Icons To Light Up Nocturne Festival

Round & About

Nocturne Live

With 2023 coming to a close, it’s about time we started looking to next year and the fun we can have once the sun returns.

A surefire hit for music fans is Nocturne Festival with runs from 12th – 16th June at Blenheim Palace. The festival began in 2015 and has played host to music royalty over the years with the likes of Elton John, Kylie, Van Morrison, and Nile Rodgers gracing the stage over the years. With some of the headliners only recently announced we have to say we’re really excited about these shows..

Music legend and pop culture icon Chaka Khan will be performing on June 13th. The 10-time Grammy winner, who is touring in celebration of both her 70th birthday and 50th year in music, will be joined by disco legends Sister Sledge and party-starting funk group The Fatback Band.

Three era-defining British pop acts – Sugababes, Melanie C and Shaznay Lewis hit the stage on June 15th.

Sugababes are one of the most successful British girl bands of all time with six number one singles, multiple platinum selling albums, and numerous awards to their name. Since reforming in 2022 with their original 1998 line up of Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan, and Siobhan Donaghy, Sugababes have played at Glastonbury and performed live to over half a million fans.

Melanie C needs no introduction, surely. But just in case…she was in the Spice Girls and was known as the slightly less formal Sporty Spice, or Mel C. Melanie, is far fitting for the auspices of Blenheim Palace, isn’t it? As a solo artist she has over 3 million album sales, two number 1 singles, and six top 10 singles to her name.

Shaznay Lewis was in All Saints.

Sugababes are apparently jazzed to be taking part in this year’s festival, saying, “We are excited to be performing next year at the stunning setting of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. To get to play alongside our friends Mel and Shaznay is going to make the evening even more special.”

The third date to be announced features Crowded House, Sheryl Crow and Turin Brakes. This show, on 16th June, has all but sold out, with just a few VIP tickets remaining. So, if you have a quid knocking about and fancy a unique dining experience in the State Rooms of Blenheim Palace, followed by Crowded House, head to the Nocturne Live website. You may be required to rattle your jewellery during Weather With You.

Tickets for all events are available here.

Tunde Baiyewu on playing Blenheim live

Liz Nicholls

Nocturne Live

The Lighthouse Family’s Tunde Baiyewu chats to Liz Nicholls ahead of playing as part of the Nocturne Live series at Blenheim Palace with Gregory Porter & Emeli Sandé in June.

Q. Hi Tunde! Are you looking forward to playing at Blenheim?

“Hello. Yes, I am. I haven’t been to Blenheim. A few years before the pandemic we had been asked to play the palace but everything went topsy turvy. I’m chuffed that it’s happening now. You usually look on from the sidelines with these kind of events. It’s an amazing venue so I feel blessed.

This date comes in the middle of my tour which starts 26th May in Cardiff, goes on to 24th June. I’m a fan of Gregory Porter as well as Emeli Sandé so I’m going to be enjoying it as much as any other member of the audience.”

Q. How do you take care of that wonderful voice?

“I’m very quiet on the day of the show. A couple of hours before a show I say almost nothing – but partly that’s nerves! I resort to a lot of ginger, lemon and honey drinks. You know what it’s like, we Africans sometimes get overexcited. You know those situations in a bar or a club with your friends and everyone’s trying to talk over the music? You think you’re whispering but you don’t realise you’re shouting over the din, and find out when you’ve left. The next day you’re hoarse. So I won’t be raising my voice at all.”

Q. What’s your first memory of music?

“Well, I was born in London but when I was about five my mum took my sister and I back to Nigeria because my biological father died. She had to relocate to Lagos. Back then my mum, in her infinite wisdom, decided the best thing to keep me out of trouble was to enrol me in the church choir, singing lots of hymns. Then you’d be back to terra firma, you’d do some naughty things and then you’d go back to church on Sunday!

I never really could get my head round the idea that people wrote those hymns. I used to think as a kid, oh these songs are wonderful but nobody created them, they just existed. They’re just there and they help us feel good. In Nigeria growing up Michael Jackson was on the radio a lot, and James Taylor was very big and I love a lot of his stuff. So when I went up to Newcastle with Paul [Tucker] after college we were always going to nightclubs and listening to music, that sort of scene. Always liked buying records cheap – I had a lot of R&B, hip hop on vinyl. When I realised people wrote those hymns, that inspired me. A lot of the Lighthouse Family songs definitely have a spiritual connotation to them. That’s where they come from, but in a modern way – not a Kumbaya sort of way – songs that were like sitting with someone having a meaningful chat about life & love & spiritually – those were the sort of conversations we’d be having in the studio, Paul and myself.”

Want to keep reading?

Download the FREE Round & About App to view the full article.

For Android

Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace

Liz Nicholls

Nocturne Live

Blenheim beauty is the backdrop for Nocturne Live stars. Singer/songwriter Mick Hucknall chats about being back on the road performing as Simply Red get set to star at Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace on 15th June

“What I’m most looking forward to about going back on tour is the audience because I think all of us have been through so much,” says Mick. “Some of us have lost family and friends, which is clearly a very emotional thing, and I just want to be a reassuring figure to the audience that we’re here, you know, entertaining them with the music they clearly love because they’re at the shows.

“The other part of it is that there’s great camaraderie between the band and I’ve missed them and very much look forward to being on a stage. And I know that we’re all gonna be really proud and thrilled to be performing to the audience.”

Q. Is there anything you don’t like about being on tour? “Well, you know, maybe three years ago I would have said yes, but I’m now saying there’s nothing, because I’m actually quite thankful to just even be on tour.”

Q. Without being able to perform over lockdowns, what has helped you cope? “Well, during the pandemic I’ve been lucky enough to have a family and we’ve been in it together, and we’ve had to deal with it like every other family has. I feel particularly for those people that don’t have a family, who have been on their own throughout this time. And again, that’s one of the beautiful things about being on the road is that you can actually be part of their family by having them come to the show and share the experience. The other thing I’ve been doing in the pandemic is writing songs, so that’s been a very positive experience and I’m hoping to share some of that music with you when the time is right, in the autumn I would think.”

Q. What can the fans expect from the tour? “Well, I want to effectively give the fans what they want. We’re gonna perform our ‘best of’, we’re gonna perform the biggest songs of our career and some familiar album tracks from over the years, but it’s just gonna be a real review of the story of Simply Red from 1985 to now, and we hope to give you the big hits.”

Q. Do you have a favourite song to perform and why? “I guess I have to say the favourite song to perform will always be Holding Back The Years. It’s just such a key song on so many levels. But then again there are others. Stars is always a favourite to perform. But always I think, for everybody, Holding Back The Years, it’s the first major song I ever wrote, and it’s something that will always be played.”

Simply Red join headliners Lionel Richie, Simple Minds, UB40 featuring Ali and Astro, and David Gray (celebrating the 20th anniversary of his seminal album White Ladder) on the line-up for the popular concert series, which will run across five nights from Wednesday June 15th to Sunday June 19th 2022.

Support acts for next summer’s event include the likes of Macy Gray, Deacon Blue, Brand New Heavies, Nerina Pallot, Jimmy Cliff, Aswad and James Morrison (full details below). Tickets, along with a limited number of VIP packages – which provide an exclusive opportunity to dine in the State Rooms of Blenheim Palace – are available from www.nocturnelive.com.

Tell us your local news here