Stage at Highland Village on the Barra Strait

Stage at Highland Village on the Barra Strait
Photo 9 of 25: Stage at Highland Village on the Barra Strait
Taken 2005 August 6 in Iona on the Highland Village grounds
GPS 45°57.0??'N 60°49.0??'W

Highland Village Day occurs each year on the first Saturday of August (though I can find no policy statement to this effect on Highland Village’s web site). The major event of the day is an afternoon concert offering a fine helping of Cape Breton traditional music and dance performed on this stage, which sits well above the Barra Strait at the bottom of a long and wide sloping hillside that makes a fine natural amphitheatre capable of holding several thousand people; a dinner and square dance usually follow later in the evening at the Iona Legion. A number of the musicians one hears here are not frequently heard on the Cèilidh Trail and some play in a somewhat different style, so the opportunity to hear them is not to be missed. In this photo, the concert was still quite some time from starting—I believe in getting there early!—and the sound crew was still performing sound checks and getting things set up for later. Some fixed seating is available, which one can see at the left here and is taken early on, but most people bring field chairs or just sit on the grass. To the left of the stage is a building from which refreshments are sold during the concert.

The weather this day couldn’t have been more perfect! However, as I previously remarked, the weather on the Bras d’Or Lakes is very changeable and a squall can blow up from seemingly out of nowhere. I strongly recommend you bring a rain poncho or an umbrella, just in case; a warm sweater is also wise unless the day is summer hot, as there are good breezes on this site. The weather the two previous years was quite poor, but the people hereabouts are hardy souls who love their music, so they, like myself, just sat in ponchos or below umbrellas and endured the sometimes pelting rain and the chill in order to hear the marvellous music. This beautiful sparkling day was a just recompense for those two previous years!

From this angle, one can see at the upper right of the photo the marina at Grand Narrows and a bit more of the Barra Strait. Also note that the road bridge is now closed, while the railroad bridge remains open. So far as I am aware, no more boats passed through this day that required the bridge to be reöpened, though my eyes were on the stage and not on the bridge!