District Happenings

Why an Irishman traveled 5634 miles for the Standin’ on the Corner Festival

His name is Peter O’Kelly, an Irishman from Bangor loaded with charm and smiling Irish eyes. I liked him the second he walked into the Motor Palace Mercantile and said hello. How could you not with his devilish grin and wit?

Peter O'Kelly at the Motor Palace Mercantile in Winslow Arizona

Plus, I love saying his name. Peter O’Kelly. The name rolled off my tongue every time I saw him: Peter O’Kelly.

Brian Law and Peter O'Kelly at the Motor Palace Mercantile Winslow Arizona
With Brian Law (or “Dougie” as Peter called him…) at the Motor Palace Mercantile

So why was Peter O’Kelly in Winslow Arizona?

For the Standin’ on the Corner Festival

Yep. The singer/songwriter came 5634 miles across the sea to attend the festival. Why? Because Peter has a special connection to the event.

(With Mayor Tom McCauley Photo Courtesy Peter O’Kelly)

A couple of years ago, Peter contacted the Standin’ on the Corner Foundation about hosting a festival of his own in Bangor–a three-day music event featuring tribute band The Illeagles.

“I’d been reading about that Glenn Frey statue in Winslow, but I was up at the Wilgar Blues Festival in belfast last year when my mate turned to me and said, “Hey, we could have a blues festival in Bangor.” I replied no, we’re goint to have a Standin’ on the Corner Festival in Bangor — and I couldn’t shake the idea even though I might have had a pint or two at the time.”

Peter O’Kelly quoted from Spectator Newspaper

Pint or two or not, Peter followed through. The festival was a great success.

Winslow goes to Bangor

The relationship between Bangor and Winslow continued from there, and in 2018, foundation member Greg Hackler went to Ireland for the festival.

“The first ever Standin on the Corner Festival in Bangor, Northern Ireland was terrific. A wonderful tribute to the Eagles. Thank you, Peter O’Kelly. We had good craic.”

Greg Hackler
Peter O'Kelly with Standin on the Corner Festival in Winslow Arizona foundation member Greg Hackler

Craic, by the way, is the Irish way of explaining the level of fun surrounding a particular night out. 

This year, it was Peter’s turn to come to Winslow.

“I wanted to come and stand on the corner and be part of the ambiance and enjoy.”

Peter o"kelly Standin on the Corner in Winslow Arizona

The Tuesday before, he flew into Phoenix and hopped a Greyhound bound for Winslow. When I asked him what he thought of our town, he said:

Exceeded my expectations. I was exponentially impressed with how friendly everyone was and how many people were at the statue, and with the positive energy that has created. There’s an holistic effect that couldn’t have happened anywhere else.

As for the festival? He said the One of These Nights tribute band was the best he’d ever heard. Plus, he got a photo op with the guys from Mogollon.

Peter O'Kelly with band Mogollon during Standin on the Corner Festival in Winslow Arizona
(Photo courtesy Peter O’Kelly)

Peter sums up his visit to Winslow this way:

“What a superb experience in Winslow. I met lots of brilliant people too, everybody was so friendly, full of love. The place has almost a spiritual atmosphere to it projecting a wonderful positive energy. Great times, great place, and great people.”

Peter O'Kelly in the Flatbed Ford during the Standin on the Corner Festival in Winslow Arizona

Well Peter O’Kelly, Winslow feels the same about you. Please come back and visit real soon.

Peter O'Kelly with Winslow locals at Relic Road during the Standin on the Corner Festival in Winslow Arizona

Until next time…

Take it Easy

P.S. Peter had the privilege of hanging out with the sculptor who created EASY, Ron Adamson! Stay tuned for an article on him. If you want to hear Peter sing the famous song, click the picture below!

Peter O'Kelly with sculpter Ron Adamson during the Standin' on the Corner Festival

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3 Comments

  • David Busse

    Let’s encourage more visitors from afar to visit Winslow via Amtrak’s “Southwest Chief.” Board at LA,Albuquerque or Chicago!

  • Becky Graybeal

    I enjoyed spending an afternoon with Peter at my Dad’s house. I was lucky enough to get a copy of his CD too! What a friendly, funny, great guy!

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