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Celtic Connections Music Festival 30th Anniversary, Glasgow

You might be wondering what is Celtic Connections? Celtic Connections is a music festival that takes place annually in Glasgow, across several venues in the city featuring up-and-coming and well-known artists. This year the 30th anniversary kicked off in style with an entertaining concert with a smorgasbord of artists. Here are some of the highlights from this year and what you need to know to plan for next year's event.


Lampost signs advertising the Celtic Connections Festival lining Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow
Celtic Connections Music Festival, Glasgow ©MDHarding

Celtic Connections Music Festival 30th Anniversary, Glasgow


After longing to attend for many years, I made it to the 30th anniversary of the Celtic Connections Festival. I was so excited to have finally witnessed some of the events and discover the history, Celtic traditions, and Celtic Connections across the world.


Opening Night Celtic Connections Concert


This year the annual program started on the 19th of January at The Royal Concert Hall with the opening night - Celtic Connections 30th Anniversary Concert.


Starting at 7.30pm the entertaining event gave the audience its money's worth (lasting for hours!) This is one you don't want to miss. It gives you a glimpse into further events taking place by some of the musicians and an overall feel of what is to come across the breath of the festival.


Muscians lining the main stage performing with Celtic Connections light up behind them and the audience members in front.
Celtic Connections 30th Anniversary Concert at The Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow ©MDHarding

Gaidhlig Ghlaschu - The Story of Gaelic Glasgow


Glasgow as a city has so many layers, some very dark that bought about much-needed change and change that was forced on communities of islanders to move to the large industrial city.


I was intrigued to discover The Story of Gaelic Glasgow. The event started at St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, where we enjoyed complimentarily teas and coffee before the procession of storytelling started and made its journey from there to Glasgow Cathedral (Built in the 1100s the medieval and awe-inspiring building dedicated to St Kentigern, also known as St Mungo it is the most complete medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland).


The stories of some of the Scottish island inhabitants were heart-wrenching and moving. Described through words and music how they were thrown off the islands to make space for sheep farming, making their journey to mainland Scotland (many for the first time) onboard the ferry into the Glasgow Docks, and how only speaking Gaelic challenged securing jobs and starting a new life.


This event was very serendipitous for me, as I recently discovered some of my ancestors were islanders and in fact found themselves working at the Glasgow Dockyards. It was a really interesting event, well thought through, and portrayed stories. If you are interested in discovering more take a walk along the Glasgow High street and you might like to also visit Fairfield Heritage. Also don't miss a visit to Glasgow Cathedral!


Participants showing poster boards of the people's stories told during the performance - The Story of Gaelic Glasgow.
Gaidhlig Ghlaschu - The Story of Gaelic Glasgow, Glasgow Cathedral ©MDHarding

Annual Pipeband Concert: Names and Places 2023


The Royal Concert hall was aflutter with excitement, many had arrived early to enjoy a bite to eat and a hot or cold beverage before the Annual Pipeband Concert: Names and Places started at 12.30pm. The cafe was a hive of activity with additional visitors solely for the cafe.


The Names and Places album was recorded in 1990. A group of legacy pipers from that recording reunited across the Atlantic including Malcolm Robertson, Adrian Melvin, Gary West, and Kenny Forsyth reimagining the seminal Names and Places album.


It was an entertaining event and a moving tribute to Pipe Major Ian Duncan.


Full Pipe band many wearing tartan kilts playing the finale on the main stage at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
Annual Pipe Band Concert - Names and Places, Celtic Connections, Glasgow ©MDHarding

Celtic Connections Venues 2023


This year the venues across the city included Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, City Halls / Old Fruitmarket, CCA, Cottiers, Drygate, Glasgow Cathedral, Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Mackintosh Church, National Piping Centre, Oran Mor, Saint Luke's, SWG3, The Glee Club, The Glad Cafe, The Hug & Pint, Theatre Royal, and Tramway.


Large red and white sign with King Tuts Wah Wah Hut Glasgow, Scotland.
Outside King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow ©MDHarding

Celtic Connections 2024


Celtic Connections for 2024 will take place from 18th of January through till 4th of February. You can find out who will be performing at the UK's premier celebration of Celtic music at: www.CelticConnections.com



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