Monday 29 August 2022


CONNECT FESTIVAL managed to stand out from the crowd for its first ever appearance and prove it was no ordinary music festival. 

By mixing up the best in live music; from grassroot headliners, to up-and-comers, with everything from comedy and spoken word at the Speakeasy, culinary sensation, immaculate vibes in the ‘X Lounge’, to therapeutic treatments from leading experts in the field of Yoga, sound therapy and breathwork it proved to be a unique experience that looks forward to attending next year. 

The Connect Event Team were ecstatic at the response, with Event Manager, Katt Lingard saying: “After many months of planning, we’re so glad to have finally relaunched Connect Festival and what an incredible comeback weekend we’ve had. With a fantastic line-up of over 80 artists across six stages and thousands of incredible fans every day - it’s been special”. 

“We’ve created something truly unique at the Royal Highland Centre site. Connect is about music, discovery, experiences and memories - showcasing an eclectic line up of comedy, spoken word, wellness and grassroots talent in a dazzling collection of intimate settings. It was just as special for the artists as it was for the fans, with some of the most positive feedback we've ever heard from across the line up.

“We’re so grateful to fans for their passion and commitment to live music, allowing us to bring Connect Festival back in 2023. We’re already thinking of ways to make it even better and I’d like to thank the artists, the fans and everyone who has worked extremely hard behind the scenes to make this festival happen. I can’t wait for next year already.”

Here’s the top ten moments from this year:  


“I love these ones, the small, magical ones when we’re in each other’s laps”, Jessie Buckley proclaimed at the Tiny Changes X Gardeners Cottage, an intimate crowd, Jessie beamed with the kind of joy only a Scottish audience can induce as she broke into a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Just Like A Woman’, accompanied by Bernard Butler of Suede fame, the stars truly aligned as this duo created soul bearing folk magic. 


For those early morning Connect campers brave enough, cold water therapy got their day started off right, albeit chilly. Immersing themselves neck deep in a 6ft long steel ice bath, revellers reconnected with themselves. 


With afternoon showers pouring, TAAHLIAH made her way to the Unknown Pleasures tent. A leading figure in Glasgow and Berlin’s underground LGBT+ dance scenes’, she harnessed raw, electronica and sickly sweet hyper-pop beats to dazzle the crowd; who took no notice of the drizzle as they partied into the afternoon. 


Walking out to thunderous bass and roaring cheers, The Twilight Sad, lead singer James Graham’s signature twangy Glaswegian vocals permeated into the very heart of The Grand Parade crowd on Friday night. Accompanied by Frightened Rabbit drummer Grant Hutchinson, they dedicated their cover of ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ to anyone struggling with mental health. 


Chef Barry Bryson invited Connect fans to a special pop-up dining experience, as he masterfully took restaurant concepts and fine dining triumph to an event level - pairing classic Scottish flavours with contemporary flare - for those who enjoy the finer things, it was not to be missed as he served up apple smoked sea trout, fish cakes and locally produced strawberries and milk chocolate. 


The modest Speakeasy tent was spilling out on Sunday afternoon as comedian Troy Hawke made his debut. Strutting on stage, he was adorned in a purple silk smoking jacket, saying “Something you’ll notice about me is that I have the ability to blend in seamlessly to my environment”, admiring his attire he grins - the crowd hanging onto every word of his uniquely bonkers routine. 


You have been f*****g lovely Connect”, screamed pop sensation Self Esteem. Recently shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Prize for her acclaimed album ‘Prioritise Pleasure’, she cut across the main stage with razor sharp precision, infusing edgy choreography with powerhouse vocals and tongue in cheek lyrics - there may just be a new Pop Queen on the horizon. 


When not singing along to your favourite band, or discovering an up-and-comer sure to make their way to your playlist, Connect fans were transported into a journey of calm and personal wellness as leading expert Cat Boyle, brought her expertise, offering vinyasa yoga at the Rest & Be Thankful tent. 


Celebrated post-punk legends, IDLES served a searing, white hot energy on Connect’s opening night. In colossal fashion, the band brought their brutal post-hardcore sound and, shaking with energy, lead singer Joe Talbot commanded The Grand Parade as revellers descended into a glorious chaos of sound. 


