Glasgow kicked off its 20th Celtic Connections festival today with a small and rather humble appearance by flamenco guitar artist Vicente Amigo on the steps of the Royal Concert Hall.
His performance marks the beginning of eighteen days of music with artists playing at venues around the city from the Old Fruitmarket in Merchant City to Oran Moor in the West End.
The opening nights Celebration Concert has nearly sold out with only standing tickets available and its popularity has proved a great asset for those who want to advertise their own music events.
‘Fleadh Cheoil na h’Eireann’, a Northern Irish based music festival based in Derry, Northern Ireland, is touring with Celtic Connections this week to try and raise awareness of their own festival.
I was invited on the Irish tour bus to have a look around and ask musician Paul ‘Ginty’ O’Reilly about the relationship between the Scottish and Irish music festivals.
“We are not connected directly (to Celtic Connections) but we’ve got some connection because there are lots of artists here at the moment who are performing and they will also be performing in Derry when the Festival comes.”
Last year the Celtic Connections festival sold £1.1 million tickets, so the Derry music festival will feel it has a lot to gain from such a highly attended event.
Glasgow’s Celtic Festival this year is bringing artists who performed at the first festival in 1993 back, and wants to concentrate on the history and ethos that has made it so successful and popular.
Over a hundred artists will perform folk, roots, world, traditional, indie, blues and jazz.