By way of introduction to Celtic Connections 2008, Donald Shaw, the artistic director of the festival and founding member of Capercaillie, gives his thoughts a few days before the first night.
“It’s chaotic, hopefully in an orderly fashion, but the big thing today, tomorrow and Wednesday is preparing for the opening night. Wednesday we have the Common Ground, which is the main opening concert, and I think there’s the best part of 30–40 musicians involved in that, flying in from all over.
"That concert is almost like a festival within the festival, it brings together people and creates what people would probably consider a session, where people collaborate with musicians they don’t usually collaborate with.
"So in concerts like that there are always some pretty special moments.”
Celtic Connections 2008 was the fifteenth festival, and artists included Kate Rusby, the Peatbog Faeries, American bluegrass musician Chris Thile, and Mike Scott from the Waterboys.
Overall, there were more than 1,000 acts, playing at 300 events. As well as the actual gigs, these included interactive events where people can learn how to play instruments.
“That’s the great thing about this festival,” says Shaw. “You can come on a Saturday afternoon having never played an instrument and by the following year you can be on stage, joining the rest of the musicians.”