The annual Celtic Connections festival, which was due to take in place in Glasgow from January 20th – February 6th, looks set to be hit by cancellations of much of its 2022 programme.
The rise of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid – which saw many high profile shows before Christmas including sets by Amy MacDonald and Deacon Blue, as well as Edinburgh’s New Year celebrations – has also seen King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution series among smaller shows to also be affected.
As ever, a wide-ranging selection of acts had been lined up, including Amadou & Mariam, Astrid, Bernard Butler, Bob Mould, Capercaillie, Dumb Instrument, Efterklang, Field Music, Kathryn Joseph, Lloyd Cole, Mull Historical Society, Stina Marie Claire, Norman Blake, Roddy Woomble, Teddy Thompson, and The Twilight Sad, but many of these have already been cancelled.
The latest restrictions limit audience numbers for indoor events to just 200 for all-seater shows and 100 for standing events, which, along with one-metre distancing, means that shows ranging from larger arena events to smaller intimate club gigs are impossible to stage.
Celtic Connections‘ 18-day programme should have seen more than 1,000 musicians take part in the 29th edition of the event, but instead, the organisers said that they were encouraging all artists impacted to apply to the Creative Scotland COVID-19 Cancellation Fund for Creative Freelancers to help with financial support.
However, it is unclear how badly the festival will be affected, as the audience restrictions are to remain in place until 17 January 17th – three days before the opening concert – at which point they will be reassessed. In 2021 the live lineup was decimated, but the online version sold more than 27,000 tickets to music fans in more than 60 countries, viewing 10.5 million minutes of musical entertainment over its 19-day programme.
Similarly, King Tut’s has suspended the first part of New Year’s Revolution – which should have featured shows by Bemz, Dancing on Tables, and Club Beirut – and instead given the festival a start date of January 19th, meaning that Kardo, Joshua Grant, and Hamish Hawk will still take place – at time of writing.