But the scene – as it once used to be referred to, knowingly – surely hasn”t ever been as buoyant as is now plain to see and, better still, hear across the city.
This happy state of affairs has been a long time coming, though, and never without some hiccups. Folk, its fans and many multi-talented practitioners have also had to be pragmatic.
They”ve learned that skill down the years while championing this Cinderella of the performing arts wherever and whenever a platform presented itself.
Many of our now best-known, home-grown musicians first found critical and, don”t underestimate it, commercial success, elsewhere. Denmark, Germany and, from a traditional viewpoint, the legendary inter-Celtic festivals of the 1970s staged by the Breton township of Lorient, initially provided three of the most important international stages for Scots musicians and singers.
The link from then until now is that 20 years down the line Celtic Connections has adroitly adopted and adapted
the Lorient blueprint. And, in the two-decade process of creating the world”s greatest winter musical festival here, has inevitably burnished our local pub and club circuit which underpins Glasgow”s totally-credible claim to be the Scottish capital of live music.
In passing, the recent 18-day festival involved some 2,100
musicians from home and abroad who attracted more than 100,000 concert-goers to shell out a cool million pounds on tickets.
As councillor Archie Graham, who chairs Glasgow Life, put it: “”Celtic Connections provides a significant economic boost for the city and brings some much-needed cheer to cold winter nights””.
The only downside now is that after such a high concentration of all-star entertainment on the doorstep some of us are suffering withdrawal symptons on a grand scale.
But when you know where and when to look there”s still plenty of music making to be enjoyed around the city.
Prominent on the Glasgow horizon down the years has been the legendary Star folk club — initially a 70s fixture on the southside of the Clyde.
In its time the club itself has been a bit of a wandering star. From the glory days in cosy Carlton Place championed then by Laggan”s indefatigable Arthur Johnstone and his sister Trish, to the expensively-refurbished splendour of the awe-inspiring St Andrew”s in the Square off the Saltmarket.
But while the music making continues apace with rising generations of entertainers moving the tradition ever onwards, The Star too has lately set in the west.
From this month it has moved to a new venue at the Admiral bar in Waterloo Street where, aptly, the afore-mentioned Arthur Johnstone with the Stars Band featuring Brian Miller (guitar, mandolin, vocals), fiddler Charlie Soane (doubling on mandolin) and multi-instrumentalist Gavin Livingston (piano, guitars, banjo) are to perform opening honours on February 12.