A moment’s déjà vu as we publish our new Glasgow Music Tour. It’s almost exactly four years since we launched the first version of the audio tour in King Tut’s during Celtic Connections 2012 on a night when snow threatened and Yang Guang the male panda at Edinburgh Zoo was trending on Twitter.  There’s less cuddly competition in cyberspace this year but the city is busier than ever. 

Download the new Glasgow Music Tour from the excellent GuidiGO audio tour platform. Look for our special offer if you are lucky enough to have booked a place on the sell-out Merchant City Trad Trail. And, if not, keep eyes open for our gift to Celtic Connections 2016 in key festival venues of the city.

Although Glasgow Music Tour is not exclusively about the festival, many of the places and people we visit are important focal points of Celtic Connections.

Places like Old Fruitmarket and the Scotia and Clutha music bars are well-known favourites of the festival scene. But there are other vital sources of traditional music a little further off the beaten track – like MacSorleys in Jamaica Street,  Ben Nevis in Finnieston and the National Piping Centre in Cowcaddens (not far from the Theatre Royal which features on Glasgow Corners, one of our architectural tours and is also a festival venue).

The River Clyde itself echoes with the music that has come and gone with travellers over the century. And there are intriguing tales of the original Riverside Club which promised (or threatened) ceilidh nights of ‘blood, sweat and reels.’

So Walking Heads are delighted to contribute our gift to Celtic Connections 2016, a special offer – a free download of the Glasgow Music Tour app for smartphone and tablet – for our friends at Glasgow Music City Tour who are producing their own sell-out event on this year’s programme: the Merchant City Trad Trail which leads from City Halls to the Scotia Bar (with the help of a dram or two, we’re told) via the wonderfully restored Clutha Bar.

Trad Trail and Glasgow Music City Tour guide is music journalist Fiona Shepherd who gives intriguing insight into the history of the festival, and its roots in Glasgow’s unique music heritage. Not to mention some lovely juicy gossip of stars of the show (listen out for Barbara Dickson!) which we thoroughly enjoyed on a sneek preview of the show. “I’m a Celt,’ Sir Tom Jones is proud to declare, adding, “At least, I think that’s what they said.” (And there’s lots more like that.)


Dramatic image of Hydro with Finnieston Crane in the background against a rising sun

A new dawn on the Clyde Photo Stevie Brown, Creative Commons

The Walking Heads Glasgow Music Tour, led by Scottish new music guru and DJ Jim Gellatly, now covers 39 stops and stretches across well over five miles. We don’t suggest for one moment that you try to do it all at once – though it’s great exercise and has a soundtrack to keep you moving! But there’s a logic to the order of the stops so you could take a wander across the river to the O2 Academy, head downstream to the SSE Hydro or plunge into the city centre for King Tut’s.

And if you can’t actually get to Glasgow, the new GuidiGO Streetview and browser function lets you explore the city’s music scene through images and audio from the comfort of home or office (during January that can be an attractive option.)

It’s an extraordinary music story and we are very proud to be part of it, with help from many artists, producers and DJs. We’ll be updating this blog with audio extracts from some truly remarkable tales which simply have to be shared. Look out for Tennent’s George Kyle on T in the Park, T Break and the very inventive DIY music festival that was known as Tennent’s Mutual. That’s at Wellpark Brewery (next to Drygate, another vibrant new hotspot of the Celtic Connections scene), where George describes the evolution of new music in Scotland, from indy hideouts to the glare of the international stage.

What’s next on Glasgow Music Tour? Plenty! We know we are nowhere near finished yet. In fact, as Jim Gellatly told the BBC Good Morning Scotland four years ago: “This tour will never be complete, we will never finish telling the story of Glasgow’s music”. To be continued!

Thanks to Cryptic for feature image by Alex Woodward showing Treacherous Orchestra at Sound to Sea Nautical Extravaganza