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SLIGO LIVE SESSIONS, Ireland’s fastest growing music festival is to forge a partnership with Glasgow’s massive Celtic Connections Festival, the world’s largest roots music Winter Festival.  The alliance will see the festivals cooperating on programming and marketing. Initially, Celtic Connections will host a Sligo Live Sessions night each year and Celtic Connections will present a Scottish Programme in Sligo Live Sessions starting in 2011 and each will help to cement the strong cultural links and kinship between Scotland and Ireland. This partnership has significant cultural value not just for Sligo but for Ireland, and is an opportunity to promote Irish Artists and Scottish Artists to an international audience.

This is the first time the 18 day event, which is held in January each year, has partnered any overseas event. To mark this unique partnership a symbolic Cultural Exchange Photocall will take place with the members of the two festivals whereby Celtic Connections will present Sligo with a set of Scottish Bagpipes and Sligo Live Sessions will present Glasgow with a handmade Irish Bodhran.

While Celtic Connections dwarfs Sligo in size and has been in existence for 17 years against the Live Session’s six, the events share a similar musical policy of mixing traditional music with Indie and the more serious side of rock. Both Celtic Connections and Sligo Live Sessions are indoor festivals.  Both take place outside the mainstream festival season. Another quirky coincidence is that both Festivals Artistic Directors are Accordion players with major international bands: Donald Shaw performs with Capercaillie from Scotland and Shane Mitchell performs with Dervish from Sligo.  The festivals will promote each other in the other’s market and work together on programming.  Each year Celtic Connections hosts the biggest European Showcase for roots music and helps to find new artists.

Alongside the Edinburgh Festival and T in the Park, Celtic Connections is one of the biggest festivals in Scotland. Celtic Connections generates over £1 million sterling in ticket sales, with 100,000 tickets sold for the festival each year. Celtic Connections enters its 18th year in 2011 and will feature major acts and the best new talent in approximately 300 events over a 3 week period.  Each year over 200 music industry delegates from over 25 countries attend Celtic Connections.

Celtic Connections is revered in Ireland’s music community, with dozens of Irish artistes appearing each year and industry figures making the annual journey to keep abreast of what’s new in the roots field, but it does not have the awareness one would expect for such a huge and world renowned festival among the general public in Ireland.  This is an amazing opportunity for Sligo Live Sessions and Celtic Connections to join in partnership.  Celtic Connections Artistic director Donald Shaw said, “We are delighted to enter this partnership with Sligo Live Sessions in Ireland The artistic vision and ethos of the Sligo Live Sessions is similar to that of Celtic Connections and we believe this partnership will raise the profile of Sligo Live Sessions in Scotland whilst increasing the size of Irish audiences to Celtic Connections, Europe’s largest festival of its type.”

This is a massive endorsement of the Sligo festival’s artistic ethos of presenting top quality music, giving Irish traditional and roots music centre stage alongside more indie and contemporary music genres. The sixth Sligo Live Sessions which this year hosts over 100 events with over 300 performers takes place from the 21st October to the 25th October 2010.   Celtic Connections 2011 will take place from 13th – 30th January, and the festival programme is announced on 19th October 2010.

Sligo Live Sessions Producer Rory O’Connor said “From the start of Sligo Live Sessons six years ago, Celtic Connections was one of the festivals we looked up to and tried to emulate, particularly in their creative and imaginative programming. We are delighted to work in partnership with them and believe the alliance will be groundbreaking in opening up new markets and opportunities for both events.”

John Concannon, Director of Market Development, Failte Ireland, said;  “We are delighted to be one of the main sponsors of Sligo Live in this its 6th year.  Sligo Live, in forging a new partnership with the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, is placing Sligo to the fore in this important overseas marketplace. We have a very unique opportunity to showcase Sligo Live while cementing the strong cultural links between Ireland and Scotland, and, indeed Sligo and Glasgow in particular. The famous Brother Walfrid founder of Glasgow Celtic F.C. hailed from Ballymote in Co Sligo and so we already have a shared history with our Scottish friends.  Festivals and Events have played a significant role in developing tourism in the North West. Sligo Live is a prime example of a festival, that, has economically benefited the region over a relatively short period of time. The newly formed partnership with the Glasgow Connections Festival can only serve to further benefit the region in economic terms.”

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Permalink - Posted: October 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm