The History of the Festival
Founded in 2000, the Montreal International Celtic Festival experienced three successive years of growth. Held on the grounds of the Douglas Hospital in Verdun, it was hailed as one of the great new Festivals in Montréal. Our reputation grew very rapidly with visitors coming from as far as Australia to enjoy the music, dance, storytelling, arts and crafts, conferences, workshops, exhibits and children’s activities.
The Festival presented some of the best Celtic artists worldwide, representing all eight of the Celtic nations in Europe as well as the amazing talent found on this side of the ocean, and showcased the entire range of Celtic music, from the very traditional to the newest tendencies.
- The first edition (June 17-18, 2000) attracted close to 20,000 people and received high praise from the public, the performers, the on-site vendors, and the Celtic associations.
- The second edition (August 10-12, 2001) surpassed all expectations, attracting close to 30,000 people. Over 180 performers from Canada, the USA, France, Ireland, Spain and the UK gave 58 performances.
- The third edition (August 9-11, 2002) attracted another 30,000 people, including 200 volunteers and 180 performers from six countries who gave 62 performances.
Sponsors were pleased with the results. Exhibitors reported excellent sales and priceless visibility.
The media were supportive: Our partners –CJAD, CKAC, Mix 96, Cité Rock Détente, MusiMax (TV) and PBS (Plattsburgh)– helped to promote the event. Interviews appeared in print, on radio and television. La Chaîne culturelle (Radio-Canada FM) recorded 6 concerts and rebroadcast them in their entirety on consecutive Friday evenings during prime time.
Much has happened in the years since the last Festival.
- We organized concerts by performers such as The Tannahill Weavers, Desi Wilkinson, The Barra MacNeils, Tony McManus, Jerry Holland, Salsa Celtica, La Bottine souriante, Kirk MacGeachy, Orealis, Maeve Mackinnon…
- We supported worthy causes such as Ovarian Cancer Canada by providing volunteers and live music at their events.
- We collaborated with others such as the Festival interculturel du conte du Québec and the Jeanie Johnston Committee to bring great music to the public.