Rad trad! Irish Music Festival at Floyd Bennett Field this weekend

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Irish music isn’t just fiddles and jigs in 2/4 time. The scene is actually much more diverse, with influences of hip-hop, reggae and jazz finding their way into many modern bands.

For a taste of that diversity, you can’t do any better than Aviator’s Irish Music Festival on June 26 and 27, when 10 bands will bring Irish music, both traditional and contemporary, to Floyd Bennett Field.

Headlining both nights is Black 47. Now in its 20th year on the road, this Manhattan-based band has become the face for American Irish rock music — a poor man’s U2. Not that that’s a bad thing. The band has gained fans for their Celtic leanings, with music that borrows from Irish instrumental tradition and adds in reggae, hip-hop and jazz influences — a true child of the city.

Chris Byrne helped found Black 47, but eventually focussed on his own Irish music project — Seanchai and the Unity Squad. If you’ve been to Rocky Sullivan’s in Red Hook on a Saturday night, you’ve most likely seen them play their eclectic mix of hip-hop, reggae rock and trad. Catch them on the big stage outdoors on June 27.

For a mix of contemporary and traditional music, there’s also Boston’s Erin Og on June 26, mixing fiddle, tin whistle and acoustic guitar with powerful vocal harmonies.

The festival will also feature more traditional Irish acts, chief among them Girsha on June 27. The young women are the spawn and pupils of another all-female trad act — Cherish the Ladies — so you know they’ve got the goods.

Irish Music Festival at Aviator Sports in Floyd Bennett Field [3159 Flatbush Ave. off the Belt Parkway in Marine Park, (718) 758-7556], June 26, 2-11 pm; June 27, 2-10 pm. Tickets are $20 ($30 for the weekend). For info, visit

Updated 5:18 pm, July 9, 2018
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