Events and sponsorship director Barry Earl is keen for Carlisle Rugby Club’s Border City Sevens Festival to become an annual event.

Carlisle will hold the festival for the first time this weekend, with the action starting tonight with live music from 6pm, before the rugby sevens tournament begins at midday tomorrow.

There will also be activities to keep those not involved in the rugby entertained at Warwick Road.

Earl said: “We have tried to make it an inclusive event for families and for groups. We have tried to vary the drinks offering. So, we haven’t just gone for 30 or 40 beers.

"We have gone with, in total, 10 real ales, then all the normal corporates and quite a wide selection of gins.

"Obviously, there will be soft drinks, as well, for people who just want to stay hydrated or don’t drink alcohol."

Former chairman Earl, who was replaced as chairman by David Stout last year in a shake-up which saw Matt Shields take over as player-coach, is also delighted with the number of businesses who have got involved in the festival.

He said: “It’s been fantastic to see local businesses support us and take on various sponsorship packages - things like sponsor a beer.

“We have done some bronze, silver and gold hospitality packages, where companies get a number of wristbands and a number of beer tokens. We are doing a festival programme, too, where we have sold advertising space to local companies who are looking for space to support us and promote themselves to everybody who attends.

"It’s been fantastic. In total, I think we have had between 15 to 20 businesses take packages out. It’s been excellent for a first year, and we intend to build on the festival year on year."

Earl says a team from Edinburgh will be among the eight involved.

“The plan is to make it an annual event, so it’s something that gets known among clubs in the North of England and the Scottish Borders. For future years, we know the numbers of teams competing in the sevens tournament will increase because that’s how festivals grow,” he added.

“We are thankful for the eight teams who are competing because they have enabled us to make a start.

"Next year, the target will be to probably double the number of teams.”