DAYS after crowds flocked to Darlington for the town’s annual Rhythm n Blues festival, organisers have appealed for help to secure the event’s future.

On Sunday, thousands came together to enjoy a day of live music, with performances staged in venues across the town.

Fans braved heavy rain in the market square to enjoy sets from renowned performers including headliners Bernie Marsden, Teresa Watson, Eddie Martin and their bands.

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Revellers also packed out 13 other venues to watch 20 more bands play at the festival’s busiest event to date.

Mike Prendergast said: “All the venues were packed, with some places spilling out into the streets.

“This annual event creates a great friendly atmosphere - people who don’t normally see each other from one year to the next come together to enjoy the music and have fun.

“The event was once called Darlington’s best kept secret but it looks like it’s not a secret any longer.”

The festival has grown significantly since its humble beginnings 22 years ago but Mr Prendergast fears its future could be in doubt.

The event has always relied upon sponsorship, with Darlington’s council contributing an estimated 90 per cent of running costs over the years.

However, austere times and cuts to the council’s budget from central Government mean DBC has been forced to slash funding to a swathe of services and events, including the Rhythm n Blues festival.

Mr Prendergast has now appealed for help from local firms in securing the event’s future.

He took to social media to say: “Every year we struggle for sponsorship to keep going, we don’t have much left in the kitty now so we badly need someone to come in and help out otherwise we might not be able to do it much longer.”

Mr Prendergast reiterated to The Northern Echo that the festival was in need of financial aid and has appealed to Darlington’s businesses to step in and help.

He said: “The council puts most of the money in for the event but because of cutbacks, there’s not much to play with.

“Darlington has some big companies and if three or four could put in around £500 each, that would be great.”

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council said the authority was confident the festival will continue and would have the support of the council next year.

She added: "We are already planning for next September’s event, which will be the centre piece of our festival programme.”