Blenheim’s Nocturne Festival was one the most successful year ever with 35,000 tickets sold across the series.
The festival started with David Gray performing White Ladder in its entirety plus greatest hits with very special guests James Morrison and Nerina Pallot.
For the reggae-themed Friday, the weather in Woodstock was appropriately hotter than Jamaica, bringing out the live music lovers in their thousands.
Top of the bill was UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, with Maxi Priest, Aswad and Cleveland Watkiss who presented The Great Jamaican Songbook with special guest Ayanna Witter-Johnson – creating an evening of reggae royalty.
The festival closed on Saturday with one of the most successful bands of the 1980s, the 60 million-selling, international chart-toppers Simple Minds, celebrating 40 years of hits.
Still fronted by founder members Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill their hit-studded set included Don’t You (Forget About Me), Alive And Kicking, Sanctify Yourself and Belfast Child which went down a storm with fans old and new.
They were supported by fellow Scottish pop-rockers Deacon Blue who were also big in the 80s, selling over seven million albums and notching up 14 UK Top 40 singles and two UK number one albums along the way.
They performed a career-spanning set including music from their soon-to-be-released new studio album City Of Love.
Founder of Nocturne Ciro Romano said: “This year’s Nocturne Live series was a resounding success on all fronts. We’re obviously delighted to have been back after a bit of a break but it was the performances from our artists and the incredible atmosphere that the crowds provided that really made it a magical few days.
“We sold more tickets for this year’s event than we have ever done and are really excited to start unveiling the acts for 2023 in the coming months.”
Blenheim Palace’s Nocturne Live festival has attracted world-class musicians to the Great Courtyard over the years, including Elton John and The Jackson Five.
In 2020 it did not go ahead due to concerns about the pandemic.
And in 2021 following the announcement of the Government Roadmap and consultation with artists, the rescheduled festival was again postponed.
This year superstar Lionel Richie was due to headline at the event, which was sold out, but the All Night Long singer said he would ‘hold off’ on his European tour because of the pandemic.
He also pulled out of the Isle of Wight Festival along with other UK dates.
Lionel said on social media: “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.”
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