There's one week to go until the Nocturne Festival with headliners Simply Red plus special guests The Brand New Heavies playing the first of five nights of music at Blenheim Palace.

They join David Gray, UB40 and Simple Minds to complete the line up.

Blenheim Palace’s Nocturne Live festival has attracted world-class musicians to the Great Courtyard over the years, including Elton John and Jamie Cullum.

In 2020 it did not go ahead due to concerns about the pandemic.

In 2021 following the announcement of the Government Roadmap and consultation with artists, the rescheduled festival was again postponed.

Oxford Mail:

Superstar Lionel Richie had been due to play but has cancelled his 2022 ‘Hello’ summer tour dates, including his scheduled sold-out appearance at the palace.

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The Dancing On the Ceiling singer said: “As Covid and its variants continue to impact the world, I have decided to hold off on my European tour this summer.

"The most important thing to me is the health of my fans, band and crew. I hope you all understand and I hope to see you very soon when we can all gather safely.”

His support artist Macy Gray will not appear either but all other Nocturne Live shows will be proceeding as scheduled.

The festival starts on Thursday June 16 with David Gray performing White Ladder in its entirety plus greatest hits with very special guests James Morrison and Nerina Pallot.

On Friday June 17 top of the bill is UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, with Maxi Priest, Aswad and Cleveland Watkiss.

Oxford Mail:

Ali Campbell and UB40 made the decision to go ahead with their performance despite the death of long-time band member Astro from a short illness in November 2021.

But Jimmy Cliff was unfortunately no longer able to take part.

However, the legendary Maxi Priest stepped in alongside Cleveland Watkiss who will present The Great Jamaican Songbook with special guest Ayanna Witter-Johnson - creating an evening of reggae royalty.

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The festival will close on Saturday with headline act Simple Minds, celebrating 40 years of hits, Deacon Blue and Caezar.

In 2017, legendary Motown came to Nocturne when a crowd of 9,000 music lovers danced along to The Jacksons, for the finale of Blenheim Palace's Nocturne festival.

Special guests were Kool & The Gang who performed the hits which defined the sound of the disco era, including Get Down On It, Celebration, Ladies Night and Jungle Boogie.

On the Saturday night there was a night of jazz and soul with Jamie Cullum, Gregory Porter and Corinne Bailey Rae.