CELTIC Connections returns to Glasgow today with performances from some of Scotland and the world’s top emerging musicians alongside returning favourites.

The famed music festival will feature talent from countries including the US, Ireland and Morocco as they celebrate 30 years of showcasing traditional folk and world music.

The festival, which runs until February 5, will welcome “hundreds of thousands” of visitors this year as the festival has quadrupled the number of events on offer over the years since it began in 1994.

The opening concert today at the Royal Concert Hall involves artists who have featured over the past three decades, including Scandinavian folk roots band Basco, Western Isles band Peat And Diesel, Ireland’s Liam O Maonlai, fiddle legend Duncan Chisholm, Scottish Dance Theatre and the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland.

All the artists are joined by a band that will perform together for the first time in person after originally playing at the digital opening night in 2021 during the pandemic. The band will be made up of musicians including Duncan Lyall, Patsy Reid, Hannah Fisher and James Mackintosh who will also perform throughout the festival.

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Donald Shaw, creative producer for Celtic Connections, said: “Sharing our music and our arts is a vital part of our human existence – it allows us to feel rooted in place and connected to one another, enriching our lives in the process. Over the last 30 years, this is what Celtic Connections has always been about. As we take a moment to recognise and appreciate what we’ve managed to achieve over the last three decades, we go into this year’s festival with feelings of immense determination, pride and gratitude.

“As ever we’re incredibly excited to be welcoming people from across Scotland and the world to Glasgow to enjoy the very best in Celtic, folk, roots and world music. I know our musicians and everyone involved in the festival are ready to make this another incredibly special one in the calendar.

“With an incredible array of entertainment on offer, audiences can expect to be amazed wherever they find themselves across the city. It’s amazing how when the atmosphere in a venue is so warm and the music so restorative, you don’t notice the January rain or the wind outside.”

Glasgow-based band, VanIves will be performing at Saint Luke’s tomorrow as part of the festival line up where they will be joined by local singer Kitty, who was named best vocalist at the Scottish Jazz Awards.

Scottish album of the year winner Fergus McCreadie and harpist, Maeve Gilchrist, will be teaming up with Mr McFall’s String Quartet for a unique performance at the Mackintosh Church.

As part of the festival, dementia-friendly concerts are being held in the Strathclyde Suite of the Royal Concert Hall with Josie Duncan and Owen Sinclair, and Robyn Stapleton with Claire Hastings. The performance uses music to unlock memories with traditional songs.

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: “Celtic Connections shines a bright cultural light in the winter darkness and I’m delighted the Scottish Government is able to support this year’s 30th-anniversary event.”