With Saint Patrick’s Day just days away, South Florida gets ready to do it all over again—
the green clothes, the music, the dancing, the Guinness, the Jameson, the craic. You know, a real celebration, Irish style. St Patrick’s Day started in Boston in 1737 so we Americans, Irish Americans, diaspora and expats know how to throw this party. We invented it. It’s our tradition. It’s 2013 and lots has changed but some things never go out of style.
We’ve been singing the same old songs since The Irish Rover was written. Few things evoke a sense of heritage and Irish pride like a few pints at the pub while singing The Fields of Athenry. As this new century moves into it’s second decade, this Celtic holiday and celebration of everything Irish embraces a new generation of music. The soundtrack of what it is to be Irish evolves with Floggin Molly calling their fellow Irish-Americans to have pride in their Irish heritage—aggressively. The rebel songs that filled the Irish pubs in the last century would most certainly lose in a fight against The Dropkick Murphy’s with their punk rock blaring bagpipe fusion. But hey, at least it’s Irish—apart from the bagpipes, they’re Scottish. But at least it celebrates our shared immigrant heritage. Besides Guinness, the rock band U2 are Ireland’s biggest export and what more could you ask from these international ambassadors of love and peace? So who cares then if something is as Irish as Patty O’Furniture once it unites us as countrymen and women?
“U2 may seem appropriate to the uninformed for an Irish event and indeed provide rousing entertainment (perhaps more appropriately at an evening affair) for the young adults and plastic paddys in the beer lines, it is NOT an experience which promulgates Irish culture, which is the basis for this American Holiday” argued Mr Peter Taylor. He was asking them to reconsider their decision to have U2 cover band UV perform following the parade rather than something a little more, well, traditional. And what a response he got.
The Grand Marshall of the parade and other key organizers all listened with open ears. Maybe we shouldn’t throw out centuries of tradition with the arrival of a new one.
LETTER TO THE MAYOR OF HOLLYWOOD
the Honorable Peter Bober; Mayor Of City Of Hollywood, Florida
As a life long resident of our fine city, my children (and now my children's children), and I have always enjoyed the Hollywood Paddy's Day Parade and took a certain pride that our heritage could be shared with whimsical delight to people of all ethnicities. Moreover, the root of the tradition in the urban fire and police institutions allows us to extend tribute to our civic institutions and showcase our churches and cultural legacy. Indeed Step dancing in Young Circle and my own youthful participation in a city sponsored production of "Fenian's Rainbow" at the Band Shell are amongst my fondest childhood memories.
However, I am deeply distressed that the scheduling of 2013 events have excluded the performance of a local band, Celtic Bridge, to accommodate UV, an U2 cover band.
While heavy metal covers of U2 may seem appropriate to the uninformed for an Irish event and indeed provide rousing entertainment (perhaps more appropriately at an evening affair) for the young adults and plastic paddys in the beer lines, it is NOT an experience which promulgates Irish culture, which is the basis for this American Holiday. To be clear, this is not an objection to the performance by UV, they put on a fine show. It is simply as incomprehensible as it would be were Bruce Springsteen to displace a local cantor at High Holy Day Services. Sure, it would be more eclectic and have broader appeal and increase the draw, but it would undermine the fundamental reason for the event.
Celtic Bridge is an uniquely authentic treasure trove of traditional celtic music, as well as the Irish and Irish American ballad traditions from which the Paddy's Day celebrations emerged (and eventually found ther way back to the Auld Sod to accompany the religious origin of the holiday). The talents of these world acclaimed musicians (three of whom are Hollywood residents) are the epitome of Irish performance art and should be central to events such as this. We should afford our children exposure to the real deal. Certainly there are year round opportunities at a multitude of venues for a heavy metal experience for an appropriate audience, while the "Trad Music" is generally relegated to the Pub Scene, from which our children are generally excluded.
While I realize there are practical limitations on event scheduling, crowd retention issues and technical requirements for equipment and myriad other mundane factors involved, I would ask that you prevail upon the bureaucracy which makes such decisions to be more sensitive to the real essence of the celebration, rather than the ther own predispositions, and honor the intent of the tradition.
I thank you for your consideration, most sincerely,
Peter M. Taylor
The Field Irish Pub & Eatery read this letter as it pertained to one of it’s most popular acts, Celtic Bridge who had performed live at the festival in Hollywood many times before.
Phone calls were made and with the help of a fantastic Irish-American couple from Davie and Prestige Property Management, Celtic Bridge performed
on a float, in the parade! Mickey Byrnes and The Field hosted them afterwards while UV’s cover of “Where the streets have no name” reverberated down Hollywood Boulevard. As the sun set in Bono’s glasses, everyone was happy.
And when the sun rises on St Patrick’s Day I know we’ll all be happy. At The Field we’ll surely have lots of the old with a healthy dose of the new. So when you wake that morning, ask yourself a question—
What does St Patrick’s Day mean to you?
Join us at The Field this St Patrick’s weekend
2 DAY FESTIVAL — SAT 16 & SUN 17 MARCH, 2013