Ticket sales at the Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow have topped £1 million for the sixth year in a row – despite the part-closure of the event’s main venue this year.
Organisers revealed more than 50 sold-out shows were posted across the festival, including a string of concerts in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which was used for the first time this year.
Overall attendances of more than 100,000 have also been notched up by Glasgow’s biggest festival, which is now worth about £10m to the economy.
The 20th annual festival finished yesterday with the second performance of the event’s hottest ticket, the star-studded Transatlantic Sessions concert at the Royal Concert Hall.
The festival was launched in 1994 to fill slots in the newly opened concert hall’s calendar. However, organisers were hampered this year by parts of the building being closed due to an expansion programme.
The move led to the cancellation of the popular late-night sessions in the venue and the relocation of the event’s famous “open stage”, where new talents are identified each year.
Artistic director Donald Shaw told The Scotsman before the festival that this year’s event had been the most difficult of his seven years at the helm.
Despite the problems, which also included losing the festival’s main sponsor, organisers hailed the final-day results as “very successful” and said attention was already turning to 2014, when the festival will have a Commonwealth Games theme to tie in with the staging of the event.
Among the main events of this year’s festival were a tribute to the late singer-songwriter Michael Marra, American stars The Mavericks, African singer Salif Keita and the hosting of the Radio 2 Folk Awards.
About 2,100 musicians were said to have appeared in 20 venues across the city, including the Arches, the O2 ABC, the Mitchell Theatre and the Barrowland Ballroom. Countries represented in the line-up included Ethiopia, Mexico, Mongolia and Senegal.
A festival spokeswoman said 180 music industry delegates from 27 countries attended the “Showcase Scotland” convention over the event’s last weekend, including promoters, record labels and festival organisers.
Mr Shaw said: “We are delighted that once again the talented musicians who have taken part and the enthusiastic festival audiences have made this year another brilliant success.
“We now turn towards next year when the 21st Celtic Connections will kick-start a very exciting year for sport and culture in Scotland.”
Meanwhile, Celtic Connections has revealed the names of the six acts who won the Danny Kyle Open Stage awards and will be invited back for prime support slots at next year’s event.
They are Orcadian duo Graham Low and Jack Kirkpatrick, Kenyan singer Beldina Odenyo, Aberdeen outfit Mulk, Lincolnshire-based singer Elliot Morris, Edinburgh double act Taylor and Leigh, and all-girl outfit Gria.