My column for the August issue of The Ocelot magazine was this, a two page preview of the mega Swindon Shuffle 2014. a slightly cheeky insert perhaps seeing as I am part of the team running the festival, but you take your breaks where you can get them! so, for all the info as to what is going down one weekend in August in Swindon read on my friend, read on….
As you may have noticed over the last few years, us here at The Ocelot like our festivals. Especially the local ones like The Oxford Punt (which was awesome again this year). Another that we have a special place in our hearts for is the Swindon Shuffle. So, here is a two page special on that very festival!
Taking place from 6th August to 10th August this year marks the 8th running of the event, and to be honest it looks better than ever, with a cracking line up of local talent planned. And, as started happening last year, it is not just music that will be going on to entertain you, with poetry and live art thrown into the mix. In addition, we have been getting pretty heavy with those guys over on the organising committee and have blagged ourselves another stage to programme
The whole thing kicks off as it has done the last couple of years with an open mic session at The Queens Tap on Wednesday 6th. This is then followed upon Thursday with a bit of a fringe shuffle in Old Town, centred round a Songs Of Praise night at The Victoria featuring the musical talents of bands as diverse as quirky popsters Super Squarecloud, orchestral rockers SkyBurnsRed, math-grunge-punks Dead Royalties and psychedelic upstarts The Nightjar, as well as featuring Si Hall in his debut full band show. Or you can shuffle around to catch live poetry readings alongside acoustic music with a message from the likes of David Marx and Steve Leigh at The Roaring Donkey and weird hippy trip out disco from Zetan Spore at The Beehive.
On Friday the festival proper kicks off with none other than us! Yes, The Ocelot takes over the Victoria for a night of riotous fun and guitar music headlined by the fantastic indie anthems of British Harlem. And, in a real coup we have managed to squeeze in several other bands that could easily headline themselves – Ocelot favourites the ever odder Nudybronque and gutter rockersThe Racket. Acting as appetiser to this three part main dish are the punked up acoustic rock n roll of Marky Thatcher (the only man on earth who has performed at every single Shuffle) and Ian Doeser, erstwhile Hamster From Hell and all round punk and blues terrorist of many years’ experience. And, to keep things ticking along and to ensure a damn good party afterwards we have enlisted vinyl warrior and legend of the true turntable Bobby The Persuader who will be rummaging in his big bag of hits to play you the best records you have never heard.
Things are a little more gentle over the road at The Castle (marking their 2nd year of involvement) with an exciting line-up headlined by Cirencester band Familiars, purveyors of fine piano driven stadium indie. Also appearing will be the brilliant Wildest Dream, the latest band for Zoe Mead, one to watch nationally for sure judging by the press coverage they have been getting. The entrancing Faye Rogers also appears as do acoustic troubadour Ben McDanielson and the new vehicle for former Street Orphan (the band, not for real) Harry Sayers – Blind Man’s Bastion.
Meanwhile, out of town Riffs get in on the act with their usual open mic alongside a brilliant double bill of acts The Black Feathers and The Cadbury Sisters. The best of local acoustic Americana and folk right there on the one bill. Well worth the trip out to Hook for that one.
Saturday goes bonkers with too much to fit in. It starts off in the afternoon at the Rolleston with a showcase of students from The Academy Of Music & Sound, then moves into a session featuring the return of Charlie Bath from her musical mission to London, Some agit-folk from Kitchen Sink Drama’s then goes a lot louder with sets from acts like Adam Croslands latest artnoise project Sea Mammal, swamp rockers Armchair Committee, unruly punks Strength in Blunders, Pink Floyd obsessives The Automaniacs and Boss Cloth, returning to the scene of the show last year that first prompted us to hail them as our newcomers of the year. And it all finishes off with a full set from rock n roll stalwarts and hardest working band around David Mark & The AK Poets.
Elsewhere, you can catch folk band Ells & The Southern Wild at The Beehive, along with this years appearance from The Swindon Samba band and local R’n’B advocates Cartoon Heroes. The Castle hosts a fantastic night of chilled out pop and folk music from the likes of Colour The Atlas, Cook & The Case, Billyjon and Luke De-Sciscio as well as a rare acoustic set from Port Erin. And to add to all this throughout the day there will be all sorts of musical stuff cropping up in the town centre (where That’s Entertainment and The Central Library are hosting music) and at The Outlet Village (the Billabong store has several bands playing) along with Old Town as Baila Coffee & Vinyl mark their appearance in town with a Shuffle hook up.
It all wraps up on Sunday with a family fun and music day at Riffs and an extended rootsy session at The Beehive that features such talented folk as Hip Route, The Shudders, Mr Love & Justice, Black Sheep Apprentice, Splat The Rat, The Labradors and Mel Hughes. After which anyone left standing can incoherently compare Shuffle tales and favourite bits, ponder the appearance of blisters, headaches and wonder which bar has most of their money in its tills.
All through the weekend you should watch out for the live art of Sketch Crawl, as they wonder the sessions drawing what they see and be nice to anyone jangling a bucket under your nose. They are collecting for the Goldenhar charity, so would appreciate whatever you can spare. Of course, details are correct at the time of writing, but are liable (and likely) to change a little, so keep an eye on the website www.swindonshuffle.org.uk or the facebook page to keep up to date with any changes, announcements or to poke fun at the organisers.