CELTIC Connections, Glasgow’s biggest music festival, is to expand into the city’s flagship museum and gallery to mark its 20th year.
Kelvingrove will play host to several events, including a Burns Night celebration, throughout the festival, which is expected to attract 100,000 concert-goers in January and February.
However, it has emerged that part of the main venue, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, will be out of action because of a forthcoming expansion.
The festival’s second major space, the Strathclyde Suite, has been ruled out of the festival, while its popular “open stage” is having to relocated elsewhere after the venue’s main exhibition hall was also unavailable.
Donald Shaw, the artistic director, admitted it had been a logistical “nightmare” trying to programme the festival after he became aware of potential problems only four months ago.
However, in a major coup, he revealed that the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards would be coming from the concert hall and would be shown live on television for the first time.
The Mavericks, Little Feat, The Animals, Martha Wainwright, Bellowhead, Be Good Tanyas, Nic Jones and the Old Crow Medicine Show will be among the headliners at the festival, which will also be returning to the Barrowland Ballroom.
Other international stars include African singer Salif Keita, flamenco artist Vicente Amigo, Irish singer Glen Hansard, star of Oscar-nominated film Once, US singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and rising Portugese fado singer Carminho.
Candian alt-folk icons Cowboy Junkies, Highland fiddler Duncan Chisholm and Bulgarian outfit Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares will be among the acts playing at Kelvingrove.
Its role as a major festival venue has been confirmed just weeks after VisitScotland announced that its awards ceremony was moving there from Edinburgh.
Mr Shaw said the main auditorium at the concert hall, which opened in 1990, will be unaffected by the building work on the £14 million expansion, which will create a permanent home for the RSNO.
He added: “We heard in June that there might be an issue with part of the concert hall and have been trying to make a case for the whole venue to be available, but found out a month ago that it was impossible.
“The part of the venue where the work will be going on has to be handed over to the contractors before the festival starts, but luckily we’ve been able to move concerts into the Mitchell Theatre and have another venue on Bath Street we’re looking at for the open stage.”
The festival will mark its 20th-year landmark with an opening concert reuniting many favourites of previous festivals, including singers Julie Fowlis, Eddi Reader and Dick Gaughan, the Scottish Power Band and a string ensemble led by Scottish Chamber Orchestra violinist Greg Lawson.
Among other stars from the first event returning are Galician piping supremo Carlos Nunez and Irish singer Paul Brady.
Among the big-name home-grown acts in the line-up are singers Dougie MacLean, Karine Polwart and Roddy Hart, “Gaelic supergroups” Capercaillie and Manran, Incredible String Band founder Mike Heron, Shetland fiddle legend Aly Bain and rising folk outfit Rura.
Tickets for all shows at Celtic Connections, which runs from 17 January to 3 February, are on sale from 9am today.
Full details of all shows can be found at www.celticconnections.com
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Monday 20 May 2013
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