Celtic Connections attracts 100,000 audience for 10th year in a row

The Old Friuitmarket is one of the most popular venues for concerts at Celtic Connections.

The Old Friuitmarket is one of the most popular venues for concerts at Celtic Connections.

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Well over 100,000 people have flocked to shows at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections music festival - for the tenth year in a row.

Organisers have revealed more than 80 per cent of performances at the 18-day festival were completely sold out.

Laura Marling performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the opening gala of Celtic Connections.

Laura Marling performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the opening gala of Celtic Connections.

There were 176 full houses - 69 more than last year over the course of the event - which featured 2375 performers from more than 50 countries.

Singer-songwriters Karine Polwart, Martha Wainwright and Laura Marling, fiddler Duncan Chisholm, accordionist Martin Green, and a tribute to the late Shooglenifty musician Angus Grant were among the hottest tickets, as attendances soared over 110,000.

Olivia Newton John, Evelyn Glennie, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rachel Sermanni and Kathryn Joseph were also in the programme, which celebrated “inspiring women artists” this year.

Around 800 hours of music were laid on during the festival, which is already gearing up for its 25th edition in 2018.

Donald Shaw, artistic director of Celtic Connections, revealed he was hoping to stage at least one show at the 12,000-capacity Hydro arena next year.

He said: “We’ve definitely had the highest ever proportion of sold out events this year. There is great momentum behind the festival now.

“Rather than make the festival bigger we wanted to raise the proportion of sold out shows from around 70 per cent. The demand for some shows way outstripped the tickets that were available. We did five nights of Karine Polwart’s show Wind Resistance, but we could actually have done 10.

“Celtic Connections is becoming a whole festival experience, especially at the weekend, when people are going to three or four shows.

“One of the many true joys of the festival is that within our tradition of Celtic music and international collaborations, we do not think about creative boundaries. Instead, we present on our stages some of the most brilliant musicians working today and explore the richness and diversity of the music we are celebrating.

“The journey we have been on through Celtic Connections this year has shown the power of live music to connect with individual lives and to resonate with the wider world in which we all live.”

Alan Morrison, head of music at Creative Scotland, said: “This festival thrives on its global collaborations and its ability to demolish borders through the transcendent power of music.”

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