The Celtic Connections festival will move online next year as a result of the ongoing pandemic, it has been announced.
Europe’s largest winter music festival, which usually entertains thousands of people in over 300 events, will now take the form of streamed shows with no live in-person audiences.
Organisers aim to work with a wide array of industry specialists to deliver the festival in a way that can help support musicians, crews and venue staff hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.
Celtic Connections 2021, in its digital format, will present concerts using an online platform every night between Friday January 15 and Tuesday February 2.
Performances will be filmed and broadcast from some of Glasgow’s most iconic music venues, with a particular focus on homegrown talent.
There will still be the usual international feel, however, as acts from around the world will also film shows in their homelands.
The performances will be available to view online across the 19 days, with the full programme set to be announced in early December.
Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: “Of course one of the hardest consequences of the Covid virus for musicians this year has been the loss of live audiences in venues, so like many festivals we have had to look to an alternative way of presenting the Celtic Connections experience.
“In a world where so much is unknown it is vitally important that as a sector, we do all we can to ensure the longevity of Scotland’s culture. Sharing our music and our arts is a vital part of our human existence, it connects us as a nation both at home and abroad.
“We owe so much gratitude to our funding partners who have supported our plan to put together a festival that embraces and showcases Scotland’s culture whilst supporting both the artists and the supply chain that keep this sector running.”
Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council said: “Now more than ever it’s important we do what we can to support live performers and artists who have lost their income entirely because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Celtic Connections has always been about coming together to share the experience of unique performances and fantastic music and I’m looking forward to being able to do the same again in January through the digital events they have planned.
“It is important for all the musicians taking part that as many people get involved in Celtic Connections 2021 and support them to keep performing so we can see them again live in the future.”
Celtic Connections began in 1994, when its 66 events centred around one venue, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and welcomed 27,000 attendees.
Since those early days, the festival has become more adventurous, more experimental and more diverse and now annually welcomes over 100,000 attendees and over 300 artists to Glasgow for over 2000 events.
The diverse programme has traditionally included world-class concerts and one-off musical collaborations alongside talks, workshops, film screenings, theatre productions, ceilidhs, exhibitions, free events and late-night sessions.
A huge range of musical genres are showcased across the festival, as well as genre-busting performances that defy any attempt at categorisation.
This, alongside a host of special commissions and creative collaborations, have made the festival both distinctive and internationally acclaimed.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I take heart in these difficult times that Celtic Connections will return in 2021, and I would like to thank the team behind the festival for their vision and innovation.
“Celtic Connections has established itself as the beacon for Scotland’s traditional music, and I know its adaptation to a digital platform will still captivate audiences from across the world by bringing online performances and events into our homes.
“The Scottish Government has contributed £128,284 of EXPO funding towards creating unique digital concerts and performances, helping to support the fantastic Scottish and international artists who will showcase their work through this festival.”
Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland, said: “For almost three decades, Celtic Connections has brought the world to Scotland; in 2021 it will take Scotland to the world.
“All across the planet, Scotland’s traditional music is recognised for its distinctive character, the richness of its heritage and the sheer genius of our artists. Despite the challenges of Covid, next year’s festival will extend its reach by providing a platform for musicians itching to perform for audiences at home and abroad.
“With Glasgow’s venues and Scotland’s tech crews ensuring top-quality production values for every show, Celtic Connections 2021 is sure to be a celebration of everyone who makes live music possible – even in these troubled times.”
Ticketing information and the full programme will be released in the coming weeks. All concerts will be recorded while fully adhering to social distancing guidelines and all current government guidance will be observed and followed.
Celtic Connections will run from Friday 15th January to Tuesday 2nd February 2021, visit celticconnections.com
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe