THIS year’s Darwen Live music festival has been hailed the ‘best yet’ by organisers.

Thousands packed into the town centre on Sunday and yesterday to catch the action, with 90s pop legends The South (formerly The Beautiful South) and SoulTrain headlining the main stage.

And pubs across the town were rocking as more venues than ever hosted live music as part of the two-day event.

Darwen Town Council mayor Trevor Maxfield said it was a fantastic event. He said: “This is probably the best we have done, certainly since the town council started funding it.

“It was a great bank holiday weekend, despite the weather being a bit rainy at times. Everyone had a really good time and the music was brilliant.

“We had 17 venues this year all across the town so it was definitely the biggest we have had.”

The event was saved from the axe in 2011 when town council bosses offered to part-fund it when the borough said it could no longer afford to. Coun Maxfield has helped organise it since, starting with the one-day event that year headlined by Billy Bragg. Darwen Live resumed its traditional two-day format the following year and has thrived ever since.

Coun Maxfield said: “Now we can start looking ahead to next year’s event.

“It takes a lot of time to organise Darwen Live and every year we want to make it that bit better.”

It is not yet known whether Blackburn with Darwen Council will help with funding next year as it continues to struggle with the cuts from central government.

Festival organisers this year stepped up their drive to attract sponsors.