Celtic Connections 2010 comes to a close tonight, after an extremely successful 17th year. For the third year running, attendances topped 100,000 with gross ticket sales reaching over £1 million. This was the festival’s fourth successful year of working with principal sponsor ScottishPower.
Music fans attended approximately 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night sessions and workshops, which took place in 18 venues across Glasgow over 18 days in January and February.
The festival’s final night sees performances from The Peatbog Faeries, Saltfishforty, a very special 15th birthday bash for Chemikal Underground – headlined by The Phantom Band – and the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Final.
The diverse and ambitious programme explored the links between Celtic and world music and brought musicians from all over the world to Glasgow, with acts from as far afield as Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, India, Africa, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Norway, Serbia, Romania, Canada and the USA visiting the city.
Festival highlights have included an extraordinary performance by Bobby McFerrin, with the singer also holding a workshop for local choirs and entertaining school children from all over Scotland in a Celtic Connections schools concert as part of the festival’s Education Programme. Other highlights have included the ScottishPower Pipe Band joining The Chieftains and Ry Cooder on stage at their show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and The Treacherous Orchestra performing around Glasgow on an open-top bus to celebrate their sold-out show in the Old Fruitmarket.
Other sold-out shows have included The Chieftains with Ry Cooder, Danny Thompson and Friends, Natalie Merchant and the hugely popular Transatlantic Sessions, which will go on tour immediately after the festival bringing a dazzling international cast of Celtic and Americana musicians to concert halls across the UK following its sell-out success in Glasgow.
The final weekend of the festival also featured a major showcase of Scottish music, with over 150 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.
Showcase Scotland works with an international partner each year and in 2010 shared the stage with Norway, with top Norwegian acts Majorstuen, Synnøve S. Bjørset, Gjermund Larsen Trio, Unni Boksasp Ensemble, Skaidi and Valkyrien Allstars appearing over Celtic Connections’ final weekend.
The Celtic Connections Education Programme celebrated an extremely successful 12th year, with the schools concert strand featuring its most high profile line-up ever as Bobby McFerrin, Naturally 7, The Treacherous Orchestra and Le Vent du Nord gave free concerts for school children across Scotland in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
For the first time ever, the Celtic Connections Education Programme worked in partnership with Culture and Sport Glasgow to take the festival out of the city centre and into local areas with the Celtic Connections Community Concerts as BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners Bodega performed in Barlanark, Knightswood, Penilee and Langside.
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 pick six winners from the eighty acts which took part. The Danny Kyle Open Stage 2010 finalists – all of whom will perform a support slot at next year’s festival – are Ben Powell, Seonaid Aitken, Kilairum, Michael Clark Trio, Rachel Sermanni and Lurach. The Open Stage was broadcast live on Celtic Music Radio, which also broadcast Iain Anderson In Conversation, the Gordon Hotchkiss Afternoon Session as well as New Voices from the Strathclyde Suite.
Celtic Connections continues to attract visitors from all over the world, expanding the international profile of the city as a tourist destination and affirming Glasgow’s place on the cultural map. The results of an economic impact survey carried out at the 2009 festival revealed that Celtic Connections generated a total of £6.6 million of new output to Scotland in 2009.
Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections Artistic Director, said:
“We’re delighted with the continued success of Celtic Connections. This year we had some really amazing acts on the bill, and fans and performers came to Glasgow from all over the world to enjoy two and a half weeks of great music.”
“A personal highlight was Bobby McFerrin’s phenomenal show in the Concert Hall – it was a really special night. We were so thrilled that he agreed to give a concert as part of our Education Programme too, it was a real coup for us.”
Celtic Connections 2011 will run from Thursday 20th January - Sunday 6th February.