Ministry of Folk Wintery Weekend scheduled virtual style for Dec. 4-6

Matt and Shannon Heaton, Hanneke Cassel, Natalie Haas, and Katie McNally, long-time performers in the Boston-area Irish/Celtic music scene, will be among the artists at the inaugural Wintery Weekend Festival, which will be held in virtual format Dec. 4-6.

The event, which features 10 workshops, 5 online sessions, and 2 concerts, is being organized by the Ministry of Folk [], a Boston-based online initiative launched earlier this year to aid folk and traditional musicians in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other acts in the Wintery Weekend Festival lineup with Boston ties include Eamon Sefton, Louise Bichan, Galen Fraser, Calum Bell, Alex Cumming, Jenna Moynihan, Mairi Chaimbeul, Eric McDonald, Casey Murray, Maura Shawn Scanlin, and Conor Hearn, as well as Ministry of Folk co-founder Sarah Collins. They will be joined by notable artists from elsewhere in the US and abroad, among them Brian Ó hAirt, Iona Fyfe, Sam Sweeney, and Andrew Finn Magill. 

Festival events begin at 10 a.m. each day and run into the evening. Friday’s schedule includes “Tunes for Healing,” a workshop featuring McNally, Chaimbeul and Moynihan; a “Burren Irish Session” with Collins, Sefton, Hearn and Scanlin; and “Fine Winter’s Night,” a concert – presented in collaboration with Club Passim – of traditional and original music by the Heatons to celebrate the Christmas season.

Saturday will see an “Emmets Scottish Session” co-led by Bichan and Bell, a “Boston Tea Party” with Cassel, Haas, McNally, and Shannon Heaton, and a “Wintery Songs” showcase, including McDonald and Moynihan. 

Haas, McDonald, Hearn, Sefton, and Scanlin will present a “Chord Talk” workshop on Sunday, and the festival concludes with all of the artists participating in an epic finale concert that evening at 7 p.m.

The $50 weekend pass offers access to all festival events. For tickets and other details, go to

The Ministry of Folk maintains a directory for performers/teachers and a calendar of virtual concert or workshop events originating in Greater Boston and elsewhere that feature folk and traditional music. In addition, the website offers links to resources such as financial assistance campaigns for musicians and information related to teaching and performing online. The Ministry’s Facebook page and Instagram, linked from the website, augment its outreach.