While most of us may be good and ready for spring to come around, Celtic music fans around the world are letting their thoughts drift, ever so briefly, to the fall as they look forward to news about a favourite event.

For nine days each October, Cape Breton Island is home to a unique celebration of music and culture as the Celtic Colours International Festival presents dozens of concerts all over the island, an extensive line-up of community events, and a nightly Festival Club. Artists and audiences alike travel from far and wide to join the finest of Cape Breton’s musicians, singers, dancers, storytellers and tradition-bearers for the annual celebration, set against the brilliant backdrop of the Island’s autumn colours.

Over the past 20 years, Celtic Colours has become one of Canada’s premiere musical events, and a cultural highlight of Nova Scotia’s tourism season, collecting accolades from regional music awards to national and international tourism awards. Since its 1997 introduction, the Festival has expanded Cape Breton’s tourism season by almost two months and, in that time, been directly responsible for more than one hundred million dollars being spent on the Island.

Featuring a mix of Cape Breton legends, favourites, and up and comers, alongside acclaimed artists from across Canada and around the Celtic world, the 21st Celtic Colours International Festival will focus on roots and celebrate identity through a number of special projects being planned.

“After a wonderful 20th anniversary of the festival last year, Celtic Colours is getting back to our roots,” says Dawn Beaton, Artistic Director of Celtic Colours. “We have two wonderful artists in residence lined up who will weave their story-telling throughout the festival. And we have big plans to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, representing all corners of our wonderful nation, while celebrating our very own artists from Cape Breton.”

And in keeping with the idea of “getting back to our roots”, Beaton reveals that “for every ticket sold, a maple tree will be planted here on the island.” An ambitious undertaking as more than 20,000 tickets were sold last year.

Celtic Colours opens this year with a show in Sydney on October 6, and wraps up in Port Hawkesbury with the closing concert on October 14. In total, there will be 49 concerts presented in 34 communities including Aspy Bay, Baddeck, Belle Cote, Big Pond, Boisdale, Boularderie, Cheticamp, Christmas Island, D’Escousse, Eskasoni, Glace Bay, Glendale, Ingonish, Inverness, Iona, Judique, L’Ardoise, Louisbourg, Lower River Inhabitants, Mabou, Marion Bridge, Membertou, New Waterford, North River, North Sydney, Port Hawkesbury, Port Morien, St. Ann’s, St. Peter’s, Sydney, Sydney Mines, Sydney River, Wagmatcook and Whycocomagh.

For the full list of concert venues and communities click here. The 21st Celtic Colours International Festival is scheduled for October 6-14, 2017. The artists and lineup will be announced June 26th. Tickets go on sale July 11th .