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Upcoming Events

13 Jul


Skagit Valley Highland Games Performance

A set of songs and tunes; some old and some new!

presented by:
Skagit County Fairgrounds
Mount Vernon, WA
14 Jul


Skagit Valley Highland Games Performance

A set of songs and tunes; some old and some new!

presented by:
Skagit County Fairgrounds
Mount Vernon, WA
22 Aug to 25 Aug

Camping ceilidh logo, people around a campfire at night with a harp, people in camp chairs in the woods holding instruments

Camping Cèilidh 2024

Do you play, sing, or just enjoy Irish, Scottish, or Cape Breton traditional music and camping? Pitch your tent at Deception Pass State Park for a casual weekend of tunes, songs, food, drink, and fun in the woods by the beach.

Your Hosts

Seumas Gagne, Christine Traxler, Christian Hoffman, Suzanne Taylor, and Alicia Guinn, longtime colaborators in Irish and Scottish music and dance, are looking forward to welcoming friends old and new to Camping Cèilidh! The group brings a wealth of knowledge of Irish dance tunes, Scottish Gaelic songs, traditional Irish and Scottish songs in English, and Irish social and sean-nós dance that guarantees a well rounded celebration!

Group Camp Site

We have booked the group camp site at Deception Pass State Park which can host around 40 people. It is on the eastern shore of Cranberry lake, so a little further removed from the ocean, but also far removed from the rest of the camp sites. Read more about Deception Pass and the group camp site.

Gentle Organization

Camping Cèilidh includes a little bit of gentle organization. Times and places will be set aside for specific sessions to be sure that tune players get to play lots of tunes and singers get to sing lots of songs.

We will also be joining all together for a cèilidh each evening at which everyone is welcome to share.

Alicia Guinn will be facilitating Irish social dance sessions, so remember to pack a pair of leather-soled shoes! Learn more about Alicia here:

Immersive game-play Scottish Gaelic language sessions will also be presented.

There will be a potluck on Friday evening that you can participate in if you like.

A full schedule of events and additional details will be sent to registrants in advance.


The Camping Cèilidh team has so-far produced two books for participants: The Book of Common Tunes and Leabhar nan Òran Cumanta. The first is a collection of mostly Irish dance tunes selected by Suzanne from The Session website at The latter is a collection of leadsheets with melody, suggested chords, and lyrics for 16 well-known songs in Scottish Gaelic compiled and edited by Seumas.

PDF editions of both will be emailed to all registered participants prior to the event. Along with your registration, you can also purchase a printed copy which will be available for you to pick up at the event.


Registration is available to those 18 years or older. Registered parents and guardians can bring their kids with them for an additional charge.

Arrival day will be Thursday, August 22nd and departure day will be Sunday, August 25th. If you decide to arrive late or leave early that will not change what it costs us for the group site, so no change to your registration fee will be offered.

Register now on Eventbrite!

Registration Assistance

If you would like to make a donation to the Camping Cèilidh Assistance Fund, you can add it into your registration as an Add-on item. Donations will help your fellow Cèilidh Campers who might otherwise be unable to attend. Any remaining funds after the event registration closes will be donated to the Celtic Arts Foundation. Donations are NOT tax deductible.

If you are in need of help from the Assistance Fund, please email to let us know.


Cancelations received by July 30th 2024 will receive a full refund. Cancelations received between August 1st and the start of the event will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be available for cancelations received during the event.

Covid Safety

Camping is one of the safest things you can do in a global pandemic because the great outdoors has great air circulation! Of course, we will be following current CDC guidance for infection prevention.

presented by:
Deception Pass State Park
Oak Harbor, WA
18 Jan


Pender Harbour Music Society Concert

I'll be joined by my longtime music collaborator, Christine Traxler, and a cellist to be named later for an afternoon of sharing the riches of Gaelic music.

Pender Harbour Music School
Madeira Park, BC


scary looking man with booze

Baile Ard

Seumas' first solo CD containing a mix of traditional and original songs in Scottish Gaelic as well as traditional dance tunes. Additional musicians featured on this recording include Christine Traxler on fiddle, Colin Isler on cello, Tom Fallat on percussion.
Cover of Prophecy and Blessing

Prophecy and Blessing

Seumas was a founding member of Wicked Celts, who were active in the mid 1990s in Seattle. Christine Traxler has continued to collaborate with Seumas on many projects including his first solo CD, Baile Ard.

Current Workshops

Workshop and festival organizers! This is a list of my current topic-oriented workshops. I can also provide group instruction in level-based repertoire and style development in my area of expertise, Scottish Gaelic music.

All levels

Beginning Scottish Gaelic

Harp needed: No

Using the innovative Language Hunters teaching method, participants will be shocked and how much useful, conversational Gaelic they can acquire in just 90 minutes.

Four Great Gaelic Songs for Every Harper

Harp needed: No

In this workshop, participants will learn the melodies, suggested chords, and the words of the refrain to four great Scottish Gaelic songs. Prior attendance at Introduction to Scottish Gaelic For Singing Harpers would be very helpful.

Secrets of Classical Harp Technique

Harp needed: Yes

In the folk harp world we often hear pedal harpists talking about technique, but what does that really mean? In this workshop I teach just the basics of classical harp technique tailored for the folk harper. You'll learn about tone, hand and arm position, how to use a metronome to take your playing to the next level, no matter what level you are at now.

Spilling the Tea on the Sìth

Harp needed: No

In this workshop I share an in depth look at several pieces of literature and other original sources to examine what the intact Gaelic traditional knowledge system tells us about the Other People. It isn't all capes and wings, I'll give away that much!


Common Figures in Dance Tunes

Harp needed: Yes

In this workshop I teach a series of exercises that I developed to help harpers get some of the common melodic figures from Scottish and Irish dance tunes into their fingers. We'll progress slowly from a snail's pace toward performance tempo and see how far we get!

Rocking the Background

Harp needed: Yes

Guitar players can create tremendous energy and flow with the rhythms they strum when they accompany singers and tune players. We can do the same thing with our harps, and in this workshop I'll show you how without ever looking at a note of written music.

Waulking Songs on the Harp

Harp needed: Yes

The Scottish Gaelic song literature boasts several unique song forms; waulking songs among them. In this workshop, participants will learn a few of the traditions around this ancient tradition of wool milling and learn the refrains and melodies of several songs to take back to their harps.


Cape Breton Fiddle Tunes on the Harp

Harp needed: Yes

A great source of dance tunes that are playable on the harp is the literature of Cape Breton fiddlers. In this workshop, advanced players will learn several Cape Breton tunes of difference types that Seumas learned from the playing of Wendy MacIsaac.