Arts venue welcomes CeltFest

Week-long party starts with town hall kickoff Saturday

Performers on stage at the 2011 Sunset and Stars Gala finale. This year’s finale is on Thursday

Performers on stage at the 2011 Sunset and Stars Gala finale. This year’s finale is on Thursday

CeltFest Vancouver Island will have its central headquarters at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Oak Bay.

“We’re excited about the partnership with CeltFest. I think it’s a great addition to the Oak Bay community,” said Ron Schuster, director of the Canadian College of Performing Arts. “We like to be able to support other activities and bring other assets into the community.”

The annual event was held in Shawnigan, Nanaimo and Parksville before making the move to Victoria for its 12th year.

“We’ve had a number of CeltFest related events, like single concerts in Victoria over the years,” said festival producer Carolyn Phillips Cusson. “We’ve always detected a really warm welcome from the Victoria gang.”

Part of the mandate of the CeltFest is to move around the Island, spreading the culture.

“We did search around and we were looking at a number of venues and the CCPA just suited our needs perfectly,” she said. It fit with the multiple events that include a concert series, summer school and workshops.

“We wanted to contain it in one building to make it manageable,” she said. “They’re very suited to our needs.”

CeltFest kicks off with a free event filled with music and dance in front of municipal hall, 2167 Oak Bay Ave. on July 14 at 1 p.m.

“Although Greater Victoria is all wonderful, the demographic of Oak Bay – there’s certainly lots of Brits and Scots – it just felt like a right place,” agreed her husband and co-producer Rene Cusson. He added there’s been a warm welcome from council and residents.

A number of community events are planned, including by-donation dance classes Monday through Thursday at 2:45 p.m. at Monterey rec centre.

“They’re the social dances, so if you can walk, you can ceilidh dance,” Carolyn said.

CeltFest runs through July 20. See full schedule of workshops and events online at celtfest.ca.

Monterey’s ice cream ceilidh

A Celtic celebration featuring world-class performers from Scotland and Ireland on Monday, July 16 at 2 p.m. in the Monterey Recreation Centre lobby. Ice cream is $2 a cone, add 75 cents for a sundae with toppings.

Sing ‘n’ dance

To  celebrate the festival coming, Recreation Oak Bay will bring two workshops by world-class entertainers to the Monterey Recreation Centre: The Irish dance workshop with Owen Barrington is Tuesday, July 17 at 3:30 p.m.; a Celtic folk singalong workshop with Lori and Innes Watson runs Wednesday, July 18 at 3:30 p.m. Each course costs $20.