CELTIC Connections finally gets going next week – so here’s what to expect as the festival celebrates it 25th year as a highlight in Scotland’s musical calendar.

The festival begins on Thursday with the traditional big opening concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and this year’s theme is, unsurprisingly, its anniversary.

The gala opening features an array of artists who have graced the festival over the years and who encompass its wide-ranging and cosmopolitan outlook.

Sharon Shannon, Eddi Reader, Saltfishforty, Drever McCusker Woomble and Gyan Singh are just a few of those who will be joining in the celebrations.

The following evening the concert hall plays host to fiddler Chris Stout and harpist Catriona McKay who will be joined by string orchestra the Scottish Ensemble and Fife’s own King Creosote.

Saturday’s highlights include Ross Ainslie and The Sanctuary Band, who will be playing Ainslie’s latest album Sanctuary at the Mitchell Theatre, while the welcome return of trailblazers Croft No 5 is sure to see a lively crowd pack into Saint Luke’s.

Don’t forget that the Festival Club is on at the Art School, and there are Late Sessions being held throughout the festival at the Drygate. You never know who might turn up to play at either venue.