Get ready – Darwen Live is back this weekend for its 25th year!

Published 20th May 2024

Darwen Live is back this Bank Holiday weekend and organisers are bringing the party as it celebrates 25 years!

Topping the bill for the Main Stage on Saturday is Tunde from Lighthouse Family performing hits including Lifted, Ocean Drive and Goodbye Heartbreak with his full band.

On Sunday, 90s indie band Echobelly – best known for King of the Kerb and Great Things – are headlining, heading to Darwen in the middle of their UK tour.

Also, on the packed Main Stage line-up, you’ll find Fuzzbox (Pink Sunshine), Eddie and the Hotrods (Do anything you Wanna do), 80s rockabilly band The Jets, X-Factor finalist Kevin Davy White – fresh from performing with Lionel Ritchie – and festival favourites Merry Hell and genres including Country, Folk, Rock, Ska and Indie.

Of course, the impressive headliners are just one part of this success story too!

The official Second Stage at Darwen Library Theatre will host local favourites Free from the Wilde and Cormac Thompson plus a Status Quo Acoustic tribute and, as always, the talent from local music schools and DACA too.

Every year, Darwen Live – now the biggest free music festival in the whole of the UK – draws in tens of thousands of people.

Hundreds of bands and acts from right across the country also apply to perform as part of the packed line-up on the main stage, second stage at Darwen Library Theatre and the alternative stage at Sunbird Records.

Darren James from King George’s Hall has been involved with the event for more than a decade – first as a volunteer and now as the main organiser.

He said:

Darwen Live is a chance for people to see local bands, national signed and unsigned artists and really good headliners all in one place and all for free.

Through the fantastic contacts that King George’s Hall has with agents, we can draw in big names – often acts who are on tour – which means the crowds just grow-and-grow every year.

In 2023, we had 40,000 people visit over the Darwen Live weekend – all coming from far and wide to enjoy live music for free, supporting the town centre in the process.

There’s so much more going on too. As well as the main stages, there’s more than 25 different venues offering live music – everything from vocal artists to bands, DJs and the likes of sax players and, importantly, a platform for youngsters and those who are just starting out too.

We’re proud that Darwen Live is now the biggest free music festival in the whole of the UK – we think it may even be the biggest in Europe now!

Darwen Live, supported by Blackburn with Darwen Council and Darwen Town Council, will run over  Saturday, May 25th and Sunday, May 26th.

Other venues taking part include The Vault, Level One Live, Tiki Taps, Artisan and many, many more.

Also running in the town centre is DECADE – 10 year of adidas Spezial – a free exhibition celebrating 10 years of the collection curated by proud Darrener, Gary Aspden.

It’s open daily from 12 noon to 8pm until Sunday, May 26th.

Official Darwen Live merch will also be available and there’ll be an abundance of stalls selling food and local goods, plus trampolines for the kids.

Check out for a full rundown of what’s on where.

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