Wednesday, 28 February 2018


Opening concert Siobhan Miller & Kris Drever
Celebration this year of 25 years of Celtic connections music festival
 ‘The Sights and Sounds of Celtic Connections’
from the many lights overhead of the Danny Kyle stage that illuminate the aspirations of many young musicians; to those playing accordion, Uilleann pipes pipes , fiddle or piano in the concert hall foyer; the photographers images of concerts they’ve enjoyed; the old oak warmth of the atmospheric Old Fruitmarket where folk musicians or ceilidh bands never cease to amaze; to the packed anticipation of the concert hall audiences for another year of Celtic cheer to lift the gloom of January chills – and  as the snow falls on the opening night I feel grateful to be there! To the last Transatlantic Sessions concert when the days are longer. 

*Highlights for me this year were – Vibrant line up at the Opening concert; Beth Orton;  Bothy Culture and Beyond; Tribute concert Old Fruitmarket for Dick Gaughan;  film composer Max Richter; Shawn Colvin; Session A9; Transatlantic Sessions;
*Tribute concerts –  ‘Arrest this Moment’ for Michael Marra;  Tribute concert for Dick Gaughan.
One of the more interesting aspects of the festival is spotting the new talents emerging.
*The young musicians who drew attentions this year –  Talisk, Siobhan Miller, Siobhan Wilson, Friel Sisters,  Rura,  Alasdair Roberts, Kathryn Joseph, Misha Macpherson, Elephant Sessions, Saltfishforty Rose Code Blue. 

*Danny Kyle Stage Winners 2018,
Dlu  band, Lynne Carson, The Canny band, Galloway, Savannah Donolnoe and Charlie, Joel Gardner, Sam Begbie and Joe Doyle,

*International artists and visitors included - Cuban singer Juan de Marcos and Americans Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan.

Northern Celtic Routes -  Connections to our Gaelic Irish cousins and also our strong links to Northern Celtic Routes from Norway, Canada, Finland and Sweden. Swedish accordionist Leif Ottossen. Quebec quartet Le Vent du Nord. This year Celtic connections twinned with Ireland.
Beth Orton
Eddi Reader
Julie Fowlis
On top of this CC hosts film, art exhibitions, workshops, ceilidh nights, talks, late sessions,
The biggest audience for Gaelic scots music at Bothy Culture and Beyond. Plus a whisky festival at SWg1. The FILM, the Groove is not trivial path to joy - social change through the arts.

The 18 days of the festival - Over 300 events over 26 stages and ticket sales over 130,000. Over the last 25 years the festival has grown at an unprecedented rate, increasing from 66 events in 1 venue with 27,000 attendees in 1994 to 172 events across 11 stages. to now over 350 events across 28 stages and an attendance figure of over 130,000.

There is always such a wide variety , eclectic, accomplished line up – from established and emerging talents.
Celtic Connections offers subtle intonation, creative musicianship, artistic storytelling, friendly collaborations.

Bothy Culture & Beyond
My Top Celtic concerts
I have enjoyed some of my best ever concerts at Celtic Connections – The opening concert with the GRIT orchestra, Cara Dillon, Rura the Old Fruitmarket, Jerry Douglas and his band, the legendary Rab Noakes and Dick Gaughan. Mary Chapman Carpenter, Richard Thompson, The Chieftains, Punch Brothers, concert for Gerry Rafferty; concert for Michael Marra, the awesome Transatlantic Sessions, beautiful Gaelic singers – Julie Fowlis, Karen Matheson, Rhiannon Gibbons.

Celtic Connections 25th festival!
World class musicians from all corners of the roots, folk, world, Americana, indie music world.
Martin Simpson & Tony McManus
Sharon Shannon
Far Far from Ypres