PLANS have been revealed to expand Darwen Live into a bigger event with more venues and a wider appeal.

Organisers want to see Edinburgh Festival ‘Fringe-style’ events and ‘Proms in the Park’ shows to go with the main town centre rock and pop concerts.

The aim is to broaden the scope and appeal of venues for the major musical event.

Cllr Pete Hollings revealed the proposals to Darwen Town Council’s October meeting this week and won its backing for the ambitious new plans.

He told his fellow councillors that following former chairman Trevor Maxfield’s July decision to stand down, fellow volunteers had decided to seek a more formal structure for its organising committee.

Sunnyhurst ward’s Cllr Hollings won backing for the creation of a properly constituted body which could be given the £25,000 budget from the town council and £10,000 from the borough to spend rather than submit bills to the two local authorities.

He revealed that existing volunteers, led by stage and technical expert Darren James,were holding meeting about the composition of the new formal committee and the plans for the festival’s expansion.

Cllr Hollings said: “This is about a bigger and better Darwen Live with a wider appeal and geographical spread in the town.

“We want to see an Edinburgh Festival-style ‘fringe’ to main events in the town centre with ragtime and jazz bands,poetry and performance artists in the street around the main stage.

“We area looking at other classical music events in Whitehall and other parks - our own ‘Proms in the Park’.

“It is about incresing the appeal of Darwen Live to older people, the disabled and those with different tastes in music without losing the lively and loud pop and rock heart of the festival in the Town Hall Square.

“The new committee will also look at a possible second Knott Street Car Park.

“Trevor has done a wonderful job organising the event for many years but now he has stood down, it is time to look at a more formal organising committee with its own budget that can expand the festival, raise commercial sponsorship and book acts and pay the bills itself whiles being audited by the town council.”

Whitehall Liberal Democrat councillor John East said: “I fully support this widening of the scope and appeal of Darwen Live.”

Sunnyhurst Labour councillor Dave Smith said: “This is a good way to put Darwen Live on a firmer and bigger footing.”