‘THE ‘Empress of Soul’ Gladys Knight and 70s legends Sister Sledge launched the weekend’s Nocturne Live festival at Blenheim Palace last night with a spectacular night of pop and disco.

The Americans provided a rousing start to the four-day event in a show which also saw a set by singer Gabrielle.

The crowd, enjoying the evening sunshine in the palace’s Great Court, took to their feet to dance to club classics by the likes of Nile Rodgers and the Jacksons, performed by the Disco Classical project, featuring Sister Sledge’s Kathy Sledge and the Manchester Camerata Orchestra.

The show culminated in a spectacular firework display over the palace.

Earlier Ms Knight treated the crowd to a selection of her hits including Midnight Train to Georgia, I Heard It Through the Grapevine and the James Bond theme License to Kill. She also shared a message of peace and hope and showed her appreciation to her cheering fans, saying: “We just love you like that!”

Read more: Sister Sledge invite us all to palace disco ball

The festival continues tonight with a show by Fugees star Lauryn Hill who will perform tunes from her hit album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. She will be joined by singer Laura Mvula.

Eighties electro-pop band Tears for Fears headline tomorrow and Kylie brings proceedings to a close on Sunday with support from Groovejet star Sophie Ellis Bextor.

Tickets for tonight and tomorrow's shows are still available from nocturnelive.com