It’s a bittersweet year for The Elders. This year marks the band’s 20th anniversary of playing together, but the members of the powerhouse Irish/ Celtic band recently announced that 2018 will be the last year they plan to perform together—at least for the foreseeable future. They’re simply ready to move on.

“I don’t think any of us ever imagined performing together for this long,” says Steve Phillips, one of the original members, along with Norm Dahlor and Brent Hoad. Other band members include Irish-born singer Ian Byrne, who joined the original members in 2001, his son Kian on guitar and drums, and female fiddler Diana Ladio. In spite of changes throughout the years, the energy and the musical style have remained steady.

The group is ending on a high note; its eighth studio album, True, released in October, solidified the band’s reputation as storytellers and flawless musicians. Even with recording success, fans know that the magic of The Elders happens on stage.

Appearing as a showcase act at venues throughout North America and Europe, The Elders perform at many Irish festivals, with yearly appearances at the Kansas City and Weston fests. “It’s inconceivable to have an Irish festival without The Elders,” says Michael Coakley, co-owner of the Weston Brewing Company, which has hosted the Weston Festival for 13 years.

The group’s chemistry on stage is perhaps best experienced during the song “Appalachian Paddy” from the Building a Boat album. While The Elders sing and play on stage, fans link arms and shout the lyrics:

Put your arms around each other/And sing to the angels up high, Shake your fist to the devil and begrudgers,/Give a kiss to the one by your side.

The Elders’ St. Patrick’s Day hoolie, an annual celebration of Irish music and dance, will take place at Knucklehead’s Saloon in Kansas City on March 17. Get more information and check other performance dates at