Festival celebrates record audiences in its 25th year

Organisers of the 25th Celtic Connections festival have announced record audience figures during its 18-day programme.

The traditional music festival in Glasgow drew to a close on Sunday night, with 130,000 people attending more than 350 events over the last 18 days.

The international programme welcomed more than 2,300 artists from over 30 countries on 28 stages.

Councillor David McDonald, the chairman of Glasgow Life, said: "It's been another phenomenal year for Celtic Connections with the 25th anniversary festival breaking all records yet again.

"There is nothing that compares to Celtic Connections and it is a huge part of our year-round cultural calendar, providing much needed entertainment and economic cheer to the city during the darkest winter months."

One of the highlights of this year's festival was held at The SSE Hydro - Bothy Culture and Beyond: The GRIT Orchestra with Danny MacAskill, Ali Clarkson, All or Nothing Aerial Dance and Niteworks.

The 2018 festival began on January 18 with a very special Celtic Connections 25th Anniversary Concert.

Artists performing included Cherish the Ladies, Sharon Shannon, String Sisters, Louis Abbott and Eddi Reader as well as Sharat Chandra Srivastava, Gyan Singh and Maya Youssef.

Twenty five years ago, Celtic Connections began as a series of concerts celebrating music from the Celtic nations and organisers say it is now a "globally recognised festival" of national importance.

Artistic director Donald Shaw has confirmed that in future years his role will focus on developing more of the special commissions, major one-off shows and unique creative collaborations.

Celtic Connections festival highlight Bothy Culture at The Hydro in Glasgow (Celtic Connections/PA)

He said: "This is an exciting moment for the festival.

"Now that the Scottish Government Expo Fund has been opened up to us it is important that we make the most of this opportunity to develop more of the unique collaborations and one-off shows that the festival has become so well known for.

"Strengthening and expanding the festival's programming team will support further growth, and enable us to continue to develop the festival to its fullest potential as we look forward to the next 25 years, ensuring the longevity and musical integrity of Celtic Connections."

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