PREPARATIONS are underway at Blenheim Palace for the start of a four-day festival of live pop, soul and hip-hop next week.

Kylie Minogue, Gladys Knight, Tears for Fears and Lauryn Hill headline the Nocturne Live Festival which takes place in the Great Court of the 18th century English baroque stately home in Woodstock.

A stage, sound system, lighting rig and seating will be installed for the concerts, which get underway on Thursday with Gladys Knight, Gabrielle and the Disco Classical project featuring Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge performing with the Manchester Camerata Orchestra.

Seven-time Grammy-winning singer Knight is responsible for such hits as Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me and Midnight Train to Georgia.

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They continue next Friday with singer Lauryn Hill, with support from Laura Mvula and Mahalia. Hill, a former member of the Fugees, was one of the biggest stars of the ‘90s having hits with Ready or Not, Fu-Gee-La and a reworking of the Roberta Flack classic Killing Me Softly. She will perform a career-spanning greatest hits set featuring tracks from her multi Grammy award-winning solo album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, alongside classic Fugees songs and new material.

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Next Saturday sees Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith of electro-pop act Tears for Fears taking the stage, with support from White Lies and Scritti Politti, while Kylie brings the festival to a crowd-pleasing finale next Sunday with Sophie Ellis-Bextor and the Hackney Colliery Band.

Previous acts to have played the festival include Elton John and Van Morrison.

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