Vic’s Picks

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This page of my web site lists those upcoming musical events which I currently plan to attend, whether in Cape Breton and the Maritimes or closer to home. Most of these events feature traditional Scottish musicians who play in the Cape Breton style, but there are occasional departures to other genres, reflecting both my tastes and the choices available to me.

For information on selected past events I have attended and documented, please see:

For a listing of current and future events in Cape Breton (including the Antigonish area and Cape Breton musical events elsewhere on mainland Nova Scotia), refer to the Daily, Two-Weeks, Two-Months, and Events-2017 Listings on Mike Little’s fine Music Cape Breton web site.

Throughout much of the year, the phenomenal Phill and Jan McIntyre arrange house concerts and themselves host concerts featuring an incredible stream of the best Celtic musicians from all over the world, including many musicians from Cape Breton and the Maritimes. A side benefit of these concerts is that the musicians that play at them often continue on to other venues in New England and sometimes beyond at which they would not have appeared had the Maine concerts not brought them to the area. You should join Phill’s mailing list to keep informed about the artists currently on tour: these concerts are invariably superb!

Upcoming May Events

Date
2017 May 27 (Saturday)
Time
20h-23h00
Venue
Canadian-American Club, 202 Arlington Street, East Watertown, Massachusetts 02474
Description
Cape Breton concert/dance with Andrea Beaton.
Admission
$16 at the door

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Date
2013 May 28 (Sunday)
Time
19h30
Venue
House concert at Carla Sandstrom and Dan Crook’s, 181 Stevens Road, Lebanon, New Hampshire.
Description
Andrea Beaton and Betty Lou Beaton play in a house concert.
Admission
By invitation from
dc178@hotmail.com
and a $20 dollar donation for the musicians; children are free and encouraged to come!

Upcoming July Events

Event
Féis a’ Chidsin!/KitchenFest!
Date
2017 July 1 to July 7 (seven days: Saturday through Friday)
Venue
The Colaisde na Gàidhlig/Gaelic College at St Anns and at more than 30 other venues across Cape Breton Island
Description
Seven days, more than thirty venues, more than one hundred events, and more than one hundred fifty performers! Pub nights, concerts, dances, plays, community meals, special events, and more! It’s one big Cape Breton kitchen cèilidh! Full details have not yet been released; stay tuned, or better yet, join the KitchenFest! mailing list.
Admission
Not yet announced.

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Event
The 42nd annual Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival
Date
2017 July 14-16 (three days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
Schedule
As of this writing, no schedule has yet been posted. Traditionally, there is a cèilidh Friday night, two concerts Saturday afternoon and evening, a square dance Saturday night, two concerts Sunday afternoon and evening, and a square dance Sunday night. A nearly continuous jam session, including artists that have played on stage and anyone else, takes place in the tuning barn except during the concerts.
Venue
Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival grounds in Rollo Bay, Prince Edward Island
Description
The 42nd Annual Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival in Prince Edward Island is three days of traditional music, both Scottish and Acadian (with some country and folk music in the mix as well), and dance, with unscheduled musical events occurring on the festival grounds (and especially in the “tuning barn”) all week-end long. See the festival’s web site for the definitive list when it gets posted.
Admission
This year’s prices have not yet been posted on the festival’s web site
Note
Free camping on the festival grounds has, in previous years, been included in the pass. Consult the festival’s web site for details when they have been posted.
Comment
I have attended this well-organized and well-run festival every year since 2007. The wholesome family atmosphere, with the grassy green hill little ones love to roll down, is engaging all on its own. The nearly non-stop traditional music during its three days leaves little time for sleep: it is simply amazing, unrivalled in my experience by any other concert or festival of equal or shorter length. If you have never been, you have no idea what you are missing! I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Upcoming August Events

Event
The Glengarry Highland Games, held annually in Maxville (Ontario) since 1948, offers more than fifty pipe bands from all across North America competing to decide the North American Pipe Band Championships™; more than two hundred highland dancers competing in various classes; solo musical competitions; Scottish traditional fiddling concerts including the Glengarry Massed Fiddlers, this year joined by a large contingent from the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association; fiddle and harp workshops; the sports competitions typically found at highland games as well as track and field events; clan displays; and other exhibits of several kinds.
Date
2017 August 4 (Friday) and 2013 August 5 (Saturday)
Time
8h-1h (Friday), 8h-1h (Saturday)
Venue
Maxville Fair Grounds, Maxville, Ontario
Admission
The prices are not currently posted on the web site; in the past: general admission is $20 each day; grandstand seating is an additional $10 for each day.

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Event
The CB Fiddlers’ Association Celebrates Canada 150, the 45th annual celebration of Scottish traditional music, sponsored by the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association, offers a week-end of special events. Three-hour workshops for fiddle, piano, and stepdance run concurrently from 14h-17h on Saturday afternoon. A concert followed by a cèilidh takes place on Saturday starting at 19h. On Sunday afternoon from 14h-19h, the Finale Concert features performances both by the massed fiddlers and by the best of local and international talent and introduces a new Kinnon Beaton tune, Canada 150.
Date
2017 August 19-20 (Saturday and Sunday)
Venue
Colaisde na Gàidhlig/Gaelic College in St Anns
Admission
See the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association web site for the pricing once it has been posted.
Comment
If you can attend only one summer concert of Cape Breton fiddle music, this is the one I’d recommend because it is here you will see the greatest number of fiddlers in one place—the sound of massed fiddlers is simply exceptional—and hear the finest of Cape Breton’s fiddlers and the up-and-coming youth who have mastered their instruments. In case of inclement weather, the concert is held inside the Hall of the Clans, something that has happened more than once in the years I’ve been attending; otherwise, it is held outdoors in the Gaelic College’s fine natural amphitheatre, with a great view of Kellys Mountain. Very highly recommended.

Photos from the past concerts of 2006–2016 are available in the Concerts and Festivals section of this web site.