A HOST of stars will be on show at this year's Wirral International Guitar Festival.

Joan Armatrading will open the festival as part of her first and last solo world tour.

The three-times Grammy nominated, Brit award nominee and Ivor Novella winning singer-songwriter will be at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton on November 7.

The ever-popular Joe Brown is also making a return appearance.

Ending on November 30, the three-week showcase features classical, folk, jazz, blues and rock music - showing the versatility and prowess of the guitar casts illumination and beauty as well as power and emotion.

As well as Joan some of the finest guitarists currently on the scene will be taking part including Rick Vito, Raul Midon and Craig Ogden.

A festival spokesman said: "We are delighted that Joan will be playing a solo concert for us and know that this will be a highlight of the musical year for Wirral audiences.

"Return visits from Joe Brown, Paul Carrack, Andy Fairweather Low, Deaf School, Go West, China Crisis, Martin Simpson and Woody Mann make this one of the finest music festivals anywhere in Britain."

Looking ahead to her show, West Indian-born Joan told the Globe in an interview earlier this year: "I will never retire, but this will be the last major tour that I will undertake.

"I've been touring since 1976 and they can be very long tours, sometimes lasting 18 months. I just decided that I wanted to go do something different this time.

"It will just be me playing the guitar, piano and singing. There will be no backing musicians. I’ll be 65 when this tour ends. I want these concerts to be a special lively interactive one to one experience."

In a career spanning 42 years, Joan has released 20 albums, including Show Some Emotion and Me, Myself, I.

She also provided backing vocals on Queen's 1986 album, A Kind Of Magic, featuring on the track Don’t Lose Your Head. Her many hits include Love and Affection, Willow, Drop The Pilot and Me, Myself I.

In 2005, she was awarded the MBE for services to music. For her last tour she has decided it is the perfect time to perform her first ever full-scale solo concerts.

Looking back on her career, Joan said: "I want people to be inspired by my music. People get engaged, using my music as a backdrop. I find it an honour to be able to have played a part in their lives.

"I've also heard from fans who say my songs have mirrored situations in their own lives. The Weakness In Me is among those inspirational songs."

Full details or book tickets are available from www.bestguitarfest.com or the box office on 0151 666 0000.