Music With Marnie is ready to delight families at CelticFest Vancouver this weekend!
With spring comes community festivals and outdoor concerts! There’s nothing more fun than seeing a group of young children gathered around a stage, moving their bodies, enjoying music and live performance. That’s what we’ll see at the upcoming CelticFest Vancouver this Saturday March 18th. This free, family-friendly two day festival runs March 17, St Patrick’s Day from 4pm – 9pm and Saturday March 18 from 10am – 9pm in šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square – North of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
This annual celebration of Celtic culture and community, includes a family zone, the Little Bookshop mobile bookstore, storytelling, face painting and photo booths. Families will enjoy live music, performance, a beer tent (for parents), food trucks, Irish dancing, a Celtic-themed market, Irish Wolfhounds, sports demonstrations and more.
Vancouver’s family-favourite Marnie Grey aka Music With Marnie will be performing on the main stage Saturday March 18th at 11am. Marnie is the winner of 8 West Coast Family Magazine Reader’s Choice Gold Awards for Best Performer, Best Children’s Band and Best Music Classes. Her top songs include hits like They’re Monkeys, Oh the Bump, JUMP and Kangaroos. Marnie and her monkey sidekick Mumbu have performed at theatres and festivals across Canada including several sold out shows at the International Children’s Festival. Marnie’s fourth album SUPER KIDS won a Parent’s Choice Bronze Award and was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award.
We chatted with Marnie about her passion for performing for kids and the excitement about kicking off the 2023 festival season at CelticFest Vancouver.
What do you love about performing for children?
The reasons are endless! I am in my absolute element when it comes to working with and performing for kids. Although Music with Marnie has been around for almost 24 years, I still think that I’m an educator first, and musician second. I love connecting with the kids and believe that music is one of the best tools for that. Plus performing is so cathartic. There is so much joy in jumping around and singing with young kids. I don’t think I could be any luckier.
What inspires your songs?
Children’s passions are definitely the biggest inspiration. I think of all the things children enjoy such as puddles, firefighters or monkeys and build a song from there. Ideas are sparked in my classes or in moments of peace and silence. Songs will often come to mind while I’m walking my dogs or early in the morning when I’m setting up for class. If I have a moment, I will usually record an idea on my cell phone right then and there.
What are some key requirements when writing children’s songs?
I am really lucky as I have worked with children for so long and I have an incredibly talented band. As an Educator I know what most children will really love, and as talented musicians, my band can create the perfect music that is fitting to the lyrics, the children and often parents tastes. My music is almost all movement / dance based so usually I incorporate simple actions – 90% of which is jumping – to me there is still nothing sweeter than seeing a group of kids JUMPING!
What is your favourite part of performing in a festival environment?
The collective energy of kids! After that, it’s meeting all of the other artists. We have toured with Taiwanese acrobats, magicians, puppeteers and more. I am so inspired and blown away by the amount of talent out there.
What are you looking forward to at CelticFest this year?
This will be my first outdoor concert of 2023! I am so excited to share the stage with talented entertainers, dancers, fiddlers and bagpipes. Celtic music is so fun! I was asked to perform in 2020 when the festival wasn’t able to go ahead so this has been a long time coming! I love performing outdoors and seeing all the kids dancing and singing along together with their parents. Plus, I get to wear green – my second favourite colour!
Other programming kids will enjoy includes storytelling with Jess Murray, the bagpiping duo Frank and Frankie and performances from the O’Brien School of Irish Dance. Hearts Beat, a celebration of the shared traditions of Indigenous and Irish drumming, dancing and storytelling will also perform. The Vancouver GAA Club will run youth Gaelic mini games, skills and drills for kids. Details, activity and performance times can be found at www.celticfestvancouver.com.