Preview: Celtic Connections 2023 kicks off this week celebrating its 30th year

Celtic Connections, Glasgow’s annual folk and roots music festival, opens its doors this Thursday, 19th January, for three weeks of concerts and events. It’s the first full-fledged festival since pandemic restrictions were ended. The festival moved online in 2021, and while there was a healthy programme of live events last year, several were stymied by further restrictions, leading to the cancellation of several shows. With no such conditions this year, some 1200 musicians will take to the stage for over 300 events at more than 25 venues across the city, with showcases of traditional folk, roots, Americana, jazz, soul and world music.

Donald Shaw, the Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, says: “It feels remarkable that in just a matter of days, the 30th edition of Celtic Connections will kick off in Glasgow, celebrating all genres of music, a variety of world cultures, and bringing communities together from across the globe. A considerable amount of work and preparation has gone into this year’s festival; it is a testament to the strength and tenacity of the Scottish music industry, which has successfully overcome an incredibly tough period.”.

As always, there’s a healthy dose of Americana acts, including Lucinda Williams, Bonny Light Horsemen, Aoife O’Donovan, Amythyst Kiah, The Hackles, Grant-Lee Phillips, Nickel Creek and The lonesome Ace Stringband. Our winner of the Americana UK readers’ poll for best UK album and UK artist of the year, Dean Owens, with his band The Sinners, has already sold out his show in Glasgow’s Oran Mor. At the same time, the always popular Transatlantic Sessions returns with Martha Wainwright and Amythyst Kiah among the featured vocalists. Highly anticipated is Leventime: A tribute to Jackie Leven, featuring Michael Weston King, Boo Hewerdine, Doghouse Roses and Dumb Instrument, and crime writer Ian Rankin.

Americana UK will attend to report on many of the shows, so keep an eye out for those soon after. The full lineup and tickets can be found here. One voice that will be much missed this year is that of the late Rab Noakes. Here is Noakes playing a Gerry Rafferty song to a packed Celtic Connections audience in 2012.


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About Paul Kerr 340 Articles
Still searching for the Holy Grail, a 10/10 album, so keep sending them in.

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