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 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.
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 16 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.
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.