Bid to stage world’s biggest ceilidh at Hydro arena in Glasgow revealed

Glasgow’s biggest indoor concert venue is to host an attempt to stage the world’s biggest ceilidh in the venue.

Dancer Rachel McLagan and musician Gary Innes launch the Hoolie in the Hydro event. Picture: Elaine Livingstone
Dancer Rachel McLagan and musician Gary Innes launch the Hoolie in the Hydro event. Picture: Elaine Livingstone

A host of Scotland’s leading trad music outfits will be brought together under the vast roof of the OVO Hydro in December.

The event, which has been in the planning stages for two years, is also billed as one of the biggest ever showcases of Scottish traditional music.

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Musician and broadcaster Gary Innes, who is masterminding the “Hoolie in the Hydro,” hopes it will become a watershed music for trad music in Scotland and will further events of a similar scale.

Trad bands have been regularly booking major venues like the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow in recent years as well as staging their own outdoor festivals and concerts.

The OVO Hydro event will feature Innes’s own band Mànran, as well as festival favourites Skerryvore and Trail West.Special guests will include singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean and Irish accordion superstar Sharon Shannon and her band, while the event on Saturday 17 December will be opened by an all-star ceilidh band while special guests will take to the stage for the finale.

Innes, a founder member of the Gaelic trad-rock band Mànran in 2010, has toured all over the world, including China, Malaysia, the USA, the Middle East and Kazakhstan, and made guest appearances with Runrig.

The former Scottish shinty captain has been the presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s longest-running music show, Take The Floor, since taking over from Robbie Shepherd in 2016.

Innes decided to investigate booking the venue for a major event after a huge response when he floating an initial idea on his Facebook page more than two years ago.

He said: “I appreciate that putting a show of this size and scale during the current times is a bold move, but I also genuinely believe that traditional music has a place on the country’s biggest stages.

"Someone always has to go first, and my hope is that it’ll pave the way for other traditional musicians to take the gamble and start booking shows on a similar scale.

"Once the door is opened and people see it can be done, I don’t see any reason why traditional music can’t be showcased throughout the year on stages like this.

Glasgow's biggest concert venue has been lined up to host the 'world's biggest ceilidh' in December.

“This world-first event is set to be the biggest night of traditional music that Scotland has ever seen. I can’t wait to have thousands of people join us for what’s sure to be a serious party and a history-making moment.”

Skerryvore musician Martin Gillespie said: “It will be amazing to perform on the Hydro stage and it will be a pinnacle moment for the trad music scene as we take the country’s biggest arena by storm. I don’t think they’ll have ever seen a party like it and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Mànran singer Kim Carnie said: “This night will mark the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from the bands who have come before us and inspired us to do what we do, as well as the work of those who promote and have promoted our culture, music and languages. It really shows how much traditional music has grown in popularity over the last three decades.”

Dancer Rachel McLagan and musician Gary Innes launch the Hoolie in the Hydro event. Picture: Elaine Livingstone
Gary Innes performs with the band Mànran, who will be appearing at the Hoolie in the Hydro.
Musician and broadcaster Gary Innes is behind the Hoolie in the Hydro event.

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