Celtic Connections is once again celebrating a very successful year as the 20th festival draws to a close. For the twentieth anniversary attendances once again reached over 100,000 and gross ticket sales topped £1 million.
Over 18 days in January and February 2100 artists from around the globe descended on Glasgow. Highlights of the 2013 festival included a poignant tribute to Dundee singer-songwriter Michael Marra. Other memorable performances included The Mavericks, Transatlantic Sessions with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Old Crow Medicine Show, Salif Keita, Kate Rusby, Carlos Núñez & the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Amy Helm, Dougie MacLean, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire, Fiddlers Bid, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Aimee Mann and Bellowhead.
Music fans attended a vast number of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night festival club and workshops, which took place in 20 venues across Glasgow.
The festival is renowned for its ambitious programme of one-off shows, world exclusive performances and unique collaborative events. The 2013 line-up explored the connections between Celtic music and cultures across the globe, bringing musicians from all over the world to Glasgow, with acts from as far afield as India, Brazil, Ethiopia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mali, Angola and Senegal as well as across Europe, the USA and Canada.
Celtic Connections continues to have an international appeal and enhance Glasgow’s reputation as a major tourist destination. Fans visited from all corners of the globe to experience the best in traditional, folk, roots, world and indie music, from Mali to the USA and Canada, as well as across Europe and around the UK.
There were almost 50 sold-out shows including the 20th Celebration Opening Concert, Washington Irving, Scots in the Spanish Civil War, The Mavericks, Duncan Chisholm in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, An Evening with Cowboy Junkies, Glasgow St Patrick’s Day, Donnie Munro & Joy Dunlop, JD McPherson, Sarah Jarosz and Leon Hunt, The Two Man Gentleman Band, The Dardenelles, Preston Reed and the hugely popular Transatlantic Sessions, which is now on tour, bringing a dazzling international cast of Celtic and Americana musicians to concert halls across the UK following its sell-out success in Glasgow over two nights.
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 27 different countries. The exposure that artists gain can lead to record deals and overseas touring contracts, promoting Scottish music and artists to new audiences around the world.
Every year at Celtic Connections the best 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 picked six winners from the sixty acts which took part. The Danny Kyle Open Stage 2013 winners – all of whom will perform a support slot at next year’s festival – were Gria, Graham Lowand Jack Kirkpatrick, Taylor & Leigh, Genesse, Elliot Morris and Mulk.
Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections Artistic Director, said “The 20th Celtic Connections draws to a close today and we are delighted that once again the talented musicians who have taken part and the enthusiastic festival audiences have made this year another brilliant success. We’ve witnessed some unique one-off collaborations and fantastic performances over the past eighteen days. We now turn towards next year when the 21st Celtic Connections will kick start what is going to be a very exciting year for sport and culture in Scotland.”
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life, said "Celtic Connections continues to go from strength to strength and this, its 20th year, has been no exception. This year’s festival has brought some of the finest musicians to Glasgow for some very special performances. The city has come alive with festival goers from all over the world to enjoy some of the very best homegrown and international talent. Celtic Connections provides a significant economic boost for the city and brings some much needed cheer to cold winter nights. We're already looking forward to the festival coming of age in 2014 as we celebrate 21 glorious years of the world's best folk and world music showcase."