The 16th annual Celtic Colours International Festival was an outstanding year by any measurement and a record-smashing year in terms of ticket sales. A total of 20,276 tickets were sold to performances, an increase of almost 2,000 tickets over the previous high reached in 2011, marking the first time the Festival has sold more than 20,000 tickets. An additional 13,854 patrons from all over the world joined the celebration by tuning in to live concerts streamed via the internet.
The audience for Celtic Colours comes from far and wide, and this year the number of both local and visiting audience members increased. Fifty-five percent came from off-island with the remaining 45% being from Cape Breton. They came from 49 US States, all provinces and territories except Nunavut, and 31 other countries. The total number of off-island visitors was 7,371 and the amount they spent while they were in Cape Breton, that was directly attributable to Celtic Colours, increased from $7 million in 2011 to $8.1 million in 2012.
It was also a big year in other ways. Celtic Colours offered 46 performances as well as 238 Community Cultural Experiences in partnership with 117 non-profit organizations and venues. Community Cultural Experiences were held in 45 communities and were attended by 14,000 people. The “Celtic Colours in the Schools” program was presented to 3,736 students in 19 schools throughout Cape Breton. More than 2,000 volunteers contributed 27,000 hours toward making the event a success.