2008 was a celebratory year for Celtic Connections, with a host of festival fans and musicians joining us to mark the festival's 15th birthday at the spectacular opening concert, 'Common Ground'. In addition to this, we also honoured the 10th anniversary of our hugely successful Education Programme.
Many artists chose to celebrate momentous occasions at the festival too - Steve Earle kicked off his world tour, k.d. lang's gig (one of only 2 European dates on the tour) marked the launch of her world tour and brand new album, and we were honoured to host the world premiere of composer Ronald Stevenson's epic symphonic work, Praise of Ben Dorain - a piece he had worked on for 40 years.
Celtic Connections 2008 further explored the links between Celtic and world music, and brought musicians from all over the world to Glasgow; artists flew in from as far afield as Senegal, India, Serbia, Croatia, France, Bulgaria, Italy, Russia as well as Canada and the USA.
Andy Irvine and Paul Brady
Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile
Cherish the Ladies
It's 2am at a hotel in the heart of Glasgow and there's only one way to describe the musical mayhem around me - it's a wild HOOLEY! For three weeks every year, a thousand musicians from 20 different countries are drawn, almost mystically, to this Scottish city, to celebrate their musical links at the Celtic Connections Festival. The Daily Mirror
The inexorable rise of Glasgow's Celtic Connections winter festival reveals an ever-increasing thirst for a music that means something, and can be identified with. Scotland on Sunday
As musicians and organisers stumble into the icy February night, they should find some comfort in the knowledge that this, its 15th year, is being hailed as the best ever. Sunday Herald
Celtic Connections 2008 began and ended with spectacular sell-out shows that showcased the spirit of collaboration and camaraderie for which the festival has become renowned.
This year, musicians and festival fans got together to celebrate Celtic Connections' 15th birthday at our opening concert, 'Common Ground.' Described by its Musical Director John McCusker as "one huge big glorious session", 'Common Ground' featured an all-star line-up of acts who have become synonymous with the festival over the years, including the likes of Kate Rusby, Julie Fowlis, Mike Scott, Ewen Vernal, Luka Bloom and Michael McGoldrick.
Once again, Celtic Connections concluded with Transatlantic Sessions (a show so popular in previous years that we added a second night of it this year). Based on the popular TV series of the same name, Transatlantic Sessions featured a top line-up of Celtic and American talent; Joan Osborne, Darrell Scott, Mindy Smith, Tim O'Brien, Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson, Aly Bain, Jerry Douglas, Alison Brown and Garry West were just some of the stars who treated a full house at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to a night of superb one-off collaborations.