When Julian Armour talks about Celebridée, the series of lectures, concerts and events running in conjunction with the Canadian Tulip Festival, his excitement and enthusiasm are evident in his voice.
The current director of Celebridée, and former artistic director of the Chamber Music Festival, is no stranger to planning large-scale events.
But he still had to work hard to attract such internationally acclaimed minds as Salman Rushdie and Amy Chua, comedians like Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, and pianist Angela Hewitt. “I wanted to make sure we had the most interesting, stimulating people I could find so that the festival gets the kind of attention it deserves,” explains Armour.
Rushdie will be speaking Tuesday evening, in the stylish and relaxed atmosphere of the Mirror Tent. The first Celebridée event begins tonight, with a panel discussion on the Seven Deadly Sins, featuring such entertaining and eclectic personalities as comedian/actress Jessica Holmes, poet Phil Jenkins, CBC radio host Alan Neal, philosopher Elizabeth Trott, theology academic
L. Gregory Bloomquist and Armour himself.
The idea to make an international “ideas” festival part of the Tulip Festival programming started with festival chairman David E. Luxton. Armour says while early indications are that people are on board with a more “thinking” festival, he says he will be looking at ways to make the festival bigger and better in future years.
“I think many ideas festivals take themselves too seriously. I want people to encounter brilliant ideas, but have a great time too.”