Community / SMUHA Vikings take to the streets of Glasgow to mark the opening of Celtic Connections festival

Male and female Vikings from SMUHA parading through the streets of Glasgow on Saturday. All photos: Gaelle Beri

CELTIC Connections, Europe’s premier winter music festival, opened in spectacular style this weekend with a celebratory Viking torch-lit march through the streets of Glasgow, courtesy of the men and women from the South Mainland Up Helly Aa (SMUHA).

The festival is staging two specially-commissioned Shetland 550 shows to celebrate Shetland’s unique cultural history and identity 550 years on from the islands becoming part of Scotland.

Shetland Vikings welcomed audiences to Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with flaming torches, cheers and songs celebrating Up Helly Aa on Saturday night.

This year’s hybrid Celtic Connections programme spans around 60 lively in-person concerts, a number of intimate filming sessions and an exciting digital offering, with more than 500 artists involved across the festival.

More photos and reports to follow on Monday.