THE founding artistic director of Scotland's annual folk and Celtic music festival, Colin Hynd, will no longer run the event.

The dramatic move follows a number of difficulties with this year's festival, including the cancellation of the opening concert. Mr Hynd, who has been in charge of Celtic Connections in Glasgow since its inception 13 years ago, has been moved to other responsibilities within Glasgow Cultural Enterprises (GCE), which runs the event.

The festival is now looking for a "guest artistic director" for the 2007 festival, and its organisers want to "refresh and reenergise" the festival for the future.

Louise Mitchell, the director of GCE, said the move was part of a long-term strategy to revitalise the festival, which every year brings thousands of music fans to Glasgow to listen to traditional music and song.

However, she admitted that the "local difficulties" at this year's event had occurred and added: "This is not what Colin would have chosen but he has taken the change very well, and heknew the festival needed to be enhanced in the future and this is a good chance to refresh and renew the event.

"We are now looking for an artistic director for 2007 although it may well be a collection of people that we know from the artistic community who could be involved.

"We want to take a fresh look at the festival and move it on as an event."

Mr Hynd, whose title at GCE is arts and programming manager, will now be involved in a series of new initiatives, including jazz concerts and the running of the recently reopened Fruitmarket venue in the Merchant City area of the city.

This year's festival began with the cancellation of its opening concert featuring La Fura dels Baus, a Catalan theatrical group, and Carlos Nunez, the Spanish champion of Celtic music, due to "technical difficulties". Around 1400 tickets had to be refunded.

The programme also advertised a concert by Barbara Dickson and Isla St Clair that did not occur.

Deacon Blue, one of Scotland's most popular rock bands, was also advertised in the festival brochure but was not booked, and did not play.

Mr Hynd was unavailable for interview yesterday but GCE did release a statement from him which said: "Celtic Connections is something I'm very proud to have been a part of.

"Over the last 13 years the festival has, I believe, become part of Scotland's culture. Personally I'm looking forward to the challenge of moving into new areas and re-energising aspects of our artistic programme across all GCE's venues."

At the time, Mr Hynd said he had been devastated by the cancellations.

Despite its problems, the festival this year still attracted more than 100,000 people. More than 1500 artists played at more than 300 events in the eight venues across Glasgow.

However, Ms Mitchell said: "The festival needs a refreshment and we have been looking at this issue for the best part of a year, thinking and talking about what we can do.

"This is a successful and popular festival, but it has no full-time staff and a turnover of around GBP1m a year: we need to take a look at how it is run, and we needed, not in a punitive way, to look at what we were doing with Celtic Connections."

Ms Mitchell admitted that changing the timing of the festival - in mid-January - had been considered but GCE will stick with its place in the calendar, and the 2007 festival will begin on January 17.