celtic connetions 25 anniversary.

Celtic Connections 2018, Glasgow’s winter music festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2018. In true Celtic Connections style it will feature an ambitious and eclectic line-up of musicians from all corners of the world.

The festival will run from Thursday 18 January to Sunday 4 February 2018 – providing eighteen days of entertainment to brighten up the dark nights. Prepare to enjoy a programme with  a mixture of concerts including a host of one-off musical collaborations plus talks, workshops, film screenings, ceilidhs, art exhibitions, late night sessions and free events. 

When the festival began in 1994 doubters couldn’t believe the “sheer audacity” of festival organisers to plan an event of such a scale during the cold month of January, when purse strings were pulled tighter after festive celebrations. And people reluctant to leave their firesides and head to a gig, especially a folk gig!

The festival was centred round the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall which was described as “too formal, too plush, too posh for the essentially scruffy, laid-back creature that is folk music.” From this initial negativity the Celtic Connections festival has grown at a remarkable rate into a huge success story. It has grown from 66 events in one venue with 27,000 attendees in 1994 to now putting on over 300 events across 26 stages and the expectation of over 100,000 attendance figure.  

Not only has the festival grown in terms of events, stages and visitors’ attending but it has also grown significantly in terms of the music that it showcases, the genres included and the international artists welcomed. Celtic Connections 2018 will embrace music from the past to the present and will showcase artists from the experimental and exciting music scene.

With this year’s line-up and one-off collaborations the festival will show how much Scotland’s music scene has changed over the last 25 festivals, with a variety of musical styles including cross genre fusions of jazz, classical, folk, world and electronica.

Donald Shaw, Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, said: “Since the inception of Celtic Connections in 1994 the Scottish music scene has developed and diversified hugely. When the festival began there was still significant compartmentalisation of genres, which although has its place at times, has become less prevalent over the years. The influence and inspiration that the traditional music scene has had across the whole musical landscape in Scotland and worldwide has helped to make the journey of Celtic Connections all the more adventurous and exciting.

“As an internationally renowned festival we continually strive for better and the 25th edition is no exception. Audiences will be treated to performances from some of the best artists from across the world and an array of unique collaborations and an eclectic mix of world music.”

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Celtic Connections has been a leading light in Scotland’s cultural calendar for 25 years and I would like to wish them a very happy 25th anniversary! Since its modest beginning Celtic Connections has firmly established itself as a destination of choice not only for lovers of folk and traditional music but also for anyone who wants to embrace outstanding music from across the world.

“Every year audiences from around the world also flock to Celtic Connections, some who have attended every year since the festival’s inception. We look forward to welcoming these audiences back to our city in 2018 and the outstanding musical talent we’ve come to expect from this globally renowned festival.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland has a rich heritage of traditional music and storytelling. For 25 years, Celtic Connections has built a stunning Trad folk and world music festival that promotes Scotland’s reputation as a nation of creativity and musical excellence, attracting music lovers from far and wide.

“As we enter our Year of Young People in 2018, Celtic Connections continues to support young people through their educational programme and provide opportunities for young musicians to perform and learn from other, more experienced artists. This is a festival of celebration that welcomes the world to Glasgow, confirming Scotland’s status as an open, outward looking country.”

Emma Campbell, Music Officer, Creative Scotland, said: “It’s a wonderful thing to congratulate Celtic Connections on its twenty-five years as an integral part of Scotland’s music scene.  The festival celebrates our shared musical traditions and shines a light on the brightest new stars. Celtic Connections offers a world-class stage and wildly enthusiastic audiences to top performers from home and friends from across the globe.  It’s particularly exciting to welcome Ireland as the festival’s international partner in 2018.  This partnership with Culture Ireland builds on a strong affinity between our countries, with joint ambitions to share our music with the world.”



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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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