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Festival goers are bowled over at gig
DANCING in the sunshine at the Town Gardens, air drumming or simply sipping on a refreshing drink by the bar, more than a thousand revellers celebrated the final day of this year’s Old Town Festival.
After a week of activities, picnics, pageants and performances, the festivities culminated in a musical bonanza with more than 15 up-and-coming bands and solo artists out to entertain families on Saturday.
Among them was six-year-old Daisy Saunders, a self-proclaimed ‘show-off’ and talented singer whose acapella renditions of Impossible and You Are My Sunshine were warmly greeted by the crowds.
“It’s the third time I’ve performed in front of people and I love to sing,” said Daisy, who attends Drove Primary School.
“I get really excited on stage; I don’t feel nervous. “I like entertaining people and I like coming to the festival. I am a show-off, like my parents.”
Her father Levi is no stranger to the festival as he himself performed on the Town Gardens stage alongside his Banjovee bandmates and worked behind the scenes as a sound technician.
“I think the festival is brilliant,” said the 59-year-old from Old Town. “I performed with my band Banjovee four or five years ago and I used to do the sound on stage.
“It’s a hard time now for festivals so it’s great that people can come to this. “And it’s great seeing young people coming up and getting a chance to be on stage and show us what they’ve got.”
Nearly 3,000 people flocked to the festival’s many events, with a whopping 1,500 on Saturday, June 28 alone braving the inclement weather.
Among top billers were Commonweal Jazz Band, Liam O’Leary, Darren Hunt, Rockers Reunited and Get Carter, who closed the nine and a half hour non-stop concert.
Festival chairman Trevor Smith said: “You can see a lot of community events like the Mela being cancelled these days and I think it’s important that we have a community event like this. “There is an appetite for it in Swindon. We have had a good response this year.
“Compared to last year we have increased by three or four times the amount of time people spend on stage.
“People are bringing their kids, grandkids and even the dogs.”
Treasurer John Wilson added: “We have struggled immensely with the weather but even despite the showers the atmosphere has been very good and all the events have been well supported.
“We try to cater to lots of diverse tastes. “Last Saturday we were disappointed with the weather but people still stayed for the evening event. And everybody really enjoyed themselves.”