Since 1997, the Celtic Colours International Festival has featured hundreds of musicians from all over the Celtic world and attracted tens of thousands of visitors to Cape Breton Island. For nine days in October, Cape Breton Island is home to a unique celebration of music and culture as the Celtic Colours International Festival presents dozens of concerts all over the island, an extensive line-up of hundreds of community cultural events workshops, a visual art series of exhibitions, and a nightly Festival Club.
One of the things that sets Celtic Colours apart from the vast majority of festivals is that it isn't limited to just one location. Communities around Cape Breton Island host concerts and workshops at a time when the fall leaves are at their most brilliant and traveling around the island offers one breathtaking view after another. These communities are the places where the culture has been nurtured for over 200 years providing context for the roots of the music and celebrating each community's contribution to our living Celtic culture. In many of these communities, the local fire hall, parish hall or community centre has hosted musical events for generations, in some cases, literally moving the fire trucks out of the hall to accommodate a dance. Venues for Celtic Colours vary from an 18th Century reconstructed French Chapel to brand new state of the art performance facilities to community halls.
With Celtic Colours International Festival's ambitious schedule (as many as six concerts each day), it is simply impossible to see and hear everything so special care is taken in the programming of each show so that it is possible to get a taste of all that the Festival has to offer on any given day. Whether it's Gaelic singing you are most interested in, or Cape Breton fiddling, or local dance traditions, outstanding accordion playing, perhaps, or an afternoon of world-class bagpiping, Celtic Colours festival-goers can tailor their musical experience to suit their tastes. Workshops, offered in many aspects of Celtic and Gaelic culture, allow visitors and residents alike to get the hands-on experience they desire. Host communities around the island present workshops in Gaelic language and song, components of tradition, instrument instruction and traditional dance, as well as offering cultural tours, ceilidhs and a lecture series. They also organize an extensive array of community events including meals and dances. One of the most popular features of the Celtic Colours International Festival every year is the Festival Club. Located at the Gaelic College in St. Ann's, the Festival Club opens as the evening concerts are closing, offering an opportunity for Festival artists to perform in a more informal setting, or to get a session in with friends and colleagues from near and far. The festival is held at the height of the island's spectacular fall colours, allowing visitors to enjoy breathtaking scenery as they travel to their next event. Traveling to an event may take a visitor around the pristine Bras d'Or Lakes, Canada's largest saltwater lake, or around the Cabot Trail, often called North America's most scenic drive. Celtic Colours won the 2011 Cultural Tourism award and the 2007 Event of the Year award from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. The event has received four East Coast Music Awards for Event of the Year, (2005-2008), and was named American Bus Association's Top Event in Canada and Attractions Canada's Top Cultural Event in 2001. In recent years, Cape Breton Island has also been recognized by Conde Nast Magazine, National Geographic Traveler and Travel and Leisure Magazine as among the top travel destinations in the world.
Facilities / Services
- No smoking
- Public washroom
- Wheelchair accessible
- Bus tours welcome
- Parking Available