Mid-day struck and the cryptic announcement was out, ‘Secret Set Added - 7:45pm at the Tiny Changes x Gardener’s Cottage’. Rumours swirled as alt.rock heroes, The National took to the intimate stage for a performance of cult classic’ About Today’ and ‘This Isn’t Helping’. With roaring applause, The National’s Aaron Dressner said “It’s a pleasure to support Tiny Changes… this charity is amazing and any awareness we can raise for mental health, we want to do that because we all struggle with it.” What a way to see out Connect 2022. 


Connect Festival will return in 2023 from 25th-27th August. Pre-sale is available to past buyers and those on the Connect mailing list from 9am Wednesday 31st August and general sale will commence 9am Friday 2nd September. Tickets available to purchase via WWW.CONNECTFEST.COM

Thursday 25 August 2022


Beverley Lyons 

DION Dublin revealed Celtic bosses made him get rid of his blue Volkswagen Golf and bought him a new car that was more of a neutral colour when he started playing for the Hoops. 
The Homes Under The Hammer presenter was at Edinburgh’s International TV Festival when he spoke of how he played for Celtic as a striker in 2006 after being released by his hometown club Leicester City. 
And he revealed the historic old team rivalry ended up meaning he had to change the colour of his car. 
He exclusively told “I remember signing for Celtic and I remember having a blue Volkswagen Golf turn up at the ground and the hierarchy said ‘You can’t have That!’ So they bought me a silver one. That’s a fact.”
Ex England international Dion who  even better a goal in the 3-0 CIS League Cup final victory over Dunfermline refers to his days living in Glasgow as ‘The super hoops days’.  
Now as a presenter of the property show which looks at buildings across the UK he reveals: “I lived in the Merchant City for about eight months - absolutely love it - it’s a great place. The Scottish are always great to me regardless of the team and I love coming back so thanks for having me. I’ve had lots of good memories.”
Dion who visited Scotland for the Edinburgh TV festival last month also spoke fondly of Sir Alex Ferguson who signed him to Manchester United in 1992 but admitted there were lots of rules he had to abide by under his leadership. 
Dion said: “Alex Ferguson taught me lots of stuff.  One of the main things was never have your hands in your pockets when he’s taking a meeting cause he hates that. Don’t be late, never answer him back.”
He added: “He’ll have a conversation with you, he will listen to you, he’ll take on board all the information and then you’ll do exactly what he wants you to do.”
Dion reckons it helped him with the rest of his life on and off screen. 
He said: “Listen if you do as your told and you do the job that you’ve been asked to do to the best of your ability you’ll go far and then you can start to put your own little stamp on that job as you get better at it. I’m sure the manager or the boss will allow you to do that.”
The footballer who has also spoken at length about the racism he has faced in the past also has new ambitions he’d like to realise. 
He revealed: “I would like to do something in music. I’ll leave that open. Take out the singing. There will be no singing from me. I’ve got a terrible voice. Playing, I play percussion that’s my thing. I love playing percussion. I’d love to present some kind of music show as well so sit tight you never know.”

From Scotland with Love

This article has since appeared in The Daily Record

Wednesday 24 August 2022


Beverley Lyons 
Dame Judi Dench and Craig Revel Horwood got on the fast track to make it to Edinburgh for a special edition of The Repair Shop.

Legendary actress Dame Judi and Strictly judge Craig are appearing at this year‘s Edinburgh TV festival for an entertaining edition of the hit show as it marks its fifth anniversary. 

The BBC One show sees members of the public bring their family heirlooms in need of restoring to a team of experts led by furniture restorer and host Jay Blades.

The 87-year-old, who took in a pocket watch which belonged to her late husband, actor Michael Williams to the show,  relaxed on her way from London to Scotland on the LNER line as she enjoyed doing the crossword in between having some toasted tea cake. 

Craig, 57,also enjoyed some food as he travelled on the 4pm from London yesterday. 
He took in a life-like chimp from Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Sunset Boulevard, which was given to him as an opening night present.

Jamie Michael Wells who works for LNER said: “I felt privileged and honoured to meet Dame Judie Dench. 
She is such a lovely lady who loved to chat. 

“She and Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood were up filming for The Repair Shop. 
She did mention her love for Edinburgh  I’m looking forward to seeing them on the return journey.”

Creative director of the festival Stewart Clarke said: “This is the perfect opening entertainment piece and we would like to thank everyone involved for bringing a bit of The Repair Shop magic of the barn to the TV Festival, it’s going to be an absolute must-see.”

