16 Jan - 2 Feb 2025

Celtic Connections 2021 is going online

Musicians on a stage with multicoloured stage lights. The words Celtic Connections are displayed in the concert hall.

Internationally renowned as Europe’s largest winter music festival, annually welcoming over 2000 artists to take part in over 300 events, Celtic Connections was set to celebrate its 28th incarnation in 2021. However, as with the rest of the world, plans have been turned on their head as the global pandemic continues to take hold.

The Celtic Connections team, along with their funding supporters Glasgow Life, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government, have put together a digital-first festival in response to the current situation and the effect this has on the way music fans must now consume live music and entertainment. Their planning has also taken into account the impact the pandemic has had on the livelihoods of musicians, technical crews, venue staff and indeed the whole creative supply chain and they plan to work with as wide a pool of industry specialists as possible to support the sector in any way they can.

Celtic Connections 2021, in its digital format, will present concerts using an online platform every night between Friday 15th January - Tuesday 2nd February 2021. Top quality performances will be available to view online across the 19 days with some of the biggest names on the Scottish music scene and beyond appearing on screens across the world as part of the festival.

With the full programme set to be announced in early December, Celtic Connections fans can expect to see an array of the most well-known and best-loved acts that have traditionally graced the festival stages.

The very best of Scotland’s roots music has always sat at the heart of this international festival that unites and collaborates with cultures and musical talent from all over the world. This long-established connection and cultivation of the Scottish traditional music scene, alongside the recognition that Celtic Connections is a key driver in the development of Scotland’s cultural sector, has informed the decision that this digital-first festival will have a particular focus on talent from at home here in Scotland. The festival will focus on creating unique digital content from specially commissioned projects and performances filmed across many of Glasgow’s much-loved venues. In doing so the festival will support and encourage the creative industries here to help protect Scotland’s rich musical legacy.

As a festival, Celtic Connections prides itself on its international relationships and year on year it extends a hand of musical friendship to artists and audiences across the world. Organisers have ensured that, although the majority of the line-up predominantly showcases homegrown talent, a number of international acts remotely filmed are also included in the line-up so that the essence of what the festival has grown to be truly about - connections, collaborations and relationships - is still prevalent in this new-era Celtic Connections.

Annually welcoming over 100,000 attendees to Glasgow, a UNESCO City of Music, organisers hope the festival’s digital-first programme will appeal to the wide international audience they traditionally see attending the festival. With the festival’s global audiences in mind, they have allowed for all shows to be available for a week after they are first streamed to alleviate any issues with different time zones enjoying the range of content.

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: “Of course one of the hardest consequences of the Covid virus for musicians this year has been the loss of live audiences in venues, so like many festivals we have had to look to an alternative way of presenting the Celtic Connections experience. In a world where so much is unknown it is vitally important that as a sector, we do all we can to ensure the longevity of Scotland’s culture. Sharing our music and our arts is a vital part of our human existence, it connects us as a nation both at home and abroad. We owe so much gratitude to our funding partners who have supported our plan to put together a festival that embraces and showcases Scotland’s culture whilst supporting both the artists and the supply chain that keep this sector running.”

The full line-up and details of how to book will be announced on Wednesday 2 December.