We’re back on American soil after almost two weeks at that mad-yet-brilliant festival of craziness they call Celtic Connections, in Glasgow, Scotland. Billed as the largest winter music festival anywhere, the catalog of this huge gathering reads like a whos-who of Celtic and folk artists, with over 300 performances over three weeks, and over 500 artists listed as appearing. My band Molly’s Revenge went over to compete on the Danny Kyle Open Stage, but we didn’t place among the winners.
Every day there were lots of events, far too many to see them all, but fortunately one could catch almost all of the acts during short sets played after hours at the Festival Club, which ran nightly from around 11:00PM til 4:00AM. The Club took over most of one floor at the Central Hotel. With three bars, plenty of libations were consumed by the thirsty Glaswegians, and it became a wild party on the weekends. In addition to the Festival Club stage, there was a room reserved for singers, where the swapping of traditional song went on until the wee hours just before dawn. There were spontaneous sessions of Irish music and old-time bluegrass. And of course on stage, one could hear amazing performers of music that ranged from Scandinavian to African and of course, Scottish. The performers would often mingle with the crowd and enjoy the party atmosphere.
I can’t say enough good things about the quality of the performances at Celtic Connections. How can you go wrong with top-tier Irish bands like Dervish, Lunasa, and newcomers The Moonlighters, featuring John Doyle, Dermot Byrne, Michael McGoldrick, and Ciaran Tourish? Scottish stalwarts such as The Battlefield Band, Old Blind Dogs, and Lau? American bluegrassers Tim O’Brien, Bruce Molsky, Dirk Powell, and Crooked Still? They all rocked hard in their own folky ways.
Stand by for more coverage of Celtic Connections. In the meantime, check out these photos.