With people typically coming from all over to perform and to listen, music festivals can be all about making connections—artists make connections with audiences through their performance, they make connections with each other hanging out and playing music together, and each listener makes their own connection to the music itself. This year, we’ll be making some of those connections differently. First, we’ll connect with past Artist in Residence, Juno Award winning singer-songwriter James Keelaghan. With an uncanny knack for finding incredible stories and turning them into finely-crafted songs, he develops an intimate rapport with audiences through his stories and sense of humour. Accompanied by Hugh McMillan on bass and cittern, James will join us from his neck of the woods in Ontario. Manx band Mec Lir certainly made a connection with Celtic Colours audiences when they performed at the Festival back in 2015 and 2016. Blending Celtic trad tunes with modern backing, the lively four-piece band had audiences on their feet wherever they played with their infectious brand of “trad pop”. While International border restrictions have prevented them from an in-person performance, we’re excited to have them join us digitally tonight from their homes in Scotland and Isle of Man. And we’ll wrap up the show right here at home with a performance by last year’s Artist in Residence, Beòlach. Since coming together for a late-night session during the Festival more than 20 years ago, the band has delighted audiences throughout the world with their original compositions and unique arrangements of traditional tunes.