Touch Down Festival was the place to be for rock fans this weekend, with people travelling from farther and wider than ever before to attend this fast-rising event.

Growing beyond recognition from its first outing in 2015, the all-dayer in Workington is now one of the most anticipated Saturdays in the Cumbrian music calendar.

This weekend's show was undoubtedly the best yet - and the atmosphere certainly played a big part in that.

Usually the opening bands at any festival are met with a small audience, and an even smaller smattering of applause; Wolfpeake opened the Main Stage upstairs in Bart's, and walked off to a rapturous reception. A performance that made them contenders for 'Band of the Day', even though the festival had barely begun.

The decision to move the acoustic stage to the opposite end of the venue rather than annexed away in a separate bar meant that the crowds were able to just turn round and continue to be entertained. Some of the day's highlights here included youngster Simone Armstrong's soulful stripped-back covers, a debut festival performance from Colt 45's Neil Harper in his solo guise, and a keyboard-driven set of well-known pop tracks by Jolan late in the evening to warm the crowd up for the night's headliners.
Northshore

Not that they needed much warming up; it was a hot and sticky day already, and with so many bands playing blistering sets - both upstairs in Bart's and downstairs in Lounge 41 - there was barely a moment to cool off.

Barrow's Fight For Friday and Middlesbrough pop punk band Northshore gave two of the most boisterous and energetic performances of the afternoon, and the second stage was also home to the two heaviest acts: hometown outfit Seek Solace In Ruin continuing their run of Touch Downs with another frenzied groove metal throwdown; and debutants Drudge battling their smouldering equipment to put in a performance worthy of their recent Bloodstock call up.

Ska punk outfit The Hostiles wrapped up downstairs in front of another packed-in audience, while upstairs the likes of Manchester's Milestones and Carlisle rock 'n' rollers Hardwicke Circus were ramping up the excitement levels, between them inciting plenty of leaping around and dancing.
Milestones

It seemed like a long wait for the headline act, Mallory Knox, to emerge, but they got straight down to business with a couple of old numbers and their recent single Black Holes, showing a slightly heavier and arguably more dynamic sound that had fans singing and chanting along for the rest of the night.

There was a feeling that this was a special moment in the festival's short history, but also felt like a big day for the local music scene, which is sometimes starved of visitors of this calibre.

It could hardly have gone better, from start to finish.

Review by KARL STEEL