By 2002 the festival had moved on from being a festival that kept Glasgow’s spirits up in winter to one of the UK’s most important events – a celebration of Scottish traditional music and world-wide Celtic culture.
2002 was the first year we ran the Musical Ark. In this inaugural year we were fairly cautious and only asked the pairs of musicians to move between the Concert Hall’s Main Auditorium and Strathclyde Suite with musicians leaving one stage and moving to the other in turn. This led to later madness and by 2006 we had doubled the venues the musicians had to dash between including several outside the Concert Hall.
Paul Brady and the Liberty Belles
Breton Voices: Giles Servant, Denez Prigent and Marthe Vassallo
Tim O’Brien – The Crossing
Tony Been and Roy Bailey
The Indigo Girls
Mercedes Peon and Susanna Seviane
Roy Bailey and Tony Benn
Croft No 5
The Reindeer Section
The grandest folk festival in the British Isles with a hugely impressive bill. The Daily Telegraph
Celtic Connections is one of the world’s leading showcases of roots music. The Irish Times
"I had never played a fiddle before but I really liked it once they showed us how to play a tune." Craig (aged 11 in 2002)
Our education programme was (and still is) the only part of the festival to run year round with workshops and masterclasses taking place in schools, community centres and The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Our aim with the education programme has always been to increase knowledge of Scottish music and enhance self confidence at the same time. By 2002 the education programme was in it’s fourth year and had become a fundamental and integral part of the festival.
Celtic Connections 2002 continued the tradition of opening with a special concert. The festival commissioned new works from two of Scotland’s leading musicians. William Jackson’s Duan Albanach (The Scottish Poem) and Brian McNeill’s Osprey brought together both traditional and classical musicians.
There was so much to choose from on the last night in 2002. The Iron Horse played a farewell gig in our Strathclyde Suite, there was an early chance to see The Oysterband’s Big Session which aimed to bring the spontaneity of a pub session onto the concert stage or you could have seen the very final gig of that year – The Hothouse Flowers.