SYDNEY: Celtic Colours celebrated 20 years of music and culture, and government continues to invest in the festival’s success.

Derek Mombourquette, MLA Sydney-Whitney Pier, on behalf of Tony Ince, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, announced on October 6, a provincial commitment of $160,000. The announcement brings the total provincial investment in the festival to $880,800 over the past five years.

Celtic Colours is a significant success story in Nova Scotia’s culture sector. Beginning in 1997 as a fall music festival, it is now one of Canada’s premier tourism events, drawing tens of thousands of visitors from more than two dozen countries.

“Celtic Colours works with more than 100 groups in 60 communities,” said Joella Foulds, executive director, Celtic Colours. “The festival provides a sense of community pride through the celebration of our culture and our beautiful environment.

“It brings new skills, new experiences and reinforces the value of hospitality that is so important in Cape Breton. It is successful because of our people, volunteers, staff and partners who are there year after year.”

The festival ran from October 7-15. Audiences enjoyed music, art, and Cape Breton culture and food in community halls and performance and exhibition venues across the island. Many visitors also hiked or cycled through Cape Breton’s spectacular scenery. Details are available at: celtic-colours.com.

The celebration of culture brings economic benefits to Cape Breton through artist fees, accommodations, transportation, equipment and vehicle rentals, food and beverages, purchases from artisans of every type and retail purchases, gasoline and more. Between 2012 and 2015, Celtic Colours audiences spent $38 million in Nova Scotia.

In 2014, the Government of Canada announced it would invest a total of $1,050,000 over three years to assist festival organizers to grow and expand the reach of this world-class event. Now in the final year of the agreement, Celtic Colours anticipates festival-goers will spend even more in 2016 than the $11.5 million spent last year in communities around the island. With the support received through ACOA, Celtic Colours was able to expand livestream capabilities, allowing an additional 32,000 on-line viewers to enjoy the sights and sounds of the festival from anywhere in the world.

“A sustainable tourism industry is vital to building a strong, healthy economy for our region,” Cape Breton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner noted. “The Celtic Colours International Festival extends Cape Breton’s tourism season well into the autumn and introduces local musicians and artists to visitors from more than two dozen countries, complementing other tourism offerings on the island and encouraging visitors to stay longer and explore.”

“An event the size and scope of the Celtic Colours International Festival requires ongoing investment if we are to continue to make an impact on our culture, our communities and our economy,” Foulds stated.