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Expo funding for Celtic Connections

Published: 04 Feb 2019

Celtic Connections is to be supported from the Festival Expo Fund for the second year running, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced.

Ahead of this year’s successful event closing on 3 February, the Scottish Government has confirmed £100,000 for the 2020 event from the Expo Fund. The funding will deliver eight new works by Scottish composers, which will be developed by composer Greg Lawson into a single symphonic piece to be performed by the GRIT Orchestra.

Ms Hyslop said: “Celtic Connections presented an excellent application for next year’s festival, which will build on the huge success of previous years, therefore I’m pleased we can continue our support.

“Over the past 26 years, Celtic Connections has gone from strength to strength, developing a vibrant programme that lights up Glasgow’s dark winter months and attracts festival goers and talent from around the world. It is now one of the world’s largest winter music festivals and boosts Scotland’s culture, tourism and economy.

“Celtic Connections is an excellent example of the international reach our festivals offer, enhancing Scotland’s reputation as welcoming and inclusive, which is so important as we strengthen relations with our European friends during these turbulent times.”

Donald Shaw, Artistic Director at Celtic Connections said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government Expo Fund has been opened up to us again, for Celtic Connections 2020. When programming this year's festival, we were able to use this invaluable funding to further consolidate the vibrant new music strands that are evolving from an emerging generation of musicians. Thanks to the extra financial backing we were able to programme a diverse mix of concerts that showcased music that defies any specific genre category and allowed the musicians to explore the role of folk music as a universal language.”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland said: “For more than 25 years, Celtic Connections has welcomed international musicians and audiences to Glasgow to experience an outstanding range of work produced by Scottish artists. Now, for the second year running, the Scottish Government EXPO Fund will enable the festival to enrich and enhance what is already an incredible programme. It’s really exciting to know that the EXPO Fund will be used to create customised music for the GRIT Orchestra, building on the legacy of the late Martyn Bennett by taking this utterly unique cross-genre band in a new direction.”

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life said: “Glasgow is famed internationally for its creativity and music, for its ability to consistently host major successful events, for our hospitality and welcome and for our international outlook. These are core elements of the Glasgow brand and our city economy and they come together perfectly with Celtic Connections. 

After 26 festivals this wonderful 18-day event has welcomed thousands of artists from across the world and really is an advertisement for our vitality and internationalism.  It’s crucial our economic, social and indeed cultural policies are successful and sustainable. Celtic Connections is critical to these ambitions and the support for the festival from Scottish Government’s Expo Fund displays tremendous confidence in it.”


Since 2008, the Expo Fund has enabled the delivery and expansion of Scotland’s major festivals by investing £21 million.

The Festivals EXPO Fund assessment process and funding is administered by Creative Scotland, with input from Event Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, British Council and the Scottish Government.

The 2019/2020 Expo Fund has a budget of £1.8 million for festivals and £200,000 allocated to Festivals Edinburgh to reinforces the reputation as the world’s leading festival city.

Twelve applications were made to the Expo fund this year with announcements to follow regarding the remaining allocations.