The time of year has arrived that everyone looks forward to. It's time for Celtic Connections! There can't be many festivals across the globe that are so looked forward to. The crowds are amazing, the folkies are employed and there are amazing parties everynight! What did we do before Celtic Connections? Everyone has an opinion on the acts booked - good or bad but the events still sell out with over 100,00 people buying tickets over 18 days. I think it is a wonder of organisation. A small team pull it all together at the same time of programming the rest of Glasgow Life's artistic content. I can't imagine programming 18 days of countless venues and bands and everything that goes with it! The festival has been good to me over the years. The believed in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award (2nd February) from the outset and still support it the hilt. I've also had countless gigs over the years. This year I'm part of The Great Gathering - Concert and Dance hosted by Alasdair MacCuish and Chris Stout (29th January, 8pm), a grand-scale Celtic Connections spin on the traditional concert-and-dance format. Performing apart from my self will be accordionist Alasdair MacCuish and Shetland fiddler Chris Stout, Solas multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan, Highland fiddler Duncan Chisholm, pipes and whistle ace Fraser Fifield, harpist Catriona McKay, guitarist Tony Byrne, top accordionists Duncan Black and Tom Orr, fiddler Marie Fielding and pianist Gordon Middler. I'm looking forward to it!