As Montrealers, we know that come St-Paddy’s day, we’re all Irish. Speaking of the Emerald Isle, many of us mistakenly attribute all things Celtic solely to the Irish, when it actually represents a broader group and culture. Having Celtic roots on my mother’s side myself, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I’ve made that mistake. Luckily for us all, the Montreal Celtic Society is hosting Celtic MTL 2015 that will teach and entertain us with all things Celtic. I recently interviewed Society President, Devin Shanks about the event.
Stephanie Weiner (SW): Tell me about yourself and your Celtic background… When did you join the Montreal Celtic Society?
Devin Shanks (DS): There are Scottish backgrounds on both sides of my family (mother & father), however the Shanks family arrived in New Brunswick in 1821 from County Down, Northern Ireland who were originally settlers from Scotland. They are generally known as the Ulster-Scots.
Although the MCS has been around since 2012, I joined in the early spring of 2013 to assist with the marketing and event planning side of things. I was then appointed as Vice President later in 2013, and then became President by mid-2014.
SW: What led to the creation of Celtic MTL?
DS: Well I was at a pub one night (ha, ha), at an Irish community gathering. Not only did this event bring in members of the Irish community, but also a few from other Celtic communities who participated to create new networks. I thought to myself for a second and thought; hmm, wouldn’t it be something else to have an event where everybody can be represented at the same time in one giant location. Since I am a big fan of conventions (especially the comic/sci-fi ones), the idea of a convention based setting came to me except one that focuses on the Celtic communities, heritage, and culture while adding in guest speakers, performers, and entertainers.
So from that night while enjoying a pint (or three), Celtic MTL was born, and a year and half later, that simple idea will now be a reality this coming May 2 & 3.
SW: What can patrons expect from Celtic MTL 2015?
DS: They can expect the unexpected (ha, ha!). Basically what we’ve done is invited people who represent different Celtic nations which not only include the Scottish and Irish, but the Cornish (Cornwall, UK), Welsh (Wales, UK), Manx (Isle of Man), and Bretons (Brittany, France) as well. This will show people that the Celts include many more regions than most people believed to be.
SW: How many people are you expecting over the two days?
DS: Since we are hosting the show in the heart of downtown Montreal inside the main atriums of two Concordia building, and one of them is sitting right on top of Guy-Concordia metro station, and furthermore it being a FREE event… We expect a flow of at least 2000 people during the course of the weekend.
SW: It looks like there’s something for everyone with music, vendors, a film, stories, etc. What are you most looking forward to?
DS: I am very excited about all of it to be honest, but there is one particular panel which I am extremely excited to see (because I’m also a big fan) is Terry Mosher aka Aislin on the Sunday at 1 pm. He is a true icon in this city and I am so honored to have him give a panel for us at this show. Aislin has participated in many Celtic community events over the years and it wouldn’t be the same without him at ours.
SW: If there were one thing you could tell our readers about Celtic MTL 2015, what would it be?
DS: Come to Celtic MTL 2015 and discover the Celt in you!
For a full schedule, click here.
Celtic MTL 2015 at Concordia University Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (1515 St. Catherine St. West). May 2 & 3. Free.