For the third consecutive year, Cape Breton Island will come alive with the sights and sounds of the Celtic Colours International Festival. The Festival will take place from October 8 – 16, 1999 in communities throughout the Island at the height of Cape Breton’s beautiful fall foliage.
The past two Festivals have proven hugely successful and the 9-day celebration is ever increasing in popularity as a dynamic international event.
Last year, over 300 artists performed at 32 venues in 25 different communities. Almost 13,000 tickets were sold with forty percent of those from off-Island. The 1998 economic impact was estimated at $3.96 million. Sam MacPhee, Chair of the Celtic Colours International Festival Society, says all of the organizers are looking forward to October and being part of the Island-wide celebration once again. “We will open our doors and our hearts to performers, scholars and visitors from all over Canada and the United States, Scotland, Ireland and many other parts of the world,” says MacPhee. “The festival gives our local artists a chance to participate and share the culture with their counterparts from away. It’s great for our music industry, strengthens international ties and celebrates who we are.” With a $400,000 increase in total economic impact over the previous year, MacPhee says the Festival is sure to just keep getting bigger and better.
The Festival has become internationally and locally renowned for its celebration of a living culture as it exists in rural Cape Breton where the music, dance and Gaelic language have been preserved for more than 200 years. This year there
will be a greater focus on audience participation and sharing the culture. In addition to performances, other events organized by the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts & Crafts include workshops, square dances, milling frolics, Gaelic church services, lecture series, school programs and exhibits.
The dedication of both volunteers and sponsors has been an integral component of the Festival since its inception two years ago. Community groups across the Island offered to host some of the events and numerous individuals readily lent their support as stage hands, transporting performers to venues, and various other tasks.
In keeping with its rural emphasis, the Festival will base its artists and closing show again this year in the Village of Baddeck. The Baddeck & Area Tourist Operators are providing a Scarlet level sponsorship which allows artists and the nightly Festival Club to be housed in Baddeck. This central location enables performers and volunteers to return to a central location each night, adding to the opportunities to share the music which is so important to the artists. Celtic Colours has had a strong show of support and confidence from the Province of Nova Scotia since the Festival’s inception. New and returning Partners are also assisting this year including CBC Maritimes, Cape Breton Post, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, Human Resources Development Canada and Tourism Cape Breton who have come on board at the Gold Level. Air Canada/Air Nova, Baddeck & Area Tourist Operators, FACTOR and Cape Breton Credit Unions are Scarlet Level sponsors. Orange Level sponsors include Budget Car Rental, Cape Breton County Economic Development Authority, and CJCB/K94 Radio. The Celtic Colours Festival Society also appreciates the generous contribution from Northside Economic Development Assistance Corporation (NEDAC).
Rod Munroe, General Manager of the Sydney Credit Union remarked on the institution’s involvement with the Festival for the past couple of years.
“Cape Breton Credit Unions are dedicated to enhancing the economic, social and cultural well being of our members and the communities we serve. It is in keeping with this mandate that we are proud to support the Celtic Colours International Festival again this year.”
“Spectators from countries all over the world come to Cape Breton Island in October to witness its unique culture and vibrant fall colours during the Celtic Colours International Festival,” said Ken Tutty, General Manager of Tourism Cape Breton. “This event has had a significant impact on our tourism industry, extending the season well into the fall. Tourism Cape Breton is proud to be a sponsor of the Celtic Colours International Festival.”
Some of the famed entertainers who will perform during Celtic Colours 1999include: Dougie MacLean (Scotland), Llan de Cubel (Asturia, Spain), Cherish
the Ladies (USA), Paddy Keenan and Sean Tyrrell (Boston & Ireland), WrigleySisters (Scotland) The Black Family (Ireland) Alasdair Fraser and Tony McManus (Scotland), Punters (Newfoundland), Kilt, McGinty, Natalie MacMaster, Buddy MacMaster, Gordie Sampson, Slàinte Mhath, Jerry Holland, John Allan Cameron, Winnie Chafe, Jennifer Roland, J.P.Cormier and Mary Jane Lamond. Many more artists and culture bearers to be announced as Festival plans continue.