Featuring artists from Cape Breton, mainland Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, the U.S., and Scotland, this year’s Celtic Colours International Festival at Home will present 18 concerts over nine days, October 8-16, 2021. Produced in partnership with NovaStream, Sound Source Pro Audio + Lighting, and Soundpark Studios, the schedule includes pre-recorded matinees, a special Festival Club performance, and a nightly series of concerts streamed live from Cape Breton Island.

Similar to last year, the livestreamed concerts will feature a mix of live and pre-recorded performances. Each night’s livestream will start at 7:30PM ADT, following a 30-minute pre-show. A very popular aspect of last year’s Festival, the pre-show will once again be hosted by sisters Dawn and Margie Beaton who will be sharing some stories from the Festival and chatting with folks on the ground, as well as discussing upcoming and previous concerts and performances.

New this year is a matinee series presenting concerts that were recorded during the summer in communities around the Island. Each of these concerts was filmed in a long-standing Festival venue and includes a small audience of local volunteers.

“With our programming this year, we wanted to do more to show the true Festival experience in some of our long-standing venues around the Island,” says Mike MacSween, Executive Director of Celtic Colours. “We were pleased to have many of our community volunteers join us as audience—a different role for them than in normal times! Having a small audience for these performances provided the shows with additional life, and great feedback for the artists.”

The one-hour matinees will premiere at 2PM ADT daily, October 9-16, with a special Festival Club feature on Friday night, October 15, following the livestream.

All concerts will be available to view, free of charge, until the end of October. You can tune in here on the Celtic Colours website. They will also be streamed on the Festival’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Celtic Colours has always featured a strong lineup of Cape Breton artists, and you can expect to see some of your favourites on stage during Celtic Colours At Home 2021 including Beòlach, J.P. Cormier, Còig, Brenda Stubbert, Hilda Chiasson, Andrea Beaton, Mac Morin, Kimberley Fraser, Buddy MacDonald, the Men of the Deeps, and many more.

The Festival will welcome back some familiar faces from Cape Breton’s island neighbours including Rum Ragged from Newfoundland & Labrador, and Richard Wood, J.J. Chaisson, and Lennie Gallant from Prince Edward Island while Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham (Scotland), Capercaillie (Scotland), and The McDades (Alberta) will be joining in on the action by video. Accomplished percussive dancer, and past Artist in Residence, Nic Gareiss will also be returning in a new duo with one of Canada’s finest folk musicians, banjo-player Allison de Groot.

Making their Celtic Colours debut this year are Barn Bhreagh, a quartet of Cape Breton artists that has been characterized as a travelling singer-songwriter circle where the musicians all play on each other’s songs; JUNO Award winning songwriter William Prince (Manitoba); neo-folk trio Aerialists (British Columbia); award-winning sibling trio The Gilberts (Nova Scotia), whose familial harmonies are attracting a lot of attention; Inn Echo, an emerging Prince Edward Island-based traditional group with musical backgrounds from across Canada, the U.S., and Ireland; and The Lonesome Ace Stringband (Ontario), an old-time band with bluegrass chops that plays some righteous folk and country music.

The Festival kicks off on Friday, October 8 with a concert called Together Again. This concert will celebrate the fact that we are all able to be together again, if only online and in spirit, and will feature performances by Celtic Colours International Festival founders Joella Foulds and Max MacDonald, backed by a cracker-jack band of some of Cape Breton’s best.

This year’s concert lineup sees the return of two of the Festival’s most popular concept shows, as well as paying tribute to a local cultural institution, and an impressive artistic achievement. On October 9, 50 Years of “Island Echoes” will celebrate CBC Cape Breton’s radio program Island Echoes—hosted for the last 25 years by Wendy Bergfeldt—and its considerable impact on Cape Breton’s musical culture over the last half century. Later in the week, the Guitar Summit on Thursday night will showcase the formidable six-string talents of J.P. Cormier, Brian Doyle, Scott Macmillan, and J.J. Chaisson while Jenny MacKenzie, Melody Cameron, Mac Morin, Rodney MacDonald, and the Pellerin Brothers will be among the dancers showing their steps during Close to the Floor on Friday night. As the week comes to a close, Saturday’s matinee will showcase piano-player Adam Young’s latest album Yearbook, a collection of tunes written during a tune-a-day project that spanned from January to December 2018. The concert will feature many of the folks who recorded on the album.

Celtic Colours at Home is presented by TD Bank Group, with the support of ACOA, Canadian Heritage, the Province of Nova Scotia, and its many other partners.

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