Popular island-wide traditional music festival KitchenFest! / Féis a’ Chidsin! is back for its fourth year to kick off ceilidh season. Running July 1-7, the annual celebration of Cape Breton-based Gaelic music presented by Colaisde na Gàidhlig | the Gaelic College, gives locals and visitors an up close and personal insight into this distinct and vibrant living culture while bringing the kitchen-ceilidh feel to the forefront.
Showcasing music, food, stories, and warm hospitality, the week-long event includes more than 100 events at 30 venues all over Cape Breton Island. Each of 60 live performances feature a Gaelic-speaking host or hostess. Whether concert or ceilidh, fiddles, bagpipes, Gaelic language, song and dance will fill the room.
Over 95% of the musical lineup is Nova Scotia-based and includes Ashley MacIsaac, Heather Rankin, JP Cormier, Gordie Sampson, Howie MacDonald, Beòlach, Evans and Doherty, Còig, McGinty, Goiridh Dòmhnullach, Andrea Beaton, Nuallan, Fileanta, and many more. Also included in the mix are youth performers, highlighted through the week during daily performances on-site at the Gaelic College. Featured for 2017 are Abigail and Brienne MacDonald from St. Andrew’s, Siobhan Beaton from Mabou, Elizabeth MacInnis from Mabou, and Jay MacDonald from Arisaig.
“We are excited to once again collaborate with island partners to showcase and celebrate some of what makes this part of the world so special,” says CEO and festival-creator Rodney MacDonald. “The hope is to present a slice of what life is like here, while also creating some new opportunities for areas elsewhere on the island to connect with the local music culture.”
An Eat Local program was introduced in 2015, and hopes are for it to only grow bigger and better. Island restaurants and eateries are encouraged to feature dishes made with locally-grown ingredients during the week, with over 70 already on board for 2017.
Among the venues, both private sector and community-run, entertainment can be found at the Baddeck Legion, Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village in Iona, the Boisdale Firehall, the Broad Cove Campground in Ingonish, the Brook Village Hall, the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique, the Doryman Pub in Chéticamp, the Christmas Island Firehall, the Frolic & Folk Pub in Iona, the Glencoe Mills Hall, Governors Pub in Sydney, Granville Green in Port Hawkesbury, the Inverness Legion, the Iona Legion, the Keltic Lodge in Ingonish, the Lone Sheiling on the Cabot Trail, the Louisbourg Playhouse, the Mabou Community Hall, the MacBouch Restaurant & Lounge in St. Peter’s, Miller’s Tap & Grill in Port Hawkesbury, the Normaway Inn in Margaree Valley, the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, Rita’s Tea Room in Big Pond, the Southwest Margaree Hall, TALO Cafèbar in Glace Bay, the Old Triangle Pub in Sydney, the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou, the West Mabou Hall, the Whycocomagh Waterfront Centre, as well as Colaisde na Gàidhlig in St. Ann’s.
On-site events at Colaisde na Gàidhlig | the Gaelic College throughout the week include an Opening Gala Concert with special guests the Men of the Deeps, community meals, daily lunchtime ceilidhs, cultural demonstrations, an afternoon pub with Ashley MacIsaac, and concerts with headline acts. The festival comes to a close with the KitchenFest! Kitchen Party, slated for Friday, July 7 from 11pm-2am.
Tickets for such are available on the Gaelic College website, and events throughout the island are paid at the door.
Sponsors include ACOA, the Province of Nova Scotia, the Chronicle Herald, Parks Canada, Cape Breton University, Victoria County, Inverness County, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Town of Port Hawkesbury, 101.5 The Hawk, Cape Breton Radio, Labatt, Marcato Festival, and Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village. See full schedule here..