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What to do for St. Patrick's Day weekend in Jacksonville

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The countdown to St. Patrick’s Day 2014 has begun. There are plenty of pubs around Jacksonville anticipating the holiday with clocks counting down to the second posted on every bar. Many of these joints will feature live music over the weekend; most of them have booked all types of Celtic bands in celebration of the Irish holiday. Lucky for Jacksonville, several local bands move to the beat of Celtic music, regularly. They will be showcased throughout the city for the entertainment of locals and visitors alike.
Jacksonville is definitely a good place to seek out good music, especially because you can find it around town for free, or at least at the price of a meal you would already be buying. Many of the music festivals hosted here are free-entry, as well. You won’t want to pass up the opportunity to celebrate in Jacksonville if you do not already have big plans for this weekend. Let this list serve as your guide to the most festive goings-on around the city.

The Great Atlantic Music Festival
The Great Atlantic Music Festival Amber Locke

The Great Atlantic Music Festival

If you are still looking for a place to celebrate over the weekend, head out to Jax Beach on Saturday, March 15 for the “only oceanfront seafood festival in the southeast,” the Great Atlantic Music Festival.  There will be entertainment for people of all ages, and, best of all, this event is free to enter.  Along with local food trucks and a kid zone to enjoy, several bands will be performing throughout the afternoon. 

The live music will kick-off with cover band, The Paul Lundgren Band, followed by celtic rock band, Seven Nations.  Local band, recently named one of Jacksonville’s “Breakthrough Bands in 2013” by Folio magazine, Jackson Vegas will perform next.  

Then, Americana-folk band, Canary in the Coal Mine, featuring some haunting female vocalists and country-folk music, takes the stage.  Rounding out the evening, the local Celtic rock band Rathkeltair will perform, as well as the rock, hip-hop and reggae genre-melding, Split Tone.

Fionn MacCool's St. Patrick's Day Craic
Fionn MacCool's St. Patrick's Day Craic Amber Locke

Fionn MacCool's St. Patrick's Day Craic

Fionn MacCool’s authentic Irish pub will be hosting festivities throughout the weekend, known as the St. Patrick’s Day Craic.  On Monday, March 17, the actual St. Patrick’s Day holiday, this pub will be the best place in Jacksonville to celebrate.  The restaurant will open at 8 a.m., serving a traditional Irish breakfast.  Around noon, check out the St. Augustine classic Celtic band, Jig to a Milestone.  This duo prides themselves in being new faces for old music.  Their traditional style is definitely refreshing seeing as much of the new-age Celtic music tends to be hard-rock.
Afterward, you can stick around to experience U-Zoo, a U2 tribute band.  Later that evening, Jimmy O’Salori will perform, followed up by, Something Distant, a rock band straight out of Jacksonville.  Something Distant is on tour, as well as working on a new album.  They have shared the stage with many popular musicians since forming in 2005; Yellowcard and Florida's own Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, just to name a few.

Live music at Meehan's Irish Pub
Live music at Meehan's Irish Pub Amber Locke

Live music at Meehan's Irish Pub

Head over to St. Augustine to celebrate at one of the most popular Irish pubs in downtown, Meehan’s for Monday, March 17, afternoon and evening celebrations.  The pub has an authentic Irish feel and features live music at least four nights a week. 

If you can’t attend Fionn MacCool’s celebration on Monday, you have a chance to see Jig to a Milestone from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Meehan’s. 
Prior to this performance, Dublin Trainwreck will take the stage during the afternoon from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  This duo also plays traditional Celtic music and their Irish accented vocals will have you believing you are actually sitting in a pub in Ireland.
Ireland native, Michael Funge, will perform from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. for all of the late-night partiers taking advantage of Meehan’s Irish beer collection.  The bartender has verified that the kegs are stacked for the event and they do not plan on running out of Guinness or any of the other beers to enjoy while listening to the original Celtic musings of these traditional acts.