THE final preparations are being made for a history-making festival which showcases some of the brightest new talent on the live music scene.

There are just three days to go until Confessional 2023, held in the Grade II-listed former Cotton Exchange in Blackburn.

This year’s event will be held on Friday and Saturday and organisers say that it promises to be the best festival yet.

Pete Eastwood, the driving force behind event, said: “This will be our seventh Confessional and the whole team is so excited about what we have in store. I am so proud of the line-up which fulfils our aim of bringing some of the most talked about up-and-coming bands and artists to Blackburn.

“The chances are that in 12 months time, many of of the bands and performers who play Confessional will be playing some major venues around the country.”

This year a two-day ticket has been introduced and prices have been kept low in recognition of the current economic climate.

“We were very conscious about the difficulties so many people are having due to rising prices,” said Pete. “The aim has always been to make Confessional affordable to music lovers and we have deliberately kept ticket prices as low as we can.”

A Friday ticket is £10 and a Saturday ticket £20 with a two-day ticket £25.

“You would pay £15 or £20 just to see many of the bands in the line-up in their own right when they play shows in Manchester,” said Pete, “ so to have the opportunity to put them all on the same bill, right here in Blackburn for just £25 is something I am immensely proud of.”

Friday’s line-up features sci-i inspired rockers Calva Louise, Scottish soul artist Brooke Combe, Halifax based indie-pop band Wax Tree Cast, Nottingham rockers-on-the-rise Cumcamaras and Accrington’s The Rafters.

On Saturday - in keeping with the festival’s Urban Junkyard theme - the headliners are The Incredible Seven Hip Hop & R&B Band.

“This year is also the 50th anniversary of hip hop,” said Pete, “so we will be having street art and street dancers as part of the festival and we’re also pushing the themes of sustainability and recycling.”

Saturday’s line-up also features Rianne Downey and her band, fresh from performing with Paul Heaton at the recent TRNSMT festival in Glasgow; Abie Ozard; Blackburn band Strawberry Lemonade playing their first major home town gig after creating a stir on the Manchester music scene and Jacob Reddy who played Glastonbury this summer.

“There is a very diverse line-up,” said Pete, “but every band and every artist has been carefully selected.

“Confessional takes up a great deal of my year and we are only a small team putting the whole thing together. But we are committed to making it better each year and now with just over a week to go we can’t wait to welcome everyone to the Exchange.

“We don’t want to disappoint anyone but we do have a very strict limit on numbers so if you are thinking of coming, I’d urge you to get your tickets in advance rather than leaving it to chance on the day.”

Confessional has been supported by the Arts Council and remains the only festival to have been held in The Exchange in its nearly 160 year history.

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