Celtic Connections music festival celebrates 25 years

image copyrightOliver Nielsen
image captionCalexico at the Old Fruitmarket in 2015

Celtic Connections is celebrating its 25th anniversary, featuring more than 2,000 musicians from across the globe.

Over the next 18 days, this year's festival will feature concerts, ceilidhs, exhibitions, workshops and one-off musical collaborations.

The programme of over 300 events will take place across 28 stages and venues including the SSE Hyrdo.

The festival began in 1994 with just one venue and has grown into one of the biggest winter music festivals.

image copyrightMark Archibald
image captionA standing ovation during a tribute to Gerry Rafferty in 2012

Donald Shaw, the festival's artistic director, said: "I think it was very much an experiment and a way to fill the hall over a quiet time of year.

"It coincided with the beginning of an amazing resurgence in traditional and folk music in Scotland and that's what has been the backbone of its success."

Mr Shaw says the festival's huge international reputation has made his job easier because getting artists to come is half the battle.

image copyrightLieve Boussauw
image caption12-piece celtic fusion band Treacherous Orchestra played at the festival in 2015
image copyrightLouis DeCarlo
image captionGreg Lawson's arrangement of Martyn Bennett's Grit received a huge encore at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in 2015

"I think it would be very difficult to transplant this festival to another city around the world. I think Glasgow is really suited to how this festival runs. It is an incredible city for music generally and audiences are great and we have tried to build up a reputation for being creative with the shows."

Celebrations begin with a 25th anniversary concert featuring a number of artists including pianist Dave Milligan, who himself performed at that very first festival.

image copyrightAlan McAteer
image captionLaura Marling was joined by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2017

Mr Shaw said: "Even though we have the major headline shows, and even venues like the Hydro, on the same night there will be intimate shows going on in places like the Tron or the Piping Centre or the Festival clubs. Again that is part of the character of it, to appeal to all."

The festival is on until Sunday 5 February.

image copyrightKevin McGarry
image captionFormer BBC Young Musician of the Year winner Nicola Benedetti opened the festival in 2014
image copyrightLouis DeCarlo
image captionAlternative hip-hop band Stanley Odd playing at the Old Fruitmarket in 2013

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