Future Dates

Celtic Colours International Festival begins on the Friday of each Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

2022 – October 7th to October 15th

2023 – October 6th to October 14th

2024 – October 11th to October 19th

Since its introduction in 1997, Celtic Colours has grown to become one of Canada’s premiere musical events, and a cultural highlight of Nova Scotia’s tourism season. The festival has also been successful in extending Cape Breton Island’s tourism season well into the Autumn, and introducing the musical culture of Cape Breton to tens of thousands of visitors from more than two dozen countries. Celtic Colours International Festival is recognized as a world-class event, locally, nationally and internationally. In 2011, the Festival was added to the Canadian Tourism Commission’s Signature Experience Collection and it received the Cultural Tourism Award from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. Celtic Colours has also been named the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s Event of the Year (2007), has received six East Coast Music Awards for Event of the Year (2005-2008, 2016-2017 & 2020), two Tourism Association of Nova Scotia Crystal Awards (Golden Hospitality Award 2005, Events / Conferences 2002), and was named American Bus Association’s Top Event in Canada and Attractions Canada’s Top Cultural Event in 2001. The Celtic Colours Box Office team received the Visitor Servicing Award from Destination Cape Breton in 2016.
Cape Breton Island is home to a unique combination of music and culture, inspired by 19th Century settlers from Scotland and Ireland, and influenced by the Aboriginal Mi’kmaq people, the Island’s physical geography, and the waves of immigrants who populated its communities during industrialization. Generation after generation of settlers, from the Scottish and Irish to the French who came before them, were able to maintain their culture and traditions in this new land due in part to the island’s isolation and subsequent lack of outside influences. Music, language, dance and community played an important role in each of these cultures and continue to do so today. One of the things that sets Celtic Colours apart from the vast majority of festivals taking place around the globe is that it isn’t limited to just one location. Communities around Cape Breton Island host concerts and workshops. These are the communities where the culture has been nurtured for over 200 years, providing context for the roots of the music and celebrating each community’s contribution to the island’s living Celtic culture. In many of these communities, the local fire hall, parish hall or community centre has hosted musical events for generations, in some cases, literally moving the fire trucks out of the hall to accommodate a dance. Venues for Celtic Colours vary from an 18th Century reconstructed French Chapel to state of the art performance facilities to community halls, but all venues share in common the prominent place each holds in the community it serves. The Celtic culture of music, dance and story-telling lives on in these communities and provides foundation for the celebration of living culture that is the Celtic Colours International Festival.
To promote, celebrate and develop Cape Breton’s living Celtic culture and hospitality by producing an international festival during the fall colours that builds relationships across Cape Breton Island and beyond.

Staff Members

Dawn Beaton
Artistic Director

Jason Jardine
Marketing Director

Mora Purcell
Office Manager

Dave Douglas
Sales & Venue Manager

Dave Mahalik
Communications Officer

Yvette Rogers
Outreach Coordinator

Shauna Walters
Production Coordinator

Kate Hartigan
Box Office Supervisor

Dale Fahey
Box Office Staff

Vibe Creative Group
Festival Branding & Communication Design

Cape Breton Music Industry Cooperative
Presenters and Media Program

NovaStream
Video and Live-Stream Production

Causeway Digital
Website Design

Festival Founders

Joella Foulds

Max MacDonald

Board of Directors

Bill Vokey – Chair
Amanda Mombourquette – Vice Chair
John MacNeil – Treasurer
Alyce MacLean – Secretary
Anna MacDonald
Erin MacEachen
Graham Hudson
Gerardette Brown
George Paul
Napoléon Chiasson
Marcel McKeough
Bob MacEachern – Past Chair

Honorary Members

The Late Hon. Allan J. MacEachen
The Late John Allan Cameron

Sam MacPhee

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