By Rikki Doolan
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14 acts, one weekend, Middlesbrough town centre, completely free (before 9) in Middlesbrough's new, exciting music venue Mink Bar. Acts include Liverpool's best new band, a fast rising Folk act from Cambridge, Sweden's most exciting acoustic act, and some of Middlesbrough's most talented performers. This upcoming festivalesque weekend of entertainment starts on Thursday 31st Jan and closes on Sunday 3rd Feb.
The opening night is on Thursday and it hosts the return of popular 'one night only' talent competition 'Scouting For Mink'. Described as one night only because there is no heats involved, the winner is announced on the night of the show.
The actual event runs fortnightly and has so far been successful in both attendance and applicants. The prize is £150 to spend in Steven James Guitar shop (official sponsors) on Linthorpe road. The high quality of the contestants coupled with the generous prize fund has resulted in a high influx of applicants including both new artists and more established ones.
To enter the competition you must first apply through facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It must be warned that not all applications will be successful, the contestants are carefully chosen by management at Mink. This opener to Mink: The Big Weekend includes already established and highly talented artists such as Bre Musiq, Anthony Chisman, Alex & Josh, Taylor Mayd, who will win that is the question?
The second day of The Big Weekend see's the arrival of Big Band Bonanza' featuring Mink Rock n Roll band'. They replace the previously billed Willows.
The Saturday night of Mink: The Big Weekend is one which is certainly one of the highlights of Middlesbrough's entertainment weekend. Liverpool's most exciting new export The Hummingbirds. Wayne Rooney famously endorsed them via twitter which caused a huge storm around them, more prestigiously it has been recently announced that bookies have made them 10/1 favourites for the Mercury Music prize.
The Hummingbirds are a band that seem destined for great success and have a sound that has a mersybeat backdrop with contemporary vocal delivery. On this visit to Mink they will play a special double set for the first time in the region.
In support of the fast rising Hummingbirds is the most talked about local act in town. The Boro sound Jamie Graham will be opening up the night on the Saturday scheduled show. After Jamie's storming first appearance winning 'Scouting 4 Mink' the social networking sites went Jamie Graham crazy.
Jamie was once in a group with the now Middlesbrough hero James Arthur and they certainly share in style and substance. Jamie Graham has a knack for writing good songs and he has the full package required for success and popularity. He has recently been performing and hanging out with former Xfactor contestant Jake Quickenden both in Middlesbrough and in London, the industry buzz around him at the moment is very very positive.
To round off the first of Mink Bars 'Big Weekends' there will be a chilled Sunday come down session. This one is set up with chairs and candles and introduces a very exciting and talked about Swedish acoustic duo, House Of Trees. They arrive on their first UK tour and have been described as 'Sweden's best kept secret' by Sweden's world radio station P2. They will be supported by two of local musics most laid back musical acts Dressed like Wolves and General Sherman.
A top weekend of live music for Middlesbrough and for Mink and the great thing is that each night is free entry before 9pm (£3 after). This pricing is done to encourage participation in what is set to be a great weekend.
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