EUROPE’S premier folk, roots and world music festival Celtic Connections opens in Glasgow today, 18 January, for what will be one of its biggest-ever capacity programmes.

Running until 4 February, the renowned 18-day event kickstarts Scotland’s annual cultural calendar and showcases Glasgow’s UNESCO City of Music status and role as the country’s cultural powerhouse. The festival will welcome celebrated artists from around the world for an inimitable celebration of cultural exchange and musical innovation.

Delivered by Glasgow Life as part of the city’s annual cultural events programme, Celtic Connections attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees, and the contribution the festival makes to Scotland’s cultural landscape and international reputation, as well as Glasgow’s visitor economy, cannot be understated.

Over the course of the next two weeks, 1200 artists will perform at over 300 events, lighting up 25 venues across the city with world-class performances and exclusive collaborations for what is the biggest winter music festival of its kind in Europe.

Featuring a programme which famously expands year on year, the festival will cover everything from trad, folk, roots, Americana and jazz to soul, rock, orchestral, experimental and world music.

With a number of shows already sold out, and an anticipated 110,000 attendees expected to make their way to Glasgow for Celtic Connections 2024, music lovers are being encouraged not to delay in booking tickets so they don’t miss the chance to experience some unforgettable live performances.

Kicking things off in spectacular style is tonight’s sold-out Opening Concert which is staging the European premiere of ATTENTION! The remarkable new symphonic work from American Grammy winner Chris Thile – referred to by Billboard Magazine as “the best mandolin player in the world” – will also see the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performing, and guests including festival favourites Rachel Sermanni, Dreamers’ Circus, and Sarah Jarosz.

In addition to shining the spotlight on a wealth of established and emerging talent from Scotland, Ireland and throughout the UK, this year’s festival includes an array of acclaimed international artists and acts from almost every corner of the globe.

The international partner for this year’s Showcase Scotland programme – which encourages creative collaborations – is Norway. The Scandinavian talent represented includes Tromsø-born violinist, singer and composer Julie Alapnes, Slovakian-Norwegian orchestra Angrusori, Norwegian traditional trios Erlend Viken and Ævestaden, and Sámi band Gabba.

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: “As the name affirms, this festival has always been about connecting people and nations, uniting them through a shared love and appreciation of music and culture. This year’s line-up, one of our biggest and most ambitious to date, is packed with amazing talent from across Scotland and all over the world, reflecting just how far the festival has come over the past three decades, and underlining our ambition to showcase music of all genres and backgrounds.

“I extend my heartfelt thanks to all those whose efforts have made this year’s festival possible. Your support has allowed us to curate an exceptional event that represents the heart and soul of Celtic, folk, roots, jazz and world music.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see proceedings kick off today; I know our musicians and everyone involved in the festival is ready to make this one to remember. If there is still a show you would like to see, I would urge you to buy yourself a ticket – you most certainly will not regret it.”