The internationally renowned music and cultural festival officially kicks off today and will run for nine days with concerts and events scheduled across the island.
Festival information officer Dave Mahalik said the 2014 edition of Celtic Colours will once again offer more to do than is humanly possible.
“People call and are totally flabbergasted by what they see in front of them and they don’t know where to start, so we tell them to either think geographically, or think about who they want to see because you just can’t see it all,” said Mahalik.
The festival, which has been held annually since 1997, features 46 concerts starting with this evening’s The Tie That Binds show at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.
The opening concert features Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, cousins Ashley and Wendy MacIssac, the Vasen trio from Sweden, the Gaelic-singing Campbells of Greepe, Scotland, the pipers of Nuallan and Sabra MacGillivray and Celtic Touch Dancers.
This year’s two artists-in-residence, Mac Morin of Troy, Cape Breton, and American dancer Nic Gareiss, will also be introduced at the Port Hawkesbury show.
The festival concludes Oct. 18 when fiddling sensation Natalie MacMaster headlines her Reunion show at Centre 200 in Sydney.
She will be joined by Irish accordion whiz Sharon Shannon, the ever-popular J.P. Cormier, songwriter and guitarist Tim Edey, and Cape Breton’s own Beolach band.
Other performers over the course of the festival include Terry Kelly, Mary Jane Lamond, Allie Bennett, Colin Grant, the Stanfields, Winnie and Patricia Chafe, Men of the Deeps, Kyle and Sheaumas MacNeil, and the Chiasson Family.
Along with the live shows, Celtic Colours features dinners, workshops, exhibits, storytelling, kitchen parties and dances.
Mahalik said that with a 54-page program of events there is something for everybody.
“When programming we try to make sure there is a little bit of everything in terms of concerts and events and we want to ensure it is spread out across Cape Breton,” he said.
For more information on the 2014 Celtic Colours, visit the festival website at www.celtic_colours.com.