Celtic Connections 1999 saw the return of the legendary Danny Kyle Open Stage. During the 18 days of the festival, every afternoon from 5 to 7.30 p.m. was dedicated to Danny, with many new performers getting the chance to presnet their music to a friendly and interested audience. And it is planned to extend the Danny Kyle Open Stage on all the festivals Danny has been involved in.
"Pee nickle Poo nickle a' roon the toon it's heard, Pee nickle Poo nickle, music o' the loom..." When you heard Danny Kyle singing these verses, you knew that Danny Kyle's Open Stage was not far. Every afternoon during Celtic Connections, at 5 p.m. this song (from his new CD) marked the start of the Open Stage; and was also the farewell after the show, to stay as an ear-wig in any festival-goers ear.
Last year, Danny had the first time his Open Stage on Celtic Connections, and it had been a huge success. This year, the success of last year's Open Stage continued as a legacy of the man himself. His good ol' friend Gibb Todd has taken over the job, continuing to run the shop as Danny would have done. Gibb is a weel-kent face at Celtic Connections, as he has been the main-man at the Festival Club since year one. And yes, Gibb has done a great job, and he can be congratulated for having run the Open Stage in a real Danny Kyle manner.
Danny's Open Stages gave many performers the first-ever possibility to play in front of an audience, and in front of a microphone. Others profited from the attention of people in the music business in the audience, or just profited from the encouragement Danny gave. And these possibilities will be the concept of the future Danny Kyle Open Stages.
Danny Kyle's Open Stage is open for new and non-professional performers. Anyone can get up and have a go at 'stardom'. And he may make his fortune with this stage appearance as last year Colin Reid showed.
Danny and his open stage opened doors for this young guitarist from Belfast: Last year he was requested several times back to play at the Open Stage and also in the Festival Club. This year, he played a main event of Celtic Connections, supporting the John Cale Trio at the Main Auditorium of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Also, he has just produced his debut album, recorded by no other than Paisley man Tony McManus.
Hopefully, successes like this will become the rule in the future of Danny Kyle's Open Stages.
To mark the importance of this whole business, and to add another dimension in the memory of Danny Kyle, the six best performers received a 'Danny' as awards, a 'Danny'. These six musicians played a big showcase gig on the final day of the festival, before an audience that included festival organisers, promoters and others from the music business.
Patrons of Danny Kyle's Open Stage are now Danny's daughter and son, who at the finale of the Open Stage held a little and funny speech with one great message. They announced to introduce or continue a Danny Kyle's Open Stage at every festival in Scotland that Danny was involved in.
In the end, son and daughter sang Danny's game-version of 'My Bonnie is over the Ocean', with the audience having to get up or down with every word that starts with a 'B' - very funny. Everybody in the audience smiled thinking of the great wee guy.
And we can be sure that Danny, while holding forth with a song or a pun, looked proudly and happily down to his Open Stage, thinking that this was just like he would have done it all.
Without doubt, this is just the right, worthy memorial to the wee man who did more than most to encourage people to get up and have a go.
Photo Credit: Photos by The Mollis
Top: Danny with Brian McNeill in Tønder 1997
Bottom: Danny's son and daughter singing 'My Bonnie is over the Ocean' at Celtic Connections.
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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 2/99
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