VENUES across Swindon are coming together to give aspiring musicians an opportunity to raise their profile through the Swindon Shuffle festival.

The shuffle, now in its eighth year, showcases unsigned bands and performers.

It kicked off last night with an event at The Queen’s Tap which featured performances by Tamsin Quin, Richard Skidmore and Matt Chipperfield among others.

The festival is running until Sunday with pubs including The Victoria, The Castle Inn and Riffs Bar hosting events.

Bands will also be performing at more unusual venues such as Billabong, in the Swindon Designer Outlet, Baila Coffee and Vinyl in Victoria Road,and Swindon Central Library, in Regent Circus.

Ed Dyer, one of the Shuffle’s organisers, said: “The excitement levels are very high as always.

“I think the great thing about this event is that it really strikes a cord with the public as we get people who wouldn’t necessarily always go to gigs getting in touch and wanting to be part of the event.

“We get great support from venues across the town and we love hosting events at slightly different places.

“This year we have added new coffee shop Baila to our venues and I think that is a match made in heaven.”

Over the years, the Swindon Shuffle has helped bands get on and progress up the musical ladder, something which the festival’s organising team are very proud of.

Ed said: “We have seen bands progress and perform at festivals such as Glastonbury and Download.

It really is satisfying to help them. The full line up of performers we have this year really are great people who deserve some success.”

Swindon’s venues enjoy being part of the event and supporting the town’s music community.

Andy Marcer, the landlord of the nearby the Beehive, which is hosting shuffle events tonight, Saturday and Sunday, said: “I’m a big music fan and for me this is my favourite event we have going on during the year.

“The festival offers a great opportunity for new artists to go out and make a name for themselves.”

Arry Javes, the manager of The Rolleston, which is hosting events from midday to the evening, on Saturday, said: “It makes sense for us to be apart of the Swindon Shuffle as we are always enthusiastic about new bands and giving them a chance to perform.

“From midday until 3pm, on Saturday, we have performers from The Academy of Sound And Music, playing which we are really excited about.”