Gap Lumber
  • Bennett and Edwards Realty
  • and five anonymous donors