Brittany to celebrate its Celtic pride at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient

26th July, 2016
Now in its 45th year, the Breton town of Lorient in northern France is set to once again host one of the biggest celebrations of Celtic culture in Europe, the Festival Interceltique de Lorient.
Taking place throughout the town from August 5-14, the event brings people together from all of the Celtic nations across the UK, France and Spain, including those from Brittany, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Cornwall, Galicia and Asturias.

 Among the aspects of Celtic culture to be highlighted at the festival are music, dance, theatre, sculpture, artisan crafts, painting, photography and food and drink. The individual events are spread across a variety of venues, from the high-capacity Parc du Moustoir to the formal Palais des Congres.

As the festival celebrates a number of traditions, it too has its own traditions, such as the ceremony which opens it, the Cotriade. The Cotriade consists of a traditional Breton seafood supper, held at the Port du Peche (fishing port), accompanied by entertainment including traditional Breton music and sea shanties.

 The main opening event of the festival, however, is the Grand Parade of Celtic Nations. More than 3,500 people parade through the streets wearing their national costumes and bringing with them traditional song and dance. More traditional music can be heard during the festival’s first weekend at the National Bagadou Championship Finals at the Parc du Moustoir. Here, Brittany’s finest pipers and pipe bands come together to compete for victory. If you’re looking to learn how to play some Celtic music yourself, there’s even classes from some of the world’s finest pipers, fiddlers, harpists and accordionists.

Throughout the festival, the centre of Lorient also hosts a huge market, the Village Celtique, where you can buy all kinds of Celtic goods including traditional clothing, crafts, food and literature. Every afternoon you will also be able to indulge in entertainment by hundreds of performers, spanning from music concerts to dance displays that go well into the night. The nights climax with the Nuits Magiques (Magic Nights), a spectacular combination of bands, dancers, choirs and fireworks.

 Spanning ten days and nights, and offering more than 120 shows, every year the festival attracts more than 800,000 visitors to Lorient, demonstrating the sheer popularity and importance this event has with the Celtic people. If you’re looking for something a bit different offering plenty to see and do near our French villas, you won’t be disappointed with the Festival Interceltique de Lorient.

Image: mat’s eye, available under Creative Commons