WHISPER it quietly but there’s a pretty impressive music scene developing in Blackburn.

On Saturday, some of the country’s up-and-coming bands rocked the former Cotton Exchange as the Confessional Festival made a triumphant return after a Covid enforced absence last year

And before that, the Electric Church housed the first of two showcase events for students of MMT - McNally Music Tuition.

Students had twice seen their big night postponed during the summer due to on-going lockdown restrictions but after finally being given the chance to take to the stage they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Headliners Free From the Wilde were officially releasing their debut single Fire in My Bones, the first release from MMT’s own record label.

And they more than lived up to their top billing, with a set of original material displaying a swagger and confidence which belied the fact they are only in their teens.

An encore of Kim Wilde’s Kids in America had the whole audience singing along. Just watch out for their name - a guest slot at Confessional further added to their reputation.

All the bands taking part had been carefully put together by MMT and devoted many hours at the Sunday sessions to prepare for this, the first of two showcases - the second on Friday is also sold out.

There was something special about seeing Voodoo playing their first ever gig and choosing classic songs which were older than the band’s total age.

One Voice Blackburn and then the expreienced Missguided, for whom this would be a final performance, brought their own spark to the showcase.

Then it was the turn of Red Right Hands - MMT’s first band of adult students - and making their gig debut who threatened to take the roof off with a powerful set of covers.

The whole night was one packed with energy and enjoyment matched with no little talent. Every credit for MMT for providing a stage on which this talent could really shine. Roll on Friday!