Many lovers of Celtic music make repeat visits to Cape Breton Island every October to attend the Celtic Colours International Festival. They come from every Province & Territory in Canada, most American States and 25-30 other countries.
For nine days every year since 1997, beginning on the Friday of Canadian Thanksgiving (Columbus Day weekend in the U.S.), Cape Breton Island celebrates its Irish and Scottish heritage with the rest of the world. This year there are 46 concerts and more than 200 community and cultural events in locations across the island.
There are a number of factors that explain this phenomenon. Cape Breton has the only living Celtic culture in North America. The Gaelic language and traditions are practiced and celebrated here on a daily basis. Also, the festival does not take place in one location. Instead, it takes place all over the Island in the communities that have maintained the culture for the past 200 years.
This guarantees that visitors will have an authentic experience and helps to explain why so many return year after year. All of this takes place at a time when the hardwood hills above the ocean and lakes are ablaze with brilliant fall colours.
One result of having such a strong Gaelic culture is that Cape Breton has a large number of world class talented artists who tour regularly in North America and Europe. The Celtic Colours International Festival invites talented artists from other Celtic cultures to perform along side the home team. In doing so, the Festival celebrates what makes each culture special but also what they all have in common.
Over the years, many friendships have been made between visiting and Cape Breton based artists. Great bonds have also been made with visitors, festival volunteers and audience members as well.
The 2014 edition of Celtic Colours celebrates these bonds with a number of fan-favourite artists and bands, from all corners of the Celtic world, making their return to Cape Breton this October 10-18.
Perhaps you may want to join this festival family. In the coming weeks, I will be writing about some of the artists and the shows they are in this year. For more information on the festival visit www.celtic-colours.com.
Written by Max MacDonald for celticheart.ca