By 1998 the festival tried diversifying into other arts forms.
There was a season of nine celtic inspired films in the recently redeveloped Glasgow Film Theatre including
"Stella Does Tricks" and "Views of the Western Isles".
A new branch of Waterstones had also just opened in Sauchiehall Street and during the festival in 1998 the
bookshop brought together the finest of Scotland and Ireland’s writers, poets and storytellers.
The Hothouse Flowers
Maria del mar Bonet
The Tannahill Waevers
Christine Collister and Bert Jansch
Ossian with Chanton
Martyn Bennett and the Tartan Amoebas
Royal Scottish National Orchestra featuring James MacMillan’s "The Beserking"
Paddy Keenan with Fred Morrison
It's the sheer scope which makes Celtic Connections so valuable. On one stage this year you could hear Jock Duncan singing of long ago battles as if he had been a participant; on another Martyn Bennett was taking the piping and fiddling traditions into the next millennium and out to a young eager audience. The Herald 6th February 1998
One of Celtic Connections strengths is that it bypasses the need for sylistic pigeon holes by presenting its programme as a kind of musical buffet. So those of a conservative outlook can stick with their (meaning no offence) pies and sausage rolls, while more adventurous souls lean over to sample something more exotic. Having David Milligan open the three-strong Sunday lunchtime series underlined this approach. The Herald (reviewing the first ever New Voices commission)
New Voices gives acclaimed musicians the chance to compose something new and often work with many of their Celtic peers. They have now become an important and enduring part of the festival. In 1998 the first three New Voices pieces were performed by:
David Milligan: "Lifting the Lid" – a piece for two pianos
Simon Thoumire: "Celtic Connections Suite" – played by the nine piece Simon Thoumire Orchestra
Corrina Hewat: "Making the Connection" – The Herald said “Let’s hope some enterprising Scottish record company records it for posterity.”
"At times the Irish Chamber Orchestra played like a wee folk band with O Suilleabhain driving them on like an
Irish Jerry Lee Lewis." The Herald
Scotland's masters of the Latin groove took the stage for an exhilarating night of powerful, propulsive and thoroughly infectious grooves.