THE search to find East Lancashire’s most talented musicians has begun in earnest.

In association with the Lancashire Telegraph, Reidy’s Music Superstore is offering a prize of £1,000 of equipment for the winner of the inuagural talent contest.

Four heats will be held at King George’s Hall, Blackburn, every Thursday night in February with a panel of judges selecting the acts to go through to a grand final on March 7.

But this week, the first auditions were held for singers and bands who have entered the competition.

Reidy’s Music Superstore on Nab Lane, Blackburn, is hosting all the auditions which continue into the middle of next week.

Seventy entrants are being auditioned – 34 bands, 14 duos and 22 solo artists – from 6pm tonight, tomorrow and from Monday to Wednesday next week.

Paul Nuttall, managing director of Reidy’s said: “Our new superstore came alive with music with the auditions and the quality of the musicianship was been truly outstanding.

“This competition is all about the music and the high standard of performances, staging and production helped create an incredible atmosphere that transformed the store from music shop to music venue.

“I was very proud and delighted that I could continue my grandfather’s tradition of staging live music as he did in the 1930s in association with King George’s Hall when he held band competitions as we are doing now.

If the first live auditions are anything to go by, then we most definitely have some of the country’s best musical talents here in East Lancashire and the remaining live auditions this week and next, plus February heats and live final on March 7 at Blakey’s, are not to be missed.”

The auditions are free to watch and the results of who is through to the heats will be announced in the Lancashire Telegraph once the auditions are complete.

But such has been the standard of entries that the organisers have decided to hold ‘wild card’ draws before each of the four heats.

Any artist or band who doesn’t make it through from the audition can register on the night of the heat to be included into the wild card draw.

If they are drawn from the hat on the night they will then take part in the heat and be in with a chance of making the grand final.

The competition has been open to musicians from across East Lancashire.

Cover and tribute bands have not been allowed nor have singers using backing tapes, making it a search for true musical talent.

Genres including folk, rock, jazz and classical are all represented in the entries.

Tickets for the heats are available from King George’s Hall on 0844 947 1664.