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Simon Neil and Deacon Blue stars join first online Celtic Connections line-up

More than 30 concerts will take place from the festival beginning on Friday January 15 until Tuesday February 2.

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Simon Neil has joined the Celtic Connections 2021 festival line-up (BBC Radio/PA)

Simon Neil has joined the Celtic Connections 2021 festival line-up (BBC Radio/PA)

Simon Neil has joined the Celtic Connections 2021 festival line-up (BBC Radio/PA)

Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro and Deacon Blue stars Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh help form part of an all-star line-up in the first Celtic Connections to be held online.

More than 30 concerts will take place from the festival beginning on Friday January 15 – with more than 12 performances in a 90-minute opening show – until Tuesday February 2.

As part of the programme there will be a Roaming Roots Review night on Saturday January 30 – with the theme Songs for Survival – including the Biffy frontman and Deacon duo alongside The Staves, Rachel Sermanni and Roddy Hart and The Lonesome Fire.

While the festival normally welcomes more than 100,000 attendees to Glasgow, organisers hope the digital-first event will attract an even more international audience.

The concept for a digital-first Celtic Connections was borne out of a desire to promote wellbeing and optimism among fellow musiciansDonald Shaw, Celtic Connections

Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections creative producer, said: “The announcement of the full festival programme today marks a huge moment for me and the wider team.

“The concept for a digital-first Celtic Connections was borne out of a desire to promote wellbeing and optimism among fellow musicians as much as it was about still being able to offer entertainment to our loyal Celtic Connections audiences during the dark nights of January.

“The resounding feeling that has come out of the recording days is a space for musicians to come back, to play again, to feel part of the community that they helped to create.

“The last time a lot of the contributing artists performed was at Celtic Connections 2020 and now they are back playing as part of the festival one year on after what has undoubtedly been the hardest year of their careers.

“We feel incredibly proud that as a festival, along with our funding partners, we have allowed for this safe space for them to play again, embrace their creativity and ultimately give them hope that there is a future for them within this industry.”

Jamaican musician Brina and The Ando Glaso Collective will perform on Saturday January 16, with Scottish indie group Admiral Fallow playing a one-hour concert a week later.

As well as the Roaming Roots Revue, Elephant Sessions also help bring in the final weekend with a 75-minute gig from The Ironworks venue in Inverness.

On the penultimate day of the festival, Uist’s Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre has commissioned a special show celebrating talent from or inspired by the island.

Councillor David McDonald, depute leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “There is always a huge sense of anticipation as we get ready for Celtic Connections and with a week to go until the festival gets under way, the excitement is building.

“Celtic Connections is again bringing its blend of incredible performances from some of Glasgow’s iconic venues which promises to be as unforgettable as ever while supporting the artists taking part.

“It is a chance to experience one of Glasgow’s great global festivals and appreciate the brilliant skill of the musicians playing.”

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