The air is crisp, the sun still warm, the ocean a frothy grey blue, it’s autumn in Cape Breton- what a time for a party! Celtic Colours 2000 invites the world to come ceilidh on the Island this October. With a vast array of international, regional, and local performers, along with innovative workshops and lectures, this annual celebration is a must on every fall calendar.
This year’s festival has something for every taste. For those who love to hear the stories and songs of traditional Celtic lore, then performances by Dougie MacLean or Tommy Makem are not to be missed. If a more modern approach to highland music is to your liking, take in shows by Scotland’s Filska or Cape Breton’s own Barra MacNeils.
Featured this year on stage at one of the festival’s two opening events, Celtic Cabaret, the Barra Mac Neils will make the rafters of Centre 200 ring with their signature blend of Celtic artistry. Band member Sheumas MacNeil says the Barras are glad to be performing in Cape Breton, “We’re always happy to play at home. To be opening a festival like Celtic Colours and to share the stage with so many talented international Celtic artists is a real source of pride for us.”
Do you “have the Gaelic”, or just wish you did? Celtic Colours 2000 is offering workshops in language, dance, music, and more. There are interesting lectures and visual art displays planned. You can take in the Johnstown Milling Frolic and find out just why the Scots were so fond of wool!
Beyond establishing itself as one of the premier Celtic music and cultural events in the world, Celtic Colours goes a long way toward promoting economic and community development locally. Last year, the festival sold over fourteen thousand tickets to over eight thousand people, forty-nine percent of them from off-Island, and infused over four million dollars (4.4 million) into Cape Breton’s economy. In 1999, the festival revenues were up five hundred thousand dollars over the previous year.
Gold Sponsor Human Resources and Development Canada spokesperson Gary Humphrey says Celtic Colours is a unique addition to the local economy, “A festival like this one brings many benefits. By helping to develop our tourism and culture market and creating important opportunities in our cultural industries, the Celtic Colours International Festival enables Cape Breton communities to grow.”
This year twenty-six Cape Breton communities will host events. Whether in church halls, school gymnasiums, lecture theatres, or sports arenas, Celtic Colours reaches diverse audiences and brings an astounding variety of international talent to our island. Cape Breton Post Publisher Roger Brown has high hopes for Celtic Colours 2000, “Once again the Cape Breton Post is pleased to be a sponsor of Celtic Colours. The growth in popularity enjoyed by the festival is matched only by the variety and quality of featured performers: local, regional and international. We look forward to being a part of the success of Celtic Colours 2000.”
The festival’s team of volunteers is over three hundred strong. This year they will work at the twenty-eight venues hosting events, ushering guests, chauffeuring artists and even preparing lunches. Their contribution is invaluable, and is a large part of what makes Celtic Colours a special celebration.
The Celtic Colours International Festival receives generous sponsorship from five levels: Gold Sponsors: Cape Breton Post, CBC Maritimes, Human Resources and Development Canada, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, and Nova Scotia Department of Tourism & Culture; Scarlet Sponsor, Regal Capital Planners; Orange Sponsors: MTT, the Government of Canada, Budget Car & Truck Rental, and CJCB K-94 Radio; Green Sponsors: University College of Cape Breton, Victoria County, Inverness County, Casino Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Economic Development Authority, CJCB/K94 Radio, and Sydney Airport Authority. Additional assistance from Festival Patrons and Friends like Sable Offshore Energy Project, City Printers, the Nova Scotia Highland Village, Grant Thronton and the Highland Heights Inn enable the festival to flourish.
The nine-day, thirty-five performance festival begins October 6, 2000 with a Gala Opening Concert and Celtic Cabaret. Tickets go on sale August 14, 2000 and are available by calling Select-A-Seat at 902-564-6668.
If you’re wondering how to spend Thanksgiving this year, why not consider a Cape Breton holiday with Celtic Colours 2000. You’ll be glad you did.