Fans can watch the special edition of the show on the Edinburgh TV festival on the  Edinburgh TV Festival You Tube  

Wednesday 10 August 2022


FANCY winning an award as an Influencer? 

The inaugural SCOTTISH INFLUENCER AWARDS will recognise Scotland’s stars of social media, this October in Glasgow. 

 For the very first time, the country’s top influencers – and movers and shakers of the online world will be honoured for their endeavours on Sunday the 23rd of October, 2022. 

And the city’s Radisson RED will lay out the red carpet for a night of fun and frolics as  Radio 1 presenter and broadcaster Arielle Free hosts. 

 A glitzy reception will see finalists walk towards a phot wall before enjoying a glass or two of glamorous rose Whispering Angel. 

Fifteen award categories will showcase finalists in categories spanning Food, Drink, Health & Wellbeing, Family and Lifestyle, as well as Travel, Interiors & Design, Arts & Culture, Style, Beauty and Visual

And a panel of illustrious judges supported by a raft of prestigious partners will decide on who will rise to the top. 

Special recognition will be made to those influencers who define Inspiration and whose social endeavours are underpinned with a positive contribution to diversity, equality, and/or inclusivity

A headline VisitScotland: Year of Stories - Influencer of the Year category will also recognise inspirational, distinct and original storytelling anchored on one or more of the five Year of Stories themes: iconic stories and storytellers, new stories, people and places, local tales and legends, and stories inspired by nature. 

MARY MCGOWNE, Founder, Scottish Influencer Awards said: “Delighted to be launching the Scottish Influencer Awards in Glasgow in celebration with a host of prestigious partners. This is a timely opportunity to recognise the best of Scotland’s social and digital community, and the positive contribution many are making towards the country’s image and appeal at home and internationally.

Nominees will be trusted voices; independent and passionate arbiters of good taste with the power to propel valuable messaging to their highly engaged followers. From initially being on the fringe to now playing an important centre stage role in bringing stories and campaigns to life, we are pleased to be shining a spotlight on the best of Scotland’s influencer community.

We are particularly excited to be welcoming Arielle as our host. She is one of our favourite people and we are thrilled she can take the time out her busy schedule to come home for the occasion.

ARIELLE FREE, Host of the Scottish Influencer Awards added: Completely thrilled and honoured to be hosting the Scottish Influencer Awards in Glasgow.

It’s going to be an amazing way to celebrate Scotland’s most influential stars of social.

I can’t wait for October to come around when we can toast the country’s wealth of outstanding digital talent in my home town of Glasgow.

Stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland that highlight the diversity of voices across Scotland and underline responsible tourism and sustainability themes are of particular interest.

To be eligible as a potential nomineeScottish-born or Scottish-based influencers must have shared compelling, informative, original and creative content in 2022 across one or more of the award categories. 

All forms of social mediums including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, podcasts or other innovative and publicly accessible digital platforms will be considered.

 Influencers may nominate themselves or invite others to do so on their behalf through the entry form found on the official

There is no fee to nominate.

The SCOTTISH INFLUENCER AWARDS celebrations will continue in style at Radisson RED Glasgow on Sunday 23rd of October at the hot-ticket Whispering Angel Official After Party with Special Guests Illyus & Barrientos. suitably special soundtrack for this much anticipated new event in Scotland’s social calendar.

Tickets are on sale now to the Scottish Influencer Awards 2022 at £45 per person and include red carpet arrivals, Whispering Angel reception, awards ceremony with Arielle Free and Whispering Angel Official After Party with Illyus & Barrientos. Available via

Monday 8 August 2022


LORRAINE Kelly has seen a surge of fan backing to enter I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! this year at William Hill - despite previously denying she’d want to appear on the show.

Jungle fever is once again sweeping the nation as I’m a Celeb is set to air on or around Sunday 13th November, and is once again back in it’s original Australian setting.

The Scottish presenter is priced at 10-1 to enter the jungle, as fans noticed she’d rebuffed a potential Strictly appearance, yet stayed tight-lipped about swirling I’m a Celeb rumours.

Speaking on the odds of her being on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, Lorraine said “there’s more chance of me being a contestant on Love Island” - and fans are convinced that the missing mention of I’m a Celeb means she’s finally set to feature on the show. 

