Ireland-based Screaming Orphans bring authentic sound to Glen Rock
The Penn-Mar Irish Festival at the Markets at Shrewsbury in Glen Rock promised a taste of Ireland for its approximately 2,000 guests Saturday.
And with an entertainment lineup that included award-winning Irish performers and a band based in County Donegal, Ireland, attendees knew they were getting an authentic experience.
The Screaming Orphans, an Irish and pop band of four sisters from County Donegal, are a crowd favorite at the festival every year.
But on Friday morning as they were on their way to the airport in Ireland, the sisters didn't know if their visa would be processed in time.
"There were people who were saying, 'I'm not buying tickets until I know that the Orphans are coming,'" festival organizer Mary Yeaple said.
This would be the band's first cancelled show and the first time they hadn't performed at Penn-Mar Irish Festival in five years.
"Of all the festivals, we need to get here for this festival," lead singer and drummer Joan Diver said. "There's a personal feel with this festival... This (festival) is what makes America, and this is why we love coming here (to America) and playing."
At the last minute, permission was granted, Diver said, and the band boarded a plane from Ireland to New York.
The second they walked in the gates, fans of all ages swarmed them, screaming, giving them hugs and showing off their band t-shirts.
"Seeing the fans has been so good because (I felt like we) were letting everyone down," Diver said.
"We find the (American) fans are incredibly loyal and supportive," she added. "It's so nice to come here and enjoy an intimate festival."
The band — made up of Joan Diver on drums and vocals, Angela Diver on bass and fiddle, Gráinne Diver on acoustic guitar and Marie-Thérese on keys and accordion – performed a set of old traditional, folk traditional and modern pop music at about 6:30 p.m.
Jackson and her friend Susan Deeney, of Havre De Grace, Md., have seen the Screaming Orphans perform about 15 times, and they've traveled as far as Ireland for concerts.
"(The first time I heard them), I was walking down a grassy knoll and I just stopped," Jackson said. "I fell in love with them (and) all the instruments they play."
The festival also included traditional Irish food and vendors and performances from All-Ireland champions John Whelan (accordion), Haley Richardson (fiddle) and Máirtín de Cógáin (fiddle), New Freedom Irish folk band Tommy's Fault, Lancaster County band Magill, Central Pennsylvania Celtic rock band Kilmaine Saints and regional Irish dance groups.
"This is such a nice festival," Deeney said. "I like that it's close by and they always get really great bands."