The Celtic Colours Festival Society held their Annual General Meeting recently at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, during which they elected a new chair and welcomed four new board members.
Robert Sampson, Q.C., a partner in local law firm Sampson McDougall, takes over as chair from Dr. Jacquelyn Scott who held the position since 2007. Dr. Scott had been on the board since 1999 and, along with outgoing board members Ron MacInnis (2007-2010), James Kelly (2007-2010), Pat Murray (2005-2010) and Laura Mercer (2005-2010), had a first-hand involvement in much of the Festival’s progress during the last decade or so.
“I am very pleased that Robert has agreed to assume the post of Chair of Celtic Colours,” said Dr. Scott. “It’s always good to have some rotation in positions — it’s an opportunity for fresh ideas and approaches to the challenges that always face non-profit organizations.” Dr. Scott will remain on the board in the position of Past Chair and member of the Executive and Audit Committee.
Since its 1997 debut, Celtic Colours International Festival has grown to become one of Canada’s premiere musical events, and a cultural highlight of Nova Scotia’s tourism season, collecting accolades from regional music awards to national and international tourism awards. In doing so, the nine-day Fall festival has introduced the musical culture of Cape Breton Island to visitors from more than two dozen countries and extended Cape Breton Island’s tourism season by a full two weeks.
By any measure, Celtic Colours International Festival has had a very successful run. Starting in 1997 with 27 concerts and 12 community workshops, the Festival has expanded to an impressive 45 concerts and 249 community events in 2010. Over 15,000 people attended the community cultural events and 17,958 tickets were sold to concerts in 33 communities around the island. The Festival attracted 6,214 off-island visitors who came from every province and territory in Canada, 50 American States and 19 other countries. International visitors increased by 1% in 2010, and 4% more Cape Breton residents came out to concerts, contributing to an audience expenditure, excluding ticket sales and transportation to Cape Breton, of $ 6.2 million.
Sampson, who served as Vice Chair in 2010, says it is both an honour and a challenge to take on the position of Chair of such an important icon in the Cape Breton community. He noted that amidst the many accolades and successes Celtic Colours has achieved over the past years, likely one of the most important is the fact that there is a true sense of ownership and commitment by all Cape Breton communities throughout the Island.
He noted the new board is really looking forward to building on the Festival’s success. Joining Sampson on the board are Rodney Chaisson (Director of the Highland Village Museum); Tara Milburn (Manager, Business Development, Cape Breton – Nova Scotia Business Inc.); Paul Gallant (La Commission du tourisme acadien du Canada Atlantique (CTACA), Tourism Development Officer for the region of Cape Breton/Chéticamp); and Rhonda MacKinnon-Shaw, a veteran of the tourism industry and former Celtic Colours board member (2004-2009) who served as Vice Chair from 2007-2009. It’s a strong new team that represents the geography and diversity of Cape Breton well.
The lineup for the 15th Celtic Colours International Festival will be announced June 27th. Tickets go on sale July 11th. For more information or to view photos and highlight videos from 2010, visit celtic-colours.com.