Celtic Connections reveals line-up for virtual version of Glasgow festival as musicians return to venues

A host of Scotland’s best-known musical acts will be appearing in a virtual version of the Celtic Connections when the world-famous Glasgow festival returns next year.

The Siobhan Miller Band performing at the City Hall for next year's Celtic Connections. Picture: Gaelle Beri
The Siobhan Miller Band performing at the City Hall for next year's Celtic Connections. Picture: Gaelle Beri

Admiral Fallow, Blue Rose Code, Eddi Reader, James Grant, Katheson Matheson and Karine Polwart will all be appearing in the event’s 19-day programme, which will be going ahead despite the ongoing shutdown of music venues in the city.

Artists are already returning to some of the city’s best-known stages to film behind-closed-doors performances which will be available for streaming around the world between 15 January and 2 February.

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Fans will be able to get unlimited access to every performance for just £30 if they snap up an “early bird” offer. Tickets to individual shows will be released in January, along with the full programme for the first online version of the festival, which began in 1994 and usually attracts an audience of more than 100,000 to the city’s music venues.

Blazin’ Fiddles, Elephant Sessions, Imar, Fara, Kinnaris Quintet, Cherish the Ladies, Kris Drever, Manran and Shooglenifty will be among the Celtic Connections favourites from past events recording brand new appearances under a broadcast partnership between Celtic Connections and BBC Alba.

The festival, which is renowned for its array of international guest stars who flock to Glasgow each year, has lined up appearances from overseas stars like Rhiannon Giddens, Bassekou Kouyate & Amy Sacko, José González and Le Vent Du Nord.

The 2020 festival, which is unlikely to involve any live events due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions in Glasgow, will feature special online versions of annual events like the Roaming Roots Revue and Transatlantic Sessions.

The Scottish Ensemble and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will be filming special shows will fiddler Duncan Chisholm, and singer Karine Polwart and Finnish musician Pekka Kuusito respectively.

Donald Shaw, the festival’s creative producer, said: “It’s been a challenging, but exciting, process pulling this year’s digital festival together.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the musicians who have contributed both at home and abroad, it has been brilliant to see them all get behind the concept and support our vision.

"We can’t wait to bring all of this great music into people’s homes this January.”

Alan Morrison, head of music at Creative Scotland, said: “Now that Celtic Connections has announced some of the acts that will brighten up our January nights, we can start to look

Donald Shaw, the creative producer of Celtic Connections, in the Old Fruitmarket.

forward to what 2021 has to offer.

“This online edition of the festival will give a global boost to our home-grown artists while ensuring that an international thread continues to run through the programme.

“There will be so many must-see performances, all in the one place, keeping Glasgow at the heart of the musical world.”

Glasgow City Council’s deputy leader David McDonald, chair of Glasgow Life, which runs most of the festival’s main venues, said: “This year, more than ever, the festival will connect people around the world through a love of music with its roots in Scotland.

Project Smok at Saint Luke's in Glasgow. Picture: Gaelle Beri

"It will be a major showcase for some incredible talent and will be a reminder of the hope we all have of being back in venues in the near future to enjoy live performances.”

James Grant performing at the City Halls for next year's Celtic Connections. Picture: Gaelle Beri
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