1999 was an important year for the festival as education, learning and passing on the tradition were all put to the top of our priority list. Education Officer Nancy Nicolson joined the team and thanks to lottery funding new activities at the festival included:
Carlos Nunez with Bagad Kemper
Ricky Ross and Friends
Marie Brennan Band
John Cale Trio
The Pearlfishers and Great Big Sea
Arlo Guthrie with James Grant
Kepa Junkera with the Bumblebees
Eileen Ivers Band with The Wrigley Sisters
Kavanagh, McNeill, Lupari and Lynch
The Oysterband with Lush Rollers
Alasdair Fraser was the festival’s “Artist in Residence”
Modern liberal culture places heavy stress on innovation – which often means little more than novelty. There’s nothing like hearing a real traditional musician to realise there are other ways to make things new. We all have prejudices to lose. Celtic Connections scattered a few of mine. The Scotsman 2nd Feb 1999
For the moment Celtic Connections is undoubtedly the most ranging celebration of Celtic music culture in Europe. The Irish Times 27th Jan 1999
The opening concert of Celtic Connections 1999 underlined the close ties the festival has with the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany and the Celtic Colours festival in Canada. Eddie McGuire was commissioned to write L’Epopée Celtique by the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany and this performance marked the UK premiere.
There were several great concerts going on across the city on the final night in 1999. Festival goers in 1999 could have taken their pick from Capercaillie with Alain Genty, The Oysterband with The Lush Rollers and La Bottine Sourainte with Sandy Silvva.