Kilkenny will welcome five American marching bands for its 2024 St. Patrick's Festival, which will be held March 15-18.

The medieval streets of Kilkenny, with its majestic castle backdrop, will be filled with the entertainment of five top American marching bands during the St. Patrick’s Festival, a four-day event offering a unique blend of pageantry, performance, and atmosphere.  The event has been dubbed the “Big Festival In A Small City."

From March 15-18, Kilkenny will come alive with visiting musicians, ‘craic agus ceol’, and free events. Attractions include the ‘big wheel’, Kilkenny Castle lit up in green, street food, traditional Irish music and, of course, the main event – The St. Patrick’s Day Parade with the Grand Marshal, who has just been announced as Kilkenny hurling legend Richie Power.

The marching bands' highly-anticipated performances, have become a festival tradition since “The Marching Illini” first visited in 1992.

The experience was so enjoyable for The Marching Illini, they have returned to play in the festival eight times since - no mean feat considering the fiercely competitive application process and costs to visiting bands, which can run up to a half a million dollars.

The US marching bands have been so popular in previous years, this year’s festival will feature daily entertainment and performances by bands from all over the USA.

This year's marching bands include: The West Carolina Marching Band, Olentangy Orange High School Marching Band, Science Hill High School, Lakeville South High Marching Band, and The Cherokee Trail High School Band.

On March 14, in the lead up to the festival, The West Carolina Marching Band will perform in front of Kilkenny Castle. This award-winning 500-strong troupe are often called “the world’s largest funk-rock band,” playing a crowd-pleasing repertoire of up-tempo pop tunes, with electric guitars, vocalists and other musical elements not typically associated with marching bands.

On  March 15, when the festival officially kicks off, Olentangy Orange High School Marching Band will have their first international performance at the St. Patrick’s Festival Kilkenny in the Castle Park. The band recently marched in the Hollywood Christmas Parade and Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.

March 16 will see the return of the Lakeville South High Marching Band, which took part in the St. Patrick's Festival in 2018.  Also on March 16th, hailing from Johnson City, Tennessee, the multi award winning Science Hill High School marching band will be parading through the Kilkenny’s medieval streets with one of their regions largest marching band programs in their 85 year history.

On St. Patrick’s Day, The Cherokee Trail High School Band, from Aurora Colorado, will play a range of tunes from the American back-catalogue including Jazz, Big Band, American Folk and Hoedown, plus musical numbers and a march by John Philip Souza.

For more information on the St. Patrick's Festival Kilkenny, visit