Celtic Connections has celebrated a bumper 18th year in 2011 following the final concerts on Sunday night 30 January 2011.
Celtic Music Radio also celebrated an outstanding Celtic Connections with coverage of many events and concerts which will be broadcast in the coming months.
As always the nightly live broadcast of the Danny Kyle Open Stage in the Exhibition Hall was popular with online listeners outwith the broadcast area.
And this year, the Celtic Music Radio coverage extended to DAB digital radio using the ‘Pop Up’ radio channel on Now Digital multiplexes in Ayrshire and across England and south Wales with many positive responses.
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 one night only Love and Money reunion show. 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.
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 perform 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 which is broadcast live every night by Celtic Music Radio.
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.”
ScottishPower Group Sponsorships Manager, Heather McDonald, 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.”
Celtic Connections 2012 will run from Thursday 20 January to Sunday 6 February 2012 and Celtic Music Radio will as always be there live from The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and recording events and concerts and being involved with this diverse musical community.