EXPO Fund to include Celtic Connections

Fund to be made available to Glasgow event for first time.

For the first time, Glasgow event Celtic Connections is able to apply for up to £100,000 of EXPO funding, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop confirmed.

Speaking ahead of the opening concert Ms Hyslop said:

“Since 2008, the Scottish Government EXPO Fund has supported the delivery and further expansion of Scotland’s major festivals with an investment of £21 million. The EXPO Fund has made a massive contribution in cementing Edinburgh’s reputation as a world-leading festival city.

“Celtic Connections is renowned as a world leading international music festival and to mark its 25th anniversary, to recognise its status and its power to support the development of talent internationally, I am delighted to announce that it will now be able to access the Festivals Expo fund.

“Celtic Connections will be able to apply for up to £100,000 from the 2018/19 budget to support performers from Scotland to make the most of their career opportunities.

‎”Celtic Connections has grown into one of the world’s largest winter music festivals, boosting Scotland’s culture, economy and tourism sectors. This year will see Glasgow teaming with an anticipated 30,000 music lovers over the 18 days of the festival, spreading warmth and bringing joy in these dark winter months. Of particular relevance in the Year of Young People, the festival programme also includes an award-winning educational programme as part of its commitment to fostering young talent‎.

“The Scottish Government believes that culture must be at the very heart of Scotland’s development and engagement with the world. This ethos is crucial as we develop a culture strategy for Scotland.”

Donald Shaw, Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, said:

"It’s fair to say that the real story behind the success of Celtic Connections over the last 25 years has been the transformation from a series of niche concerts into a globally recognised festival of national importance for Scotland’s musicians. The festival is constantly striving to create unique and exciting collaborations for home-grown talent to deliver a real legacy for our country’s musical landscape, while recognising the importance of engaging with outstanding talent from across the world to further enhance the acclaim for Scotland’s unique and evolving music tradition. We would like to thank the Scottish Government for giving Celtic Connections this fantastic opportunity through the EXPO fund to further expand our musical horizons and creativity, from which we hope to build on the festival’s success and reputation.’’

Sorcha Carey, Chair, Festivals Edinburgh said:

“We welcome Celtic Connections to the Expo Fund where together we support the careers of Scottish creatives by providing access to our unique international cultural platforms, networks and audiences. “

Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland, said:

“This is terrific news for Celtic Connections as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. Celtic Connections is now firmly established as the winter destination of choice not only for lovers of folk and traditional music, but also for anyone who wants to embrace culture on a global scale. This support from the Scottish Government EXPO fund will enable Celtic Connections to provide an even bigger, louder and more vibrant platform to showcase an outstanding range of work produced by Scottish artists.”

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life said:

“Celtic Connections has firmly established a reputation for bringing outstanding talent and works from all over the world to Glasgow and have a significant role in attracting visitors to Scotland. It already enjoys an enviable record of delivering programmes of extraordinary quality, innovation and creativity which can only be enhanced through access to Expo funding in the coming years. It is recognition of the tireless effort of the festival team and the artists and musicians involved that as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Celtic Connections that  in years to come, they will be able to attract funding that will add further to its global prestige.”


The Festivals EXPO Fund assessment process and funding is administered by Creative Scotland, with input from Event Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Festivals Edinburgh and City of Edinburgh Council. The 2018/19 EXPO Fund has a budget of £1.8 million for Festivals and £200,000 is provided to Festivals Edinburgh to promote and position Edinburgh as the world’s leading festival city

Currently, 11 critically acclaimed international festivals in Edinburgh are eligible to apply, which is a reduction from 12 in 2008. The inclusion of Celtic Connections brings the number back to 12 ‎eligible to apply.

In addition the Scottish Government is providing £1 million in 2018/2019 through the Platform for Creative Excellence partnership (PLACE), and Subject to future spending reviews, a further £4 million of matched funding will be made available to Edinburgh festivals over a total of five years, in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council and Festivals Edinburgh.


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