THE Swindon Shuffle returns this weekend and festival organiser Ed Dyer is looking forward to another weekend of live music.

Starting today, The Shuffle will continue until Sunday and take place primarily at The Tuppenny, The Castle, The Beehive, The Victoria and The Hop Inn. 

Ed, from Old Town, has been organising the event for many years and spoke about the importance of the musical event, now in its 15th year.

He said: “Everything we do with the Swindon Shuffle is geared towards championing what we class as original.

“Swindon has a reputation for cover bands but there is an equally vibrant circuit for original bands but it’s one that people don’t necessarily seek and find out.

“The cover bands are going to be covering in 10 years time, the original bands are the bands of tomorrow.

“Without them playing at venues such as The Victoria, The Castle or The Hop Inn, you’re not going to find a new Kings of Leon or Oasis.

“We champion the local songwriters and musicians and give them a bigger platform than they normally get in the town.

“I would say the Swindon Shuffle is the biggest music event in Swindon, in terms of the number of people involved in it.

“We don’t repeat it all the time, at least 50 per cent haven’t played the previous year, there’s always new artists coming through.”

A total of 65 acts will treat music lovers to live performances with a range of genres from folk, rock, metal and more.

Matt Owens, known as bass guitarist for Noah and the Whale, is in the line-up alongside groups such as Flour Babies and Pool. 

For Ed, who also co-owns The Tuppenny, co-organising the festival provides him an outlet for his love of music.

He said: “It’s an itch to scratch, I would want to see these events if I was a customer.

“If nobody’s putting them on, I’ll put them on.

“I’m very much a ‘put your money where your mouth is’ kind of character. I put on stuff that I myself would like to see.”

Last year the festival ran online and was livestreamed on Facebook.

And the pandemic continues to have an impact this year, with multiple artists dropping out and  being replaced because of Covid issues.

But Ed believes the 2021 event will bring an audience with an appetite to see live music again.

He said:  “We’re losing artists left, right and centre due to Covid issues.

“We’ve lost a few guys I was looking forward to seeing, even some headliners.

“But there is an appetite for people to see what they’ve missed, there will be an element of that. 

“My week now is hanging around bars, listening to great music and the next time when

I’m going to bed and have a decent square meal.

“It’s always a stressful week, you’re always exhausted by the end of it, but you’re always so glad you’ve done it.

“It makes you feel good, it’s live music, it’s a real sort of adrenaline and one of those wonderful parts of being a human being.”

The Swindon Shuffle spans seven venues in total with Baila Coffee & Vinyl and Baristocats providing intimate sets as an alternative option.

Ed says collaborating with these venues highlights the desire for live music on the Swindon pub and bar scene.

He said: “It’s no accident that these venues have been picked.

“We all realise we’re in it together and stronger collectively.

“It’s one of the nice things about Old Town.

“The word that gets used is ‘scene’ and a ‘scene’ only works if it’s supportive of itself.

“The bands support each other, people loan equipment, there’s no rivalry between the venues, we’ve all got our own niche.”

The Beehive will be one of the venues hosting the Swindon Shuffle and a stage for the event has been named after a former Adver reporter.

The Flicky Harrison Stage honours the memory of Felicity ‘Flicky’ Harrison and the is stage a tribute to her work covering the Swindon music scene. Flicky died in March after being diagnosed with stomach cancer.

The Swindon Shuffle commences at The Hop Inn tonight at 7.15pm with Jim Blair.

The full line-up and times can be found at