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History of Oklahoma SCOTFEST

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Celebrating over 30 years of Scottish Culture in Green Country!

SCOTFEST is Oklahoma’s Premier Scottish Highland Games & Celtic Music festival, the flagship celebration of Celtic history, music and heritage.  With attractions for the entire family, the festival offers a great selection of beers, food, crafts, music, dance, pipes & drums and highland games and a dedicated kids glen.  A September tradition featuring genealogy and family (clan) history, excellent live musical entertainers of local, national and international merit, traditional folk and Celtic rock music, a great selection of Scottish and American beers, whisky tastings, Scottish and Irish dance demonstrations, solo piping, drumming and pipeband competitions and so much more. This event also features Scottish heavy athletic competitions with over 60 athletes, strongman competitions, a Parade of Celtic Dogs, vendors of Scottish crafts and products, demonstrations of Scottish traditional domestic skills, as well as continual education sessions and workshops throughout the day.

The very first SCOTFEST, originally named the Oklahoma Scottish Games and Gathering later named the Oklahoma Scottish Festival was held on June 4th, 1980 on the grounds of Holland Hall Middle School, Tulsa.  A few hundred Scottish aficionados attended this inaugural event. Over the next three decades, the increasing attendance caused SCOTFEST to move several times including locations like Manion Park and Chandler Park seeking more space and better accommodations.  In 1996 SCOTFEST expanded to a two-day format in response to increased attendance.

Currently SCOTFEST, now a 3 day event, and since 2005 hosted from Tulsa’s River West Festival Park with an anticipated attendance of 20,000 people and growing, coming from across Oklahoma and surrounding states.  Our most recent addition to the festival is our Strongman competition featuring over 20 athletes from around the country in addition to the over 60 Highland Games athletes competing.  Organizationally, we have downsized, streamlined and become a much more efficient organization working more closely and in partnership with the River Parks Authority to help develop and grow our unique cultural experience.  However, like all volunteer organizations, we are always looking for new enthusiastic people to come on board and help build on the recent successes of our event.

SCOTFEST2012 introduced a couple of fantastic new bands to the line-up with Celtica-Pipes Rock!, two world class bagpipers and a kick-ass Rock band. The amazing sound of the Great Highland Bagpipes, high-spirited and passionate, in company with fiery Pub Rock was a real energizer! and Murder the Stout, formed in 2004 from Houston.  They play progressive Celtic Rock music led by native Scotsman, Hugh Morrison, on lead vocals & squeezebox.  MTS have been compared to a Scottish version of The Pogues, with folk, rock, punk & ska influences all apparent in their music.

 

“There are a number of people who come out just for the beer and the music like Oktoberfest, some who come to dance and others who wish to learn about their history and ancestry, but it’s open to everyone, a great family friendly experience.  If you’ve never visited us, it’s probably the best Oklahoma festival you’ve never been to..!”  said Steve Campbell, festival director.

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