Every year, Celtic Connections takes over the city of Glasgow to host 300 events, showcasing bands and artists from around the globe, as well as the best Scottish talent, who all embrace the folk and celtic traditions in their music. This year, Celtic Connections marks its 25th anniversary and to celebrate, they’ve pulled together an almighty line-up. Need some help deciding who to see? Take a look below.
This is the Kit + Lost Horizons
Folk artist This Is The Kit, otherwise known as Kate Stables, received rave reviews for her latest album Moonshine Freeze, creating dreamy, off-kilter rhythms and teaming them with playful and honest lyrics. Watch as she stuns entire audiences with the delicacy of her vocals and sheer talent.
Joining This Is The Kit will be Lost Horizons, a duo made up of Bella Union label boss Simon Raymonde and ex- Jesus and Mary Chain drummer, Richie Thomas. Creating deep, melancholic melodies and with an array of guest vocalists, this’ll be a performance crafted by some of the very best in the industry.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Friday 19 January – Buy Tickets
The Lone Bellow + Deer Tick
US trio The Lone Bellow have rapidly climbed the Americana rankings since their self-titled debut album in 2013, with their three-part harmonies and heartfelt lyrics winning crowds over worldwide. With their 2017 release, Walk Into A Storm they honed in on their soul and gospel-influenced sound and twisted it up with some crisp country hues. Known for their passionate live shows, their performance at Celtic Connections is bound to be one to remember.
Kicking things off will be Rhode Island’s Deer Tick, who despite beginning as a band anchored in raucous, garage-rock roots, have blossomed into a group of musicians with a penchant for creating softer, folkier material. Check out their latest dual-release Vol.1 and Vol.2 for a further taste of what they offer.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Saturday 20 January – Buy Tickets
Hazy Recollections: Reece Hillis + Chrissy Barnacle + Mark W Georgsson + Josephine Sillars + The Manic Pixie Dreams
This year’s event sees Hazy Recollections celebrate 10 years of showcasing new talent and providing a platform for rising acts within the indie, folk and pop realms. To mark a decade in the business, curator Findlay Napier will be hosting three five-bill events on Sunday afternoons for you to enjoy, with the first including Fife-born blues guitarist & singer Reece Hills.
Joining him will be local open-mic veteran Chrissy Barnacle, Nordic-folk songwriter Mark W Georgsson and the newly-formed poltical-jazz infused band Josephine Sillars + The Manic Pixie Dreams.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Sunday 21 January – Buy Tickets
Le Vent du Nord + Apiary
French-Canadian quartet Le Vent du Nord have become quite the statement band amongst festivals across the globe, making each performance a hilarious, jig-filled affair. Armed with material from their upcoming ninth album, this fabulous folk foursome manage to squeeze in fiddles, accordions, jaw harps, piano and vocals into their sets, and their performance at Celtic Connections will undoubtedly be one of the standout performances of the entire festival.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Wednesday 24 January – Buy Tickets
James Grant + Yola Carter
James Grant has attracted an ever-increasing fanbase since striking out solo two decades ago. Despite never chasing fame or following music trends, he’s continued to pen songs influenced by poetry and gone on to release six albums, and is still as dedicated to his craft as he was 20 years ago.
Somerset singer-songwriter Yola Carter has already earned massive writing credits with the likes of Massive Attack and now, the rising star is bringing her soulful country music to Scotland for what’s set to be a stunning performance.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Thursday 25 January – Buy Tickets
Big Country 35th Anniversary + support
2018 is a monumental year for Big Country, as they celebrate 35 years since their debut album The Crossing truly launched their career. With their Celtic-hued anthems and heartfelt words, they became somewhat of an iconic Scottish band. Performing a handful of classic hits and live favourites, this is a great opportunity to commemorate everything Big Country have achieved.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Friday 26 January – Buy Tickets
Lord Huron + The Weather Station
Lord Huron are a band who capture dreams of fictional worlds and inspirations and transform them into magical indie-folk songs. With rockabilly grooves and surf guitar licks telling tales of romance and tragedy, you can guarantee that your heart will swell in size when you watch Lord Huron perform.
Canadian singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman, aka The Weather Station will be joining Lord Huron on the night, providing emotional stories soundtracked by delicious folk melodies – as found on her latest self-titled album.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Saturday 27 January – SOLD OUT
Hazy Recollections: James Edwyn & the Borrowed Band + Elliott Morris + Zoe Graham + Beldina Odenyo Onassis aka Heir of the Cursed
The second in Hazy Recollection’s Sunday afternoon showcases sees Glaswegian alt-country outfit James Edwyn & the Borrowed Band perform tracks from their latest offering High Fences. Elliott Morris will whisk you away with his intricate, percussive guitar work and budding songstress Zoe Graham gives her folk-pop a bluesy swing. Finally Kenyan-born singer/poet Beldina Odenyo Onassis, aka Heir of the Cursed, explores her identity as an adopted Scot through her compelling work.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Sunday 28 January – Buy Tickets
Hayseed Dixie + Emma McGrath
Since first grabbing people’s attention with their bluegrass covers of AC/DC, Hayseed Dixie have gone onto release a whopping 14 records, including latest offering Free Your Mind and Your Grass Will Follow. They’ve also received praise from the likes of KISS’ Gene Simmons and Queen’s Brian May, as you do. Known for their tongue-in-cheek showmanship, their Celtic Connections performance is sure to be a hell-raising affair.
To warm things up, young songstress Emma McGrath will warm your souls with her brooding lyrics and vocals, which have won her comparisons to the likes of Laura Marling and London Grammar. Get down early to witness a star in the making.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Thursday 1 February – Buy Tickets
Michael McGoldrick Band + Talisk
One of the world’s most sought-after instrumentalists, Michael McGoldrick will be performing at Celtic Connections alongside his big-band line-up, featuring an array of special guests. With a set that takes on influences from Celtic, African, Eastern-European and Jazz music, it’ll be a show unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Talisk will be taking some time away from the studio for their set and despite only being a band for four years; they’re already working on their second album, where they’ll continue to master their artfully woven sound that embodies fiddle, guitar and so much more.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Saturday 3 February – Buy Tickets
Hazy Recollections: Rhona MacFarlane + Age-Otori + Emme Woods + Jacob Yates and The Pearly Gates Lock Pickers
Gracing the final Hazy Recollections session will be the classicaly-trained, folk-pop artist Rhona MacFarlane and Glaswegian singer-songwriter Age-Otori. Emme Woods will flaunt her bluesy-rock new sound and Jacob Yates will deliver horror R&B vibes aplenty alongside his band The Pearly Gates Lock Pickers.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Sunday 4 February – Buy Tickets
Celtic Connections Closing Party – Mànran & Special Guests + The Young Folk
Rounding off the festival in truly roof-raising style is one of Scotland’s top trad-based bands Mànran. Their expertly crafted Gaelic and English songs combine fiery instrumentals and bring the party vibes wherever they go, plus with the promise of some surprise special guests, this is the only way to see out Celtic Connections 2018.
The Young Folk are an Irish quartet who fuse together all the best bits of banjo, trombone, synths, mandolin and piano to create a distinctive, yet well-loved sound. Their unique take on indie-pop will certainly get the night off to a good start, so get down early to catch their set.
O2 ABC Glasgow: Sunday 4 February – Buy Tickets
With so many shows happening over the two weeks, Celtic Connections are determined to make their 25th anniversary the best yet, so make sure you're a part of it.