THE arts event of the year gets under way tomorrow as the Ageas Salisbury International Arts festival takes over the city.

From bands to film and acrobats to top classical musicians from around the world, the festival has something for everyone over the next two weeks.

This year’s programme has a Nordic theme and will involve all the city’s main venues as well as many pubs, and will also feature outdoor entertainment including the opening event, Close Encounters, to be held in the Cathedral Close on Saturday.

The event will include a children’s playday, music from local groups, dishes to sample from around the world and many entertainers providing dance, comedy, short plays and activities for all.

The event will open at 2pm and finish with a fireworks display at 10pm.

* FILMS, talks and a display of stunning photographs will be on offer at Salisbury Arts Centre this week.

Images of a volcano eruption in the south of Iceland will be on display from tomorrow. Anna Maria Sigurjonsdottir’s photographs captured the eruption of the volcano, which caused a giant ash cloud in April 2010.

Sigurjonsdottir lives and works in Reykjavik, Iceland, and is known for her explorations of land both socially and geographically.

On Saturday a powerful film exploring the bond between people and horses is being shown.

Of Horses and Men is an Icelandic film with English subtitles and it sees a series of interlinked stories told with a wry sense of humour.

The film pays attention to its eccentric human cast, whose lives, deaths and sexual desires seem inextricably linked to their equine partners, even if the horses often come across as smarter.

Set in a rugged Icelandic rural community and backed by a soundtrack of traditional folk music, it aims to surprise, shock and entertain with some astonishing sequences.

The hunt for the Higgs particle will be the topic of discussion on Sunday.

Former academic turned oil industry worker Jim Baggott, inset, will be explaining the science behind the discovery, how the theory was developed and its implications.

A special screening of My Fair Lady will be held on Sunday, coinciding with two exhibitions on the work of designer Cecil Beaton in Salisbury and Wilton.

And on Sunday evening, Hilary and David Crystal will be giving a guide to the English language – from King Alfred and the Normans to Chaucer, Shakespeare and Wordsworth.

The talk unites the warriors whose invasions transformed the language with the poets, scholars and reformers who helped create its character.

Join the Crystals on a journey to discover some of the people and places that have helped to shape the English language.

* ACTOR, writer and comedian Miles Jupp is making a return to stand-up with his first live UK tour since 2012.

In this show Jupp talks about himself, you, domestic imprisonment, fatherhood, having to have opinions, hot drinks, the government, bad balance, housing, the ageing process, other people's pants and, inevitably, a number of other things.

Jupp will start off the arts festival programming at Salisbury Playhouse on Sunday.

Then next week there will be a wide variety of events on offer at the venue, with talks, shows and plenty of entertainment aimed at children.

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks will see Kristina Stephenson take the audience on Sir Charlie’s most fearsome quest in musical storytelling at its very best, with sound effects, puppets and songs and a very special Salisbury Festival exclusive – a live performance from all six Sir Charlie shows featuring local musicians.

Winter’s Tales will feature storyteller and award-winning author Lari Don, who will share her latest collection of stories and fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books and films will love The Barry Loser Show, while The Frog and the Princess offers a retelling of a classic fairytale.

For older theatre-goers there will be Great Expectations from Rabbit Theatre in the Salberg Studio, with some of Dickens’ most vibrant characters brought vividly brought to life in an anarchic and joyful telling of this glorious tale.

Square Peg’s Rime is a new circus show based on Coleridge’s epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, while the Boat and the Moon is an enchanting tale from Italian theatre company La Baracca..

And Peter Snow will visit a little known moment in US and British history when he goes back to August 1814 and the British Army defeating the Americans outside Washington. When Britain Burned the White House looks at the changing fortunes of both sides in this war.

Jonathan Meades presents An Encyclopaedia of Myself, a memoir of the author’s early years in Salisbury in the form of an encyclopaedia.

And one of Norway’s most innovative and distinctive artists, Terje Isungset will present Ice Music, featuring an array of horns and percussion instruments carved out of pure ice, including the 600-year-old Jostedal glacier in Norway.

Alongside visuals created by Anastasia Isachsen, Terje will be joined by Lena Nymark, whose crystal clear voice perfectly complements the pure songs that these ice instruments make.

* SALISBURY City Hall welcomes Romanian traditional musicians Taraf de Haidouks on Monday at the venue’s first event in this year’s arts festival programme.

The group first visited Western Europe back in 1991 and have come to epitomise Gypsy music's fabulous vitality.

They've toured relentlessly around the globe and released acclaimed albums, and their countless fans include the late Yehudi Menuhin, actor Johnny Depp and fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto, who invited them to be models/musicians for his Paris and Tokyo shows.

Despite their fame, Taraf de Haidouks retain their original musical style and will be performing infectious musical numbers that will have audiences tapping their toes.

* Tickets from the festival box office 0845 2419651 or