The Celtic Colours International Festival won’t start for another six months, and the list of artists hasn’t even been released yet (or finalized for that matter), but requests for information are already pouring in from around the world.
“We receive regular requests for information about the festival throughout the year,” says Mary Pat Mombourquette, Celtic Colours’ Business Director. “But around this time of year, the volume really picks up. As soon as the venues and communities are announced, people start planning their vacations.”
You’d expect that after fifteen years or so, some things would become routine. But that is definitely not the case with the Celtic Colours International Festival, which has been named a Signature Experience event by the Canadian Tourism Commission. Going into its 16th season, the Cape Breton Island-wide event seems to start fresh every year.
And the first step in putting it all together is figuring out just where the concerts and community events will take place. This process starts in January with a call for expressions of interest. All applications are evaluated for suitability according to set criteria, and although some venues are selected year after year, all applications are evaluated each year.
This year, the festival opens Friday, October 5 at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre and wraps up the following Saturday, October 13, with a performance at Centre 200 in Sydney. Forty-six concerts will take place in 33 communities around Cape Breton Island including Aspy Bay, Baddeck, Belle Cote, Big Pond, Boisdale, Boularderie, Cheticamp, Christmas Island, D’Escousse, Glace Bay, Glendale, Ingonish, Inverness, Iona, Judique, L’Ardoise, Louisbourg, Lower River Inhabitants, Mabou, Marion Bridge, Membertou, North River, North Sydney, Orangedale, Port Hawkesbury, Port Morien, St. Ann’s, St. Peter’s, Sydney, Sydney Mines, Sydney River, Wagmatcook, and Whycocomagh.
“We’re really pleased with the lineup of venues this year,” says Joella Foulds, Artistic Director of the festival. “For the first time there will be two concerts on the Northside—at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Sydney Mines and at St. Matthew-Wesley United Church in North Sydney. And, of course, we’re all very excited to be returning to Centre 200 for the closing concert.” Foulds says she “…can’t let the cat out of the bag…” about the closing show just yet, but that it was an opportunity that Celtic Colours couldn’t pass up.
For the full list of concert venues and the communities where they will take place, as well as photos and video from previous years, visit celtic-colours.com. The full 2012 lineup and schedule will be announced June 25. Tickets go on sale July 9.