Lorraine was asked about I’m a Celeb at this same time last year, and was quick to halt the rumours, saying “I don’t want to eat a kangaroo bum so I’ll just watch.”

In fact, it seems Lorraine isn’t as adverse to taking on a bushtucker trial as she may have suggested, having run several I’m a Celeb-inspired mini challengers on her breakfast show.

The host also recently opened up about how difficult she was finding feeling lonely at home back in July, saying she was craving “social connection, especially after lockdown” - could she be set to make new friends in the form of her fellow Australian campmates?

Top I’m a Celeb contestants

1. Danny Dyer (4-1)
2. Denise Van Outen (6-1)
3. Nick Grimshaw (13-2)
4. Tom Daley (7-1)
5. Natalie Cassidy (7-1)

Commenting on the odds for Lorraine Kelly, Tony Kenny - William Hill spokesperson - said: “There’s a bit of a trend with some I’m a Celebrity contestants in that they’re adamant they’re not up to the challenge - just shortly before being announced as contestants on the next series. It’s not surprising then that Lorraine is amongst the most eagerly-backed this year.

“Her fans are no doubt keen to see how she’d interact with the other stars - and whether she could handle a bushtucker trial after all. Lorraine is in the ideal position to make waves on a show like that - and with Strictly well and truly ruled out, why not I’m a Celeb?”

The current frontrunners in the market are former Eastenders star Danny Dyer (4-1), who left  the soap earlier this year, and new host of The Big Breakfast, Denise Van Outen (6-1).

To see the full I’m a Celebrity market, please visit: 

Wednesday 3 August 2022


EASTENDERS Star and documentary maker Ross Kemp is returning to Scotland for hit BBC One quiz show Bridge of Lies. 

The fun series is moving to primetime for a new series featuring teams of celebrity contestants, while a second nail-biting daytime series with contestants from across the UK has also been commissioned for BBC One Daytime.

 The new celebrity episodes (8x45) will air in primetime in early 2023, while regular episodes (25x45) of the STV Studios-produced show, filmed in Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall, will follow on BBC One Daytime later in 2023.

 Ross Kemp said: “I felt sure we hadn’t seen the last of that formidable bridge! Hosting this show, with all its jeopardy, tension and hilarious moments, was one of the most enjoyable parts of my year and I’m delighted that it’s been recommissioned by the BBC.


“The Bridge of Lies is tailor-made for a celeb version so I’m looking forward to putting teams of famous faces to the test. My main tip for them? No matter who you are or what you do, the bridge makes allowances for no one!”


The first series of Bridge of Lies became the BBC’s best-performing daytime quiz show of the previous 12 months when it aired in March this year, with episodes achieving audiences of over one million.


Gary Chippington, Creative Director of Entertainment at STV Studios, said: “We were delighted by the reaction to the first series of Bridge of Lies from viewers and critics alike, and it’s fantastic that the BBC has so much faith in the format to not only commission another daytime series, but a celebrity primetime version too. We can’t wait to get back into the studio in Glasgow with the incomparable Ross Kemp later this year.”


Bridge of Lies sees teams of contestants competing for cash by crossing a bridge made up of stepping stones across the studio floor. Each stepping stone has a different option, and the players must try to get from A to B by stepping on the truths and avoiding the lies, or risk falling off the bridge and out of the game. Series two is currently looking for contestants to take part*.


BBC Commissioning Director Kate Phillips said: “Bridge of Lies was a big hit with Daytime audiences, so to bring it back for a second series and commission a primetime version is very exciting. I’m really looking forward to seeing our competitive celebrities deal with the pressure of the bridge and the pressure of being in the funny and formidable company of Ross, our superb host.” 


The first series of Bridge of Lies was commissioned by BBC Daytime as part of a competitive initiative to find innovative new quiz formats made in Scotland. Celebrity Bridge of Lies has been ordered by Kate Phillips, Commissioning Director for the BBC, while series two has been recommissioned by Lindsay Bradbury, Acting Head of Daytime & Early Peak. The Commissioning Editors are Alex McLeod and Neil McCallum.


Both series will again be produced by STV Studios, with Gary Chippington, STV Studios’ Creative Director of Entertainment, continuing to serve as Executive Producer. International format sales, outside of the US, are handled by BBC Studios Distribution.