We told you back in October about the opening of ticket sales for Celtic Connections and now that the first couple weeks of 2014 are almost behind us, it can only mean one thing; Scotland’s premier winter music festival is just about here. With the first concerts and gigs kicking off on 16 January, if you’ve not already got your tickets sorted it’s now time to pour over the programme and decide what your must-sees will be this year.
Now in its 21st year, this Glasgow festival blends traditional and distinctive Scottish sounds with a huge variety of music from across the globe, with folk, roots and world-music genres featuring heavily. It’s a true celebration of both home grown talent and international performers. As part of the Year of Homecoming 2014 celebrations, Celtic Connections will hold the very first International Burns Concert on the birthday of our National Bard, Robert Burns in Scotland’s new performance venue, the SSE Hydro. It will celebrate the inspiration of Burns throughout the world and Scotland’s musical links with the Commonwealth nations (if you’re not already aware, Glasgow is set to host the XX Commonwealth Games in the summer of 2014).
During this one-off milestone concert, a cross-cultural line up will include Scottish voices Karen Matheson and Dougie MacLean and South African vocal trio The Mahotella Queens are just some of the acts who will take to the stage. And as for the other 17 days of the festival? There are around 2,000 artists to discover so it’s just the not-so-simple matter of deciding what to see.
For me, American blues and soul legend Bobby Womack, Glasgow five-piece Mogwai and Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow are the hot tickets, but how will your Celtic Connections shape up? On looking at the line up, you’re bound to find names you have heard of and, often more interestingly, names you have not – it’s the perfect festival to make new musical discoveries.
Get planning and find out more about the Celtic Connections programme and tickets. And when in the city, why not check out Glasgow’s many great attractions, restaurants and bars?