By 2004 we were settled into the second decade of the festival. Our commitment to keep Celtic culture thriving was just as strong. One new project was a special theatre production, Red Clydeside, which chronicled the immense social upheaval that rocked Glasgow during World War I.
The festival got off to a fiery start as a public procession of torchbearers made their way from George Square and along Buchanan Street accompanied by fire-eaters, street performers and the rousing sounds of massed pipe bands.
Bert Jansch and Bernard Butler
Altan and The Riverdance Flying Squad
Michael Marra and Liz Lochhead
Jackie Leven and Ian Rankin
Ale Möller's World Heritage Orchestra
Esbjörn Svensson Trio
Showcased annually in Glasgow is the superb Celtic Connections festival. Today it can boast some of the most talented performers in Scotland. The Times
The Celtic Connections festival could be the saviour of traditional music. The Sunday Herald
The four storey Britannia Panoptican Music Hall in Glasgow's East End which had been closed for 65 years reopened its doors as a Celtic Connections' venue in 2004. The Hall which saw greats including Stan Laurel and Cary Grant take to the stage was given special permission by the city council to reopen for a one off gig by fiddler Gillian Frame.
Donald Shaw's 'Harvest' opened the 2004 festival. The 'Harvest' project was a one-off commission for the festival. Donald's aim was to celebrate the abundance of youthful talent in Scottish traditional music, while encouraging Scotland's emerging musicians to explore the traditions of Brittany, Asturias and Galica. The result was a concert-length spectacle. It featured some 20 major-name artists from around the Celtic world, alongside nearly 80 young musicians aged 13-18 drawn from the many traditional music education initiatives which have flourished throughout Scotland in recent years.
Firm festival favourites, La Bottine Sourainte, performed the final concert at the 2004 festival. Appearing in Glasgow's legendary Barrowlands their dazzling musicianship, incendiary dancefloor energy and enormous joie de vivre satisfied the faithful and won them a fair few more Glaswegian fans.
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