Clans will gather to celebrate Celtic heritage at third annual Moab Scots on the Rocks festival
by Rose Egelhoff
The Times-Independent
Nov 03, 2016 | 4052 views | 0 0 comments | 308 308 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Scots on the Rocks
Massed bands gather to perform at the 2015 Scots on the Rocks Moab Celtic Festival. Approximately 35 Scottish clans are expected to gather in Moab for the 2016 event. Photo by Cody Hoagland.
view slideshow (3 images)
Moab will host the third annual Moab Celtic Festival by Scots on the Rocks, Nov. 4-6. The festival will feature traditional highland dance, music and athletic competitions, as well as vendors and a gathering of more than 35 clans.

The festival begins with a tattoo at the Old Spanish Trail Arena, 3641 S. U.S. 191. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show will begin at 7 p.m.

The Celtic Festival tattoo will feature a color guard, massed bands — pipe bands that join together to play traditional tunes — dancers and two modern Celtic bands, Annie’s Romance and the Wicked Tinkers.

“Each [pipe] band chooses their songs that they compete with in different categories, but then they all play certain songs together,” festival organizer Marta Lamont said. “It’s amazing to hear these bands that didn’t practice together, play together that day.”

Marta and her husband, Dan Lamont started the festival three years ago after attending Celtic festivals around the West.

“[Dan] had always wanted to do these festivals,” Marta said. “ ... I’d never been to one and it was so much fun.”

The Moab festival grew quickly. A gathering of 35 clans is "enormous" for a relatively new event, Dan Lamont said.

“The first year we did really well — we didn’t expect [the attendance] we got,” he said. “This year it’s going to be a powerhouse.”

Last year, the festival drew roughly 2,000 people, and this year the Lamonts expect an even larger crowd.

“We want people to come to Moab, to enjoy Moab as well as the games,” Dan Lamont said.

The clans are a major draw for visitors, he said. Every clan has families that fall within the clan — the White and Brown families, for instance, fall within the Lamont clan “sept,” or wider family. The clan of Lamont has about 50 families, while larger clans like the Stewarts, McDonalds or Campbells may include more than 100 families.

People with Celtic heritage can look up family names in books at the festival’s clan booths to see which clan their ancestors fell under, and learn about the history of their clan.

This year, the festival has also been asked to host the North American Lightweight Women’s Championship for heavy athletics, in which the top 10 competitors from the U. S. and Canada compete to go to the Highland Games in Scotland. Events include a hammer throw, stone put (similar to shot put), sheaf toss, in which a bundle of straw is thrown over a high bar using a pitchfork, and the famous caber toss, which Dan Lamont jokingly described as “the guys throwing telephone poles.”

Aside from the women's championship, there will also be heavy athletics competitions for men and a range of weight classes.

“We’ve been told through the Celtic world that Moab will be one of the premier games in three to four years, which means, big,” Dan Lamont said.

New this year, the festival will have wine and whiskey tastings. There will also be music, door prizes, children’s activities and vendors selling Celtic crafts. Awards will be presented at the closing ceremony on Sunday, followed by an after-event party at Woody’s Tavern. Tickets cost $20 for all three days and will be sold at the gate.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.