A HISTORIC Blackburn town centre building which once welcomed the likes of Charles Dickens and Houdini is to stage a one-day music festival.
Confessional, which will feature some of the country’s most up-and-coming bands, is to take over the Grade-II listed Exchange building on King William Street in September.
Pete Eastwood, who with his team has previously staged Confessional events at Holy Trinity Church, described this year’s event as “extremely exciting”.
He said: “Confessional has always been about giving people locally the chance to see bands which are on their way up without having to travel to the likes of Manchester and Liverpool.
“Each festival is unique and to be able to stage it at the Exchange is a tremendous opportunity and also a great challenge”
Last year’s Confessional had to be postponed due to the pandemic and Pete acknowledges that without a grant from Arts Council England this year’s event could not have gone ahead.
“We are so grateful, without their continued support this would not be happening.”
The line-up will include headliners The Orielles and performances from the likes of The Lounge Society, Peaness and Avalanche Party plus DJs and performance artists. Kicking off the event will be Free From the Wilde, a band made up of students from McNally’s Music Tuition in Blackburn.
This will be the fifith Confessional festival and each year has had a different theme. For September the Exchange will be transformed with an Alice in Wonderland theme.
Around 450 tickets are available for the venue on the first floor of the former cinema.
“I used to go in there as a kid when it was Unit Four,” said Pete. “I never dreamed I’d be putting on a festival in there. But it’s such a special building. The windows date to the 1920s and they’ll look magnificent once my lighting guy gets to work.
“We are only a small team but we will make this special.
“Normally we’d have eight months to sell tickets but now we’ve just got eight weeks but I hope that music fans have come to trust what we do and will support us.”
Originally opened in 1865, the town’s Cotton Exchange would host a series of performances and events. Charles Dickens visited in 1869 when he read from A Christmas Carol.
* Confessional will be held on Saturday, September 11. Details from www.Confessionalfestival.com