Glasgow’s special annual festival is 18 days of solid music and is packed with accordions on show and on the stage in the Glasgow concert hall. Celtic Connections is the largest annual winter music festival of its kind and the UK’s premier celebration of Celtic music with 2,100 artists, 300 events and 20 venues. All this boils down to 1 brilliant festival! As it’s title suggests the festival has roots in Celtic, folk and world music. There are concerts, ceilidhs, talks, workshops and exhibitions. One of our regular contributors to AccordionCentral has one of these stands and are there right now!
Like all festivals the trade stands are very important and bring a lot of added value to an event. The Scotland Accordions trade stand has an impressive range of Scandalli accordions along with many other brands and digital accordions for sale and to try. They are also offering a free accordion fault diagnosis service for visitors who bring their instruments to the Main Foyer of the Glasgow concert hall on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.
Accordion players of all levels attend the festival for help, advice and to just try out the instruments. Pictured left is professional musician and accordion player Gary Blair who spent some time on the stand having a good look round and a chat.
The festival itself has broadened its reach during the past few years, in 2012 it brought a taste of Celtic Connections to the Isle of Skye as part of the ‘Year of Scotland’s Islands’, as well as visiting Chicago as part of the ‘Year of Creative Scotland’. It even contributed to various musical performances throughout the Ryder Cup, including the Opening and Closing ceremonies along with a number of other hospitality events.
In 2014, with the support of Homecoming Scotland, the festival staged a special one-off collaboration in the SSE Hydro, an exciting new large scale venue in Glasgow. This concert was part of the busiest weekend ever for Celtic Connections in which 25,000 music fans attended performances in the space of 48 hours. The festival also programmed a number of outdoor performances for Culture 2014 – the spectaular cultural celebrations surrounding Glasgow 2014.
In 2015 the festival won the Art and Culture Award at the Inspiring City Awards ceremony organised by the Herald and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce in association with People Make Glasgow. The awards were created to celebrate the people and organisations that make Glasgow great.
One special highlight has been accordionist Professor Phil Cunningham’s Highlands and Islands Suite for 73 piece orchestra and 40 member choir not to mention 30 massed fiddlers and traditional soloists with an accordion in the lead! This is a famous piece composed by Phil. This is a perfect cross over for musicians with different instrument types. For example, Burgess Bagpipes who had an adjacent stand to Scotland Accordions, are makers of extremely high quality bagpipes including small pipes driven by arm bellows. Burgess Bagpipes and Scotland Accordions are now making plans to collaborate on some upcoming ventures.
If you would like to see the depth of interest in the accordion business in Scotland go and visit the festival before it finishes on February 5th. Oh yes and if Glasgow is too far to travel both Gary Blair and ScotlandAccordions will be at Eastbourne in February and Blackpool at the end of March.