ONE of Britain’s top bands of the past 40 years, Squeeze have been announced as the latest headline act for the 2018 Wickham Festival.

The hugely-popular new wave icons will top the bill on Saturday August 4 supported by John Ilsley of Dire Straits, the Tom Robinson Band and Ferocious Dog among others.

And rock legend Steve Harley has been confirmed as the main attraction on the opening night, Thursday August 2 along with the South and the Dhol Foundation.

They join Show of Hands and Kate Rusby on Friday August 3 and folk icon Richard Thompson who closes the event on the Sunday night backed by the Undertones, the Blues Band and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

Organiser Peter Chegwyn said: “The line-up is already looking incredibly strong and advance tickets sales are reflecting that.

“We are delighted to have so many top acts signed up so far in advance. It is exciting that as our reputation grows we are getting a lot of bands approaching us and wanting to play here.

“We are thrilled that Steve Harley is back with us for a third time. With a wonderful catalogue of hits, he is always hugely popular while Squeeze are a fantastic addition to the bill.

“Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook are widely regarded as two of the finest songwriters of their generation and their energetic sets always get the crowd dancing.”

Dubbed the heirs to Lennon and McCartney, the duo have enjoyed huge chart success with such hits as Cool for Cats, Up the Junction, Tempted, Labelled with Love, Pulling Mussels from a shell… and many more.

They join Sunday headliner Richard Thompson who is acknowledged as one of the most talented guitarists of his generation; he will close the four-day event with his electric trio.

He has been described by the Los Angeles times as the “finest rock songwriter since Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix” winning the prestigious Ivor Novello award in 2011 and earning an OBE.

Equally adept on both electric and acoustic guitars, the founding member of Fairport Convention has been included in Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 20 guitarists of all-time.

Chegwyn added: “Richard Thompson is one of the most iconic musicians on the scene and someone who is regularly requested by our fans.

“His unique style and wide catalogue of songs will provide the perfect end to what we are sure will be another very successful event. We already have a very strong programme both in the Big Top and on the other stages as well as the usual entertainment and activities for children.

“Bookings are already going exceptionally well partly on the back of last year’s hugely successful event and partly on the back of our reputation for always delivering a great line-up with a fantastic family-friendly atmosphere.”

Weekend tickets are currently on sale at £130 with Under 16’s admitted half price and Under 10’s gaining free admission. A weekend camping pass is £30 and parking is free. See for more details.