The historic Three Choirs Festival has revealed its full programme for the 2018 festival, which takes place in and around Hereford from Saturday, July 28 to Saturday, August 4, with tickets currently available to members and booking open to the general public from Monday, April 23.

The Three Choirs Festival expects to welcome around 4-5000 visitors over the course of the week, and this year, the festival’s nominated charity is SHYPP, which works with young people at risk of homelessness in Herefordshire. Working with the festival and Herefordshire’s local music hub Encore, the SHYPP singers join three other local choirs to perform Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, bookended by two films SHYPP have developed exploring the idea of home and homelessness (July 29).

After last year’s success, the festival will continue its Festival Firsts scheme, which provides free tickets for concerts and events to local people who are first-time festival attenders. There are also numerous free events throughout the week including talks and exhibitions. The various services at the heart of the festival are also free, including the opening service on July 28.

Families are also welcome, with plenty of events for children, including an introduction to the wind quintet with the Magnard Ensemble, a dark retelling of Hansel and Gretel performed by the Goldfield Ensemble for teens and adults, shadow puppet storytelling with string quartet, and drama, drumming and puppetry workshops.

Artistic Director Geraint Bowen has taken notable centenaries as a starting point for his programming, including the 1918 passing of the Representation of the People Act, which signalled the start of universal suffrage in the UK. The festival celebrates this anniversary by programming works by female composers, such as Ethel Smyth, herself a prominent member of the suffragette movement, whose magnificent Mass in D opens the festival along with John Ireland’s These things shall be (28 July). In the annual concert of orchestral music, the festival’s orchestra-in-residence since 2012, the Philharmonia Orchestra, will pair Holst’s famous work The Planets 100 years after its first performance with two new works by contemporary female composers Hannah Kendall and Helen Grime.

The festival also reflects on the centenary of the end of the First World War with a concert by renowned vocal ensemble Tenebrae (July 30), featuring music by several composers with a strong connection to the Three Choirs Festival such as Herbert Howells, Ivor Gurney, Sir Hubert Parry, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and more recently Torsten Rasch.

In the late-night series, another Hereford cathedral ex-chorister, Liam Dunachie, returns with his organ trio to perform jazz standards as well as his own compositions (July 28), and local talent is also represented by the Lay Clerks of Hereford Cathedral, who present an evening of light entertainment which is always a favourite of the festival programme (29 July).

The festival brings its cycle of Mendelssohn’s major choral works to a conclusion with his Lobgesang, paired with Bruckner’s mighty Te Deum (1 August), and the Three Cathedral Choirs of Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester join forces with an outstanding cast of young soloists and period instrumentalists Brecon Baroque for a performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers (July 31)).

To book, call 01452 768928 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday. A local ticket office will open in Hereford Cathedral School on Monday, July 23.