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Festivals & Events

Celtic Colours International Festival

The Celtic Colours International Festival is a unique celebration of Cape Breton Island’s living traditional culture. For nine days in October you’ll discover hundreds of events and activities taking place in communities around the Island.

Since its introduction in 1997, Celtic Colours has grown to become one of Canada’s premiere musical events and a cultural highlight in Nova Scotia – showcasing the musical culture of Cape Breton to tens of thousands of visitors from more than two dozen countries.

At one of the many concerts, you’ll find some of the world’s finest musicians sharing the stage with Cape Breton’s best musicians, singers, dancers, and story-tellers in venues that range from community halls and churches to modern schools and theatres.

Ensuring you have plenty of things to do, Celtic Colours also offers five types of Community Cultural Events:

  • The Learning Opportunities series will entertain and enlighten you with a variety of workshops, presentations, demonstrations, and lectures on history, music, dance, art, craft, and community heritage.
  • At Participatory Events you are welcome as a spectator or to immerse yourself in the action and join in on a Square Dance, session, or milling frolic.
  • Get outside and enjoy the spectacular scenery at one of the Outdoor Events. Guided walks, hikes, and boat tours put you in the fresh air.
  • The Visual Art/Heritage Craft Series offers a wide variety of events for art enthusiasts, skilled artists, hobbyists, and collectors. Exhibitions, demonstrations, and workshops celebrate the creative spirit that thrives on Cape Breton.
  • Break bread together and share a home-cooked meal at one of the many Community Meals or visit one of the Farmers’ Markets where you’ll find locally-grown food, honey and handmade goods.

The Festival is held during Cape Breton’s most spectacular season when the leaves are turning colour and the vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges bring the breathtaking scenery to life as you travel from event to event. These travels may take you around Canada’s largest saltwater lake—the pristine Bras d’Or Lake, or along the Cabot Trail, often called North America’s most scenic drive. Wherever you go on Cape Breton Island at this time of year, you are bound to find amazing scenery around every turn.

The full lineup of concerts, artists, and community events will be released on Monday, June 26th. Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, July 11th.    

This festival is part of Destination Canada’s Canadian Signature Experiences collection, which shows the world the best that Canada has to offer.