Quickly becoming Cape Breton’s annual summer kick-off to the busy ceilidh season, Colaisde na Gàidhlig / The Gaelic College is pleased to present KitchenFest! Féis a’ Chidsin!, July 2 to 8.
The annual celebration of Cape Breton-based traditional music, locals and visitors alike are given up close and personal insight into this distinct and vibrant living culture, bringing the kitchen-ceilidh feel to the forefront.
Seven days, 28 venues, 100+ events, and more than 150 performers showcasing music, food, stories, and warm hospitality. Each of the more than 60 live performances will feature a Gaelic-speaking host or hostess and happen all over Cape Breton. Fiddles and bagpipes, concerts and ceilidhs, Gaelic language and song, cheering and dancing, informality and hospitality all take the floor. Over 95% of the musical lineup is Nova Scotia-based and includes performers Ashley MacIsaac, Heather Rankin, members of the Barra MacNeils, JP Cormier, Gordie Sampson, Howie MacDonald, Joey Beaton, Evans and Doherty, Còig, McGinty, Mary Jane Lamond, Goiridh Dòmhnullach, Andrea Beaton, Rodney MacDonald and Glenn Graham, Nuallan, Fileanta, and many more.
“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 show support to local musicians, venues, restaurants, accommodations, and community groups, and open the door to visitors and locals alike.”
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 coming on board in the inaugural year. Within the mix of venues, both private sector and community-run, entertainment can be found at the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou, Governors Pub in Sydney, the Old Triangle in Sydney, the Doryman Pub and Grill in Cheticamp, the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique, MacBouch Beverage Room and Grill in St. Peter’s, the Keltic Lodge in Ingonish, Highland Village Museum in Iona, the Frolic and Folk Pub in Iona, the Inverness Legion, the Baddeck Legion, the Waterfront Centre in Whycocomagh, the Louisbourg Playhouse, Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, West Mabou Hall, Joey and Karen Beaton’s Ceilidhs in the Mabou Hall, Brook Village Hall, Glendale Hall, Knights of Columbus Hall in New Waterford, the Normaway Inn and Barn in Margaree, and locations within the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
On-site events at Colaisde na Gàidhlig / The Gaelic College throughout the week include an opening gala concert with Rawlins Cross, community meals, daily lunchtime ceilidhs, cultural demonstrations, a milling frolic, Scottish heavy events display, and nightly mainstage concerts with headline acts. Within each show, a youth performer will also be highlighted.
Tickets for such are available on the Gaelic College website, and events throughout the island are simply paid at the door.
Sponsors include ACOA, the Province of Nova Scotia, the Chronicle Herald, Parks Canada, Victoria County, Cape Breton University, Richmond County, Inverness County, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Cape Breton Radio, 101.5 The Hawk Radio, Marcato Digital Solutions, Labatt, and Telile.