Celtic Connections celebrated a bumper 18th year in 2011. For the fourth year running, attendances reached approximately 100,000 and gross ticket sales topped £1 million, as the festival scored major coups with a programme which featured Sir Tom Jones, The Waterboys, Mavis Staples and a Love and Money reunion. This was the fifth year that the festival has been supported by its principal sponsor ScottishPower.
Music fans attended approximately 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night sessions and workshops, which took place in 20 venues across Glasgow over 18 days in January.
The diverse and ambitious programme explored the connections between Celtic music and cultures across the globe, bringing musicians from all over the world to Glasgow, with acts from India, Cameroon, Japan, Israel, Argentina, South Africa, Senegal, Cuba, Bahrain, as well as across Europe, the USA and Canada taking part in the festival.
Celtic Connections continues to attract international visitors expanding the profile of Glasgow as a major tourist destination. Music fans from across the globe descended upon the city to experience the best in traditional, folk, roots, world and indie music. Fans visited from as far afield New Zealand, Australia, Africa, Costa Rica, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Japan, as well as Europe, the USA and Canada and around the UK. The results of an economic impact survey carried out at the 2010 festival revealed that Celtic Connections generated a total £10.1million of new output to the Glasgow City Council area and £11.9m to Scotland in 2010.
Over the past 18 days, Celtic Connections has staged its most ambitious and diverse festival to date, with an array of one-off shows, world exclusive performances and unique collaborative events. The festival launched in spectacular style on Thursday 13th January, as the ScottishPower Pipe Band led a torchlight parade through Glasgow city centre to mark the occasion. Sir Tom Jones flew in from LA especially for an exclusive performance at Celtic Connections, Glasgow band Love and Money reunited for one night only after 18 years, Gospel divas Mavis Staples and Bettye Lavette took to the Concert Hall stage, and an all-star cast including Rosanne Cash, James Grant and Josh Rouse paid tribute to Bob Dylan in the year of his 70th birthday.
Sold-out shows include Tom Jones: Praise and Blame, Love and Money, Forever Young – A 70th Birthday Tribute to Bob Dylan, The Unusual Suspects, Elizabeth Cook, Crooked Still and Lau, The Highland Sessions, John Grant, Roddy Woomble, Emily Smith, Teddy Thompson, Rosanne Cash, The Creole Choir of Cuba, Treacherous Orchestra, Justin Townes Earle, Justin Currie, Alistair Hulett Tribute, Alison Brown Quartet, Kathleen MacInnes, The New Rope String Band, The Walkmen, Laura Cantrell, The Legends Fiddle Competition, School of Scottish Studies: A Celebration of 60 Years, The Waterboys: An Appointment with Mr Yeats, and the hugely popular Transatlantic Sessions, which is now touring, bringing a dazzling international cast of Celtic and Americana musicians to concert halls in Dublin and across the UK following its sell-out success in Glasgow. The festival’s workshop programme once again proved hugely popular, with many events sold out.
The final weekend of Celtic Connections also featured a major showcase of Scottish music, with over 180 international music industry delegates in town to sample the cream of Scottish musical talent performing as part of Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections. The largest gathering of the international music community in Scotland, Showcase Scotland provides acts with the opportunity to perform in front of promoters, record labels and agents from over 20 different countries. The exposure that artists gain leads to record deals and overseas touring contracts, promoting Scottish music and artists to new audiences around the world.
The Celtic Connections Education Programme celebrated a successful 14th year, with high profile festival acts including Seth Lakeman, Mànran and Tom Fun Orchestra giving free concerts for school-children across Scotland in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Principal Sponsors ScottishPower hosted the second ScottishPower Powerful Performance, giving winners Montrose Academy the opportunity to perform at the festival. The Celtic Connections Education Programme also worked in partnership with Glasgow Life to bring a taste of the festival to communities across Glasgow with a Celtic Connections Community Tour, which saw the Celine Donoghue Duo performed in Drumchapel, Springburn, Gallowgate, Penilee and Castlemilk.
Every year at Celtic Connections the cream of new musical talent perform at the Danny Kyle Open Stage. A diverse panel of judges – from industry stalwarts to members of the general public – then picked six winners from the eighty acts which took part. The Danny Kyle Open Stage 2011 winners – all of whom will perform a support slot at next year’s festival – are Iona Marshall, Yuptae, Broken Strings, Tensheds, The JPTrio and RURA.
Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections Artistic Director, said:
“This year’s Celtic Connections has been our most ambitious and diverse yet, so we’re absolutely thrilled to be celebrating another successful year.
“Each January we strive to bring exciting new sounds to Glasgow whilst also honouring the musical traditions which are at the heart of the festival, and we’ve seen some world class performances over the past 18 days. As well as featuring an array of international acts, we’ve celebrated the vibrancy of the Scottish folk scene – it’s been a fantastic 18th year.”
Ann Loughrey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at ScottishPower, Celtic Connections' Principal Sponsor, said:
“Celtic Connections continues to go from strength to strength, and ScottishPower is proud to have supported that growth over the past five years. Our belief that culture and art should be accessible for all is exemplified in this grassroots festival, and in the ScottishPower Powerful Performance, which encourages schoolchildren from across Scotland to celebrate their musical heritage in a fun and exciting way. This year's winners, Montrose Academy, put on two fantastic performances at the festival and we look forward to hearing more from them in the future.”
Councillor George Redmond, Chairman of Glasgow Life, said:
“Celtic Connections has played host to some of the world’s finest musicians this January with a truly eclectic programme. The success of this year's festival strengthens Glasgow’s reputation as a music capital of the world, and people have flocked to the city from around the globe to attend this internationally renowned event.
“This year, Glasgow Life and Celtic Connections brought a taste of the festival to the communities of Glasgow with a community tour, and the festival’s impressive Education and Outreach Programme enabled thousands of school-children across Scotland to celebrate their cultural heritage. Celtic Connections is of immense value to Glasgow, economically and culturally, and 2011 has been a bumper year for the festival.”
Celtic Connections 2012 will run from Thursday 20th January - Sunday 6th February.
Notes to editors:
Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival is recognised not only as the premier Celtic festival in the United Kingdom but also as one of the largest winter music festivals of its kind and a major event in the folk and world music calendar.
Taking place over 18 days in January, the festival has grown from a single venue event to a network of performances by an impressive array of international artists in venues across Glasgow.
Celtic Connections is promoted by Glasgow Life. Glasgow Life and its service brands (found at www.glasgowlife.org.uk) are operating names of Culture and Sport Glasgow (CSG). CSG is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland with company number SC313851 and having its registered office at 20 Trongate Glasgow G1 5ES. CSG is registered as a charity with the office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (No SCO37844).