Nova Scotia has a long and rich association with great music and through its historical and cultural links with Scotland and Ireland, is perhaps best known for the genre of folk. Today the province boasts an exciting and eclectic music scene encompassing not just folk but pop, blues, Jazz, dance and more, as well as traditional music. Annually Nova Scotia plays host to hundreds of concerts and music festivals, and this year, as Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, holidaymakers can expect a bumper programme of live music throughout the province; we pick three of the best not to be missed.
The Stan Rogers Folk Festival (30 June – 2 July): The summer festival informally known as Stanfest will take place in the picturesque Eastern Shore fishing community of Canso, located 3.5 hours from Halifax, and is expected to draw crowds of more than 10,000. The event, which honours the late Canadian folk artist Stan Rogers, brings together the region’s best folk musicians alongside international stars. Past headliners have included Don MacLean, Juice Newton, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Richie Havens, Jim Cuddy, Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow and Ricky Skaggs. The three day celebration of all things folk will this year fall over the 150th anniversary Canada Day Weekend, meaning a truly electric atmosphere throughout. www.stanfest.com
The TD Halifax Jazz Festival (12 – 16 July): The largest summer festival in Atlantic Canada will take place in Nova Scotia’s provincial capital Halifax and will attract up to 55,000 revellers. The 31st edition of The TD Halifax Jazz Festival will include some 350 local musicians as well acclaimed national and international artists, spanning not just Jazz but also roots, blues, Latin music and R&B. Last year Lauryn Hill and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers were amongst the stars to perform, and this year’s line-up is being hotly anticipated. Positioned on the fashionable and centrally located Halifax Waterfront, the festival will take place just a stones throw away from many of the city’s top tourist attractions and landmark hotels. http://www.halifaxjazzfestival.ca
The Celtic Colours International Festival (6 – 14 October): Founded in 1997, the multi-award winning festival has grown in to one of Canada’s largest music events, attracting tens of thousands. During the nine day festival, Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island will host hundreds of events and activities in a celebration of Celtic culture. Featuring some of Nova Scotia best musicians, as well as artists from all over the world, performances will take place in a range of locations including community halls, churches, theatres and even schools amidst the vivid autumn colours. Holidaymakers can expect Gaelic singing, Cape Breton fiddling, accordion playing, bagpiping and more as they tour around Island’s charming communities and scenic roads, including the famous Cabot Trail! http://celtic-colours.com