By Laurel Munroe – Cape Breton Post
Board chair Wayne MacIntosh summed up those feelings Saturday night at a fund-raising dinner at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, where the lineup for the 2001 festival was announced.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” MacIntosh said. “We have more performances and workshops than ever and we’re very excited about this year.”
Last month, Celtic Colours was named the top cultural event in the country by Attractions Canada and the American Bus Association has designated the festival the top event in Canada for 2001.
The fifth annual festival, which runs Oct. 5-13, will see more than 200 performers take part in 60 shows and workshops in 30 island communities.
Renowned Scottish musician Phil Cunningham will make his first appearance at Celtic Colours this year. A member of the legendary group Silly Wizard from 1976 to 1983, Cunningham went on to amass a large body of work in film, theatre and radio and has produced albums for supergroups Altan and Wolfstone, among others. His latest orchestral piece, Ceilidh, had its world premiere with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra this year.
Cunningham will be part of the gala opening concert, which returns to Centre 200 in Sydney, Oct. 5.
He will be joined by Natalie MacMaster, Buddy MacMaster, Mary Jane Lamond, Scottish guitar virtuoso Tony McManus – a perennial Celtic Colours fan favourite, Scottish supergroup Clair, Galician piper Susana Seivane and the 8 Wing Trenton Pipe Band.
Festival producer Max MacDonald, of Rave Entertainment, called the opening “a showcase for what the rest of the festival will be like.”
Celtic Colours will wrap up again this year with The World’s Biggest Square Dance, in Baddeck, where Cape Breton’s finest dance players – including Buddy MacMaster, Carl MacKenzie, Ashley MacIsaac, Howie MacDonald, Kinnon and Betty Lou Beaton, Jerry Holland and Glenn Graham – will welcome a host of international performers.
Other featured artists from Scotland include: Gaelic singer Ishbel MacAskill, who has performed at Celtic Colours every year since its inception in 1997, Archie Fisher, cMc, Allan, Angus and Ian MacDonald, Brian McNeill, Simon Thoumire and Gibb Todd.
The hot young group Danú, who wowed audiences at last year’s festival, will return from Ireland, along with fiddler Liz Doherty and folk singer Aoife Clancy.
Additional featured performers from Cape Breton and the rest of Canada include: J.P. Cormier, John Allan Cameron, Winnie Chafe, Ron Hynes, Dave MacIsaac, Sandy MacIntyre, Scott Macmillan, Chris Norman, Evans & Doherty, McGinty, Gordie Sampson and Symphony Nova Scotia.
Several new venues have been added to the festival schedule this year, including Strathspey Place, in Mabou, The North River Centre for the Performing Arts, the Royal Canadian Legion in Port Morien and Brookshaven Hall, in Prime Brook.
The workshop component of Celtic Colours will also be expanded.
“We expect to have even more Gaelic content than we have in the past,” said Joella Foulds, of Rave Entertainment.
McManus and Lamond will be the first-ever Celtic Colours festival artists-in-residence.
The Celtic Colours festival has an annual economic impact of over $4.5 million and attracts more than 8,000 ticket-buyers from around the world.
Gold sponsors of this year’s event are the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism and Culture, Enterprise Cape Breton Corp., the Royal Canadian Mint, CBC Maritimes and the Cape Breton Post.
Tickets will go on sale July 16, a full month earlier than usual.
For more information, visit the Celtic Colours Web site at www.celtic-colours.com.
Visit the Cape Breton Post online