Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling returns to St. Ann’s Aug. 20

ST. ANNS, NS — Fiddlers, pianists, singers, dancers and guitarists will gather at the Gaelic College in St. Anns for a weekend-long celebration of roots and traditional music starting Aug. 20.

Celebrating its 49th anniversary, the Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling will showcase the unique style of music which has become known worldwide.

A 1972 documentary on the decline of Cape Breton fiddle music gets the credit for inspiring the organization that has been working steadily to preserve Cape Breton’s fiddle music style ever since.

The association was formed shortly after Ron MacInnis’s CBC documentary was aired, thanks to the initial work of 12 volunteers who decided a fiddlers’ festival was needed to counter the possibility of the Cape Breton fiddle disappearing.

The first Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling was held in Glendale in July 1973.

More than 130 fiddlers showed up to face an audience of several thousand people and it inspired the formation of the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association.

Since then, the fiddlers’ association has held the event.

In 1998 – 25 years after the inaugural festival – more than 200 fiddlers graced the stage at the Gaelic College to play Cape Breton-style fiddle music for thousands of people.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, the festival will begin with workshops from 2 pm until 5 pm There will be instructional workshops in fiddling, piano and step dancing led by well-known artists.

The workshops will wrap up with an evening concert featuring some of the finest talents on the island and abroad at 7 pm

On Sunday, Aug. 21, there will be a gala concert featuring local, national and international talent from 2 pm to 7 pm

There will also be safe areas for children, access to washroom facilities, a variety of food choices and entertainment.

Since its inception, the association has provided workshops and opportunities for its members to learn new tunes and techniques, it has published tunes written by its members, and it has provided venues for musicians to perform for thousands of people.

Its membership has increased to include both local, national, and international members.

More information can be found online or by calling 902-849-8476.

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