The Celtic Colours International Festival is a unique celebration of Cape Breton Island’s living traditional culture. For nine days in October you’ll discover hundreds of events and activities taking place in communities across the Island.
At one of the many concerts you’ll find some of the world’s finest musicians sharing the stage with Cape Breton’s best singers, dancers, players, story-tellers and culture bearers in venues that range from community halls and churches to modern schools and theatres. With Celtic Colours’ ambitious schedule (as many as six concerts a day), it is simply impossible to see and hear everything. The organizers of the Festival realize this and take special care in the programming of each show so that it is possible to get a taste of all that the Festival has to offer on any given day. Whether it’s Gaelic singing, Cape Breton fiddling, local dance traditions, or world-class bagpiping, you can tailor your musical experiences to suit your tastes.
The Learning Opportunities series will entertain and enlighten you with a variety of workshops, presentations, demonstrations and lectures on Celtic history, music, dance, art, craft and community heritage.
At Participatory Events you are welcome as a spectator or to immerse yourself in the action and join in on a Square Dance, session or milling frolic.
Get outside and enjoy the spectacular scenery at one of the Outdoor Events. Guided walks, hikes, and boat tours put you in the fresh air.
The Visual Art / Heritage Craft series offers a wide variety of fine art and heritage craft events. Exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops celebrate the creative spirit that thrives on Cape Breton.
Break bread together and share a home-cooked meal at one of the many Community Meals or visit one of the Farmers’ Markets where you’ll find locally grown food, honey and handmade goods.
One of the most popular features of Celtic Colours is the Festival Club, brought to you by Big Spruce Brewing. Located at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, the Festival Club opens as the evening concerts are closing, offering an opportunity for Festival artists to perform in a more informal setting, or to get a session in with friends and colleagues from near and far. Hosted by well-known singer-songwriter Buddy MacDonald, from the nearby North Shore, performance is by invitation only and depends upon artist availability on any given night. The Festival Club runs each night from 11pm-3am and is for those aged 19 years and older. Photo ID required.
Colaisde Na Gàidhlig / The Gaelic College canteen is open and all night breakfast starts at 2:00am. A free shuttle service runs throughout the night between The Gaelic College and select Baddeck area accommodations.
The festival is held during Cape Breton’s most spectacular season when the leaves are turning colour and the vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges bring the breathtaking scenery to life as you travel from event to event. These travels may take you around the pristine Bras d’Or Lake, Canada’s largest saltwater lake, or around the Cabot Trail, often called North America’s most scenic drive. Wherever you go in Cape Breton at this time of year, you are bound to find amazing scenery around every turn.