Festival Interceltique de Lorient

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The Festival Interceltique de Lorient (French), Gouelioù Etrekeltiek An Oriant (Breton) or Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient in English, is an annual Celtic festival, located in the city of Lorient, Brittany, France. It was founded in 1971 by Polig Montjarret.

This annual festival takes place in the heart of the city every August and is dedicated to the cultural traditions of the Celtic nations (pays celtes in Brittany), highlighting celtic music and dance and also including other arts such as painting, photography, theatre, sculpture, traditional artisan as well as sport and gastronomy.

Participants come from Brittany, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Wales, Cumbria, the Isle of Man, Cape Breton Island, Galicia, Asturias, Acadia, and the entire Celtic diaspora.

The main festival sites are located throughout the city. The more formal events take place at the Palais des Congrès, Grand Théâtre or Église Saint Louis. The larger events take place at the Parc du Moustoir (the home of Lorient Football Club which can hold up to 10,000 spectators), the Port de Pêche or in grand marquees.

The festival begins with the Cotriade (fr) or Kaoteriad (br), a traditional Breton seafood supper, which takes place in the Port de Pêche (fr) or Porzh Pesketa (br) harbour district accompanied by sea shanties and traditional Breton marine music.

On Sunday morning the spectacular Grand Parade of Celtic Nations takes place with over 3,500 musicians, singers, pipebands and dancers from all over the Celtic world parading through the city streets in national costume.

The finals of the National Bagadoù Championship takes place at the Parc de Moustoir during the first weekend of the festival, with strong competition between Brittany’s finest pipebands. In addition individual competitions take place for pipers.

For those early risers, Master classes take place each morning with some of the world’s premier harpists, accordionists, fiddlers and pipers.

Every afternoon hundreds of performers appear in folk and traditional music concerts and dance displays, and again in the evening there is a choice of several major events, including orchestral concerts, rock concerts and the not to be missed “Nuits Magiques”, spectacular displays of pipe bands, dancers, choirs and fireworks!

Throughout the festival the “Village Celtique” (fr) or “Marc’had Etrekeltiek” (br) is open in the centre of the city offering food, music and literature, clothing and crafts.

On the final Saturday of the festival the focus again returns to the fishing harbour for the Nuit de Port de Pêche, featuring the best of Brittany’s folk and rock musicians.

There is, of course, much activity on the festival fringe, with musicians giving free performances in many of the city’s bars and pubs every evening until late.

The festival organisers have more recently embarked on similar ventures such as the St Patrick's Day concert in Paris, France which attracts a crowd of 70,000 spectators and the Celtica concert in Nantes, Brittany.

 

http://www.festival-interceltique.com/

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