To Experience Celtic Colours
is to be changed by it…
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.
World Class Concerts
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 an afternoon of world-class bagpiping, you can tailor your musical experiences to suit your tastes.
Community Cultural Events
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 Arts 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.
Late Night Festival Club
One of the most popular features of Celtic Colours is the Festival Club. 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 1:30am. A free shuttle service runs throughout the night between The Gaelic College and select Baddeck area accommodations.
Cape Breton’s Autumn Beauty
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.
Celtic Colours International Festival begins on the Friday of each Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.
2018 – October 5th to October 13th
2019 – October 11th to October 19th
2020 – October 9th to October 17th
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), 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.
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.
Box Office Supervisor
Box Office Staff
Box Office Staff
Chief Stage Manager
Festival Club Manager
Kelly Peck & Shane MacDougall
Festival Club Stage Managers
Vibe Creative Group
Festival Branding & Communication Design
Cape Breton Music Industry Cooperative
Presenters and Media Program
Marcato Digital Solutions
Video and Live Stream Production
Board of Directors
Bob MacEachern – Chair
Bill Vokey – Vice Chair
John MacNeil – Treasurer
Pauline Davis – Secretary
The Late Hon. Allan J. MacEachen