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, an extensive line-up of community cultural events, and a nightly Festival Club. Hundreds of artists from all over the Celtic music world are featured each year with more than three-quarters of them being from Nova Scotia in 2016.
Since its 1997 debut, Celtic Colours has become one of Canada’s premiere musical events, and a cultural highlight of Nova Scotia’s tourism season, collecting accolades ranging from regional music awards to national and international tourism awards. The Festival has extended Cape Breton's tourism season by two weeks and over the past 20 years has been responsible for more than $100 million spent on the Island.
One of the things that sets Celtic Colours apart is that it isn’t limited to just one location. Communities around Cape Breton Island host concerts and workshops. These are the communities where the culture has been nurtured for over 200 years, and this history provides some context for the Island’s deeply-rooted musical culture.
Celtic Colours is held during Cape Breton’s most spectacular season, autumn, when the leaves are turning colours and the vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges bring the breathtaking scenery to life as festival-goers travel from event to event. Venues vary from an 18th Century reconstructed French Chapel to state of the art performance facilities to community halls and churches, but all venues share the prominent place each holds in the community it serves. The Celtic culture of music, dance and story-telling lives on in these communities and provides foundation for the celebration of living culture that is the Celtic Colours International Festival.
The 21st Celtic Colours International Festival takes place October 6-14, 2017. The full schedule will be announced June 26, with tickets going on sale July 11.