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Queen of the Highlands Newsletter – issue 8

Greetings from sunny Cape Breton and a very busy festival office. Action is certainly heating up here as is the weather. Venue selection is complete and posted on the site and artist selection is well along and should be posted by the end of the month. Things are complicated by growth this year from 38 shows to 44! Tickets will go on sale July 15th.

Last year was the first year for us to have an Artist in Residence program and we will continue with that program this year. The 2002 Artists in Residence are Scotland¹s Margaret Bennett and Cape Breton¹s Jerry Holland. We are confident that their involvement in this year¹s festival will help us create a better experience for all concerned.

Margaret is a wonderful Gaelic singer, storyteller and author. Margaret is also a noted scholar with an MA in Folklore and a PHD in Ethnology. She has appeared at Celtic Colours a number of times and we are very excited that she has agreed to be one of our Artist in Residence this year.

Jerry Holland is considered to be one of the finest composers of Cape Breton music. His tunes are played and recorded all over the world and his music draws many Celtic musicians to Cape Breton to meet and play with him. Jerry has been featured on nine recordings, been a guest on 23 more and produced a book of tunes. We are fortunate to have Jerry as one of our Artists in Residence this year.

I recently returned from the Shetland Island Folk Festival. This was an amazing experience that I would highly recommend. Their festival, like Celtic Colours, takes place in communities all over the Shetlands. One event that I attended had us leave Lerwick at 11.00 a.m. and return at 3:30 a.m. I thought that we had remote venues!

The Shetland organizers have been to Celtic Colours twice so it was nice to be able to return the visit. It was also great to spend time with Carsten Panduro, Director of the Tønder Festival in Denmark who has been a big supporter of Celtic Colours since before year one. I also managed to have a visit on route with Colin Hynd, Director of our “Sister” festival, Celtic Connections in Glasgow.

Trips like this are an important way that Celtic Colours keeps in touch with developments internationally. It’s a great way to see talent that may not have played in Canada, pick the brains of other festival organizers and spread the word about Celtic Colours.

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