Celtic Colours International Festival is an annual Celtic music festival held in October in communities across Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada. First edition was held in 1997. The festival has featured hundreds of international musicians from the Celtic world and has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the island of Cape Breton. The 2018 edition will be held from 5 to 13 October.
For nine days in October, Cape Breton Island is home to a magical celebration of Celtic music and culture, with the Celtic Colours International Festival featuring dozens of concerts across the island, a wide range of workshops, a series of visual art exhibits and a Festival Night Club. Over the years, the artists have travelled from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, Britain, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Cuba and Sweden, as well as from all over the United States and Canada.
World Class Concerts
In one of the many concerts you will find some of the world’s best musicians sharing the stage with the best singers, dancers, musicians, storytellers and culture bearers of Cape Breton, in places ranging from community halls and churches to modern schools and theatres.
With Celtic Colours’ ambitious agenda (up to six concerts a day), it’s simply impossible to see and hear everything. The Festival organisers have realised this, so they take special care in the programming of each show so that it is possible to taste everything that the Festival has to offer on a given day. Whether it’s Gaelic singing, Cape Breton violin playing, local dance traditions or a world-class bagpipe evening, visitors can adapt their musical experiences to suit their tastes.
Community Cultural Events
At the festival visitors will enjoy a variety of workshops, presentations, demonstrations and lectures on Celtic history, music, dance, art, crafts and community heritage. Outdoor Events: Guided walks, hikes and boat rides put you outdoors.
The Visual Arts Series offers a wide variety of arts and crafts events. Exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops celebrate the creative spirit breathed in Cabo Breton.
Visitors can also foster conviviality and friendship by sharing their home-cooked food at one of the many Community Meals or visit one of the Farmer’s Markets where we’ll find locally grown food, honey and handmade products.
Late Night Festival Club
One of the most popular features of Celtic Colours is Festival Club. Located at Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, the Festival Club opens its doors when the evening concerts are over, offering Festival artists the opportunity to perform in a more informal setting, or to hold jam sessions with friends and colleagues from near and far. Hosted by well-known singer-songwriter Buddy MacDonald of nearby North Shore, the performance is by invitation only and depends on the artist’s availability on any given night. The Festival Club is open every night from 11pm to 3am and is for those over the age of 19. Photo identification is required.
Colaisde Na Gàidhlig / The Gaelic College dining room is open and all-night breakfast begins at 1:30am. There is a free all-night shuttle service between Gaelic College and some accommodation in the Baddeck area.
The Autumn Beauty of Cape Breton
The festival is held during Cape Breton’s most spectacular season, when leaves change color and vibrant reds, yellows and oranges bring the breathtaking scenery to life as you travel from event to event. These trips can take you around pristine Lake Bras d’Or, Canada’s largest saltwater lake, or around the Cabot Trail, often called North America’s most scenic route. Wherever you go in Cape Breton at this time of year, you’re sure to find incredible scenery every step of the way.
Celtic Colours International Festival begins on the Friday of each Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.
2018 – From 5 to 13 october
2019 – From 11 to 19 october
2020 – From 9 to 17 october