Celtic Connections tops £1 million ticket sales once again
CELTIC Connections 2015 drew to a close at the weekend having seen attendances top well over 100,000 for the eighth year in a row, achieving gross ticket sales of over £1.1 million.
Over 2000 artists took part in the 18 day event with approximately 300 concerts, ceilidhs, free events, late night sessions and workshops taking place in over 20 venues across Glasgow.
The middle weekend of Celtic Connections also featured a major showcase of Scottish music, with 180 international music industry delegates from 26 countries sampling Scottish musical talent performing as part of Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections.
"Celtic Connections 2015 has been fantastic with attendances once again clearing 100,000 for the eighth year in a row," Celtic Connections artistic director Donald Shaw said.
"Each January we endeavour to bring exciting new sounds to Glasgow and we’ve seen some world class performances over the past 18 days from countries as far afield as Mali, Brazil, Senegal, India and New Zealand.
"As well as featuring an array of international acts we’ve celebrated the vibrancy of the Scottish folk scene, which still remains the driving force behind the festival."
Highlights of Celtic Connections 2015 included an outstanding, sold-out opening concert with the live world première of Martyn Bennett’s final masterpiece Grit. The fantastic performance, of an almost entirely studio-created album, was lovingly reconstructed by violinist and composer Greg Lawson for a custom-designed orchestra of folk, jazz and classical players. It was an opening night to remember with five star reviews and people, who attended or watched the BBC Scotland recording of it a week later, raving about it on social media with fans describing it as “beyond beautiful” and “stunning, joyful, emotional, amazing” and saying they had “cried tears of sheer joy” at the orchestration of the fearless album.
Other festival highlights of Celtic Connections 2015 included: Van Morrison, Fairport Convention, Calexico, Craig Armstrong with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Shooglenifty, Tweedy, Eddi Reader, Treacherous Orchestra, Lambchop, Carlos Núñez, Danú, King Creosote performing ‘From Scotland With Love’, Angélique Kidjo with the RSNO, Punch Brothers, Dick Gaughan, Le Vent Du Nord, Blazin’ Fiddles, Tommy Emmanuel, Hudson Taylor, The Pierces and Taraf de Haidouks, The Mischa Macpherson Trio, Tony Allen and Skerryvore.
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. Last year Celtic Connections saw an increase to 7% of visitors from oversees and 4% of the audience visited from the rest of the UK. 29% of festival fans accompanied their visit to Celtic Connections with an overnight stay. An impressive 89% of visitors stated that attending Celtic Connections was their sole or main reason for visiting Glasgow and 61% said they had also attended Celtic Connections in 2013. Festival fans attended an average of 3.5 events. 99% of festival goers rated the overall quality of the festival very highly - either ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
Sold-out shows included Van Morrison, The Crew of the Puffer, Crossing the Minch, Jimmie Macgregor and friends, Frances Black & Kieran Goss, Karine Polwart with Sam Amidon, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan performing together for the first time, Kathryn Tickell, Skerryvore with DaimhMor, Lambchop, Slainte Mhath, The Barr Brothers, Niteworks, Eddi Reader, Dick Gaughan, A Moray Journey, Allison Moorer, Hudson Taylor, Ian Carr, Arthur Johnstone & friends, Horizons (featuring Kate Rusby and Declan O’Rourke), California Feetwarmers, The Sea Road Sessions, King Creosote performing ‘From Scotland With Love’, The Fiddletree, Shooglenifty’s 25th Anniversary, Nils Lofgren, Fish & Bird with Sorren Maclean, Adam Sutherland Band of course the ever-popular Transatlantic Sessions.
The reach and engagement of the festival's social media was fantastic this year. The Celtic Connections Facebook page topped 26,500 likes and Twitter followers now stand at nearly 16,000.
The middle weekend of Celtic Connections also featured a major showcase of Scottish music, with 180 international music industry delegates from 26 countries 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 countries all over the world. 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.
The Celtic Connections Education Programme celebrated a successful 18th year, with high profile festival acts including Blazin’ Fiddles, Le Vent Du Nord and Carlos Núñez performing free concerts for school-children in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.