If you’re new to town or if you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you might not know the Craic Fest is a four times a year festival of the best of Irish film and music that has been turning it out flawlessly for over a decade.
All that excellence costs money, so June 1 is the start date for the annual Craic Fest rooftop benefit at Bar 13, 35 East 13th Street in Manhattan. Proceeds from the highly affordable bash will go to the Wee Craic Fest, which is the leaner, meaner, one-night-only film and music festival usually held in September.
To get you to come down and check out the vibe while you raise money for the number one Irish film and music festival, the June 1 benefit at Bar 13 features a three-hour open bar sponsored by Milagro Tequila and Dos Equis larger.
This time the Craic Fest organizers have lined up the well-known Brooklyn based DJ and percussionist Nappy G.
“One reason why we booked him is that he reaches an international audience and both music and film lovers love him, be they New Yorkers, the Irish here or the international audience his music appeals to,” explains Craic Fest founder and owner Terence Mulligan.
With Milagro Tequila and Dos Equis sponsoring the event, $25 will get you a tempting three hour open bar from 6-9 p.m. featuring a rooftop revel with Nappy G and a third floor private room featuring DJ Khay spinning. “All in all it’s going to be a festive night,” says Mulligan.
He knows what he’s talking about. In March Mulligan’s festival brought the YouTube Irish phenomenon the Rubberbandits to the U.S. for a sellout gig at the Mercury Lounge. The band, which commands a devoted Irish following globally, had the biggest selling Christmas album in Ireland with their debut Serious About Men.
Their New York gig was once of the most talked about of the year and proof that the Craic Fest’s reach goes far beyond just the Irish community here.
“Our programs sell out each year because we have found the format that works best for us,” Mulligan explains. “This year was our most successful artistically and financially. It’s all down to the combination of the right films and the right bands.”
The Craic Fest has friends in high places too, which helps. Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy have been special guests at Craic Fest screenings and band nights, so you never know which celebrities you’ll be rubbing shoulders with, and that’s one of the cool things about Mulligan’s events.
“The real special guests for us are really the Craic Fest fans themselves,” says Mulligan diplomatically, but he’s telling the truth. Every year the festival’s fans make the event worthwhile through the special buzz they bring.
“The high number of Irish fans make our festival unique among all of New York’s films and music festivals,” says Mulligan. “Other festivals tend to rely on celebrities and their clout is determined by how many show up, but the Craic brand is always about the films and the music first and foremost. That focus won’t change, no matter who shows up.”
Gay and lesbian Irish film and music fans (and their friends) are also part of the Craic Fest’s equal opportunity yearly programming, and last year’s debut outreach to the community was so successful that it’s being offered again this year.
“We do two events with the Irish Arts Center now, one of which includes the Craic’s gay and lesbian festival which will be coming up again on June 22. That’s one way we’re branching out and forming new alliances. The major part of this job is planning ahead, and since we’re community focused, we want to reach as wide an audience as we can,” Mulligan says.
It’s also a testament to the small but completely dedicated team that Mulligan has assembled. Year after year they manage to lock up the best Irish films and bands and bring them – often for the first time – to New York’s appreciative audience.
For information on the Craic Fest visit www.thecraicfest.com. Donations of $25 accepted at the door.
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