Swindon plays host to the first Wessex One Faith Punk Festival this week, scooping top punk rock band Sham 69 as headliners.

One Faith Punk Festival is at the MECA in Regent Circus, Swindon on Saturday, May 20 from noon.

Swindon promoter Duncan Robinson said: "We have fans travelling to the festival from as far afield as Bristol, Gloucester, Reading, Oxford and bands appearing from Coventry, Luton and even Dundee.''

The idea behind the festival is to promote the next generation of punk bands and fans, to encourage the ethos and faith begun back in the 1970s by musician such as Jimmy Pursey, lead singer with Sham 69.

Jimmy said: "Thanks to all that have made this One Faith Punk festival possible. We wanted to put on a new fresh attitude and energy to those aware that punk is still in evolution. Welcome to punk without borders.''

Duncan says the idea to hold a punk festival began after the success of the November gig in Swindon, again headlined by Sham 69, with support from local band Charred Hearts led by Dermot Fuller.

"People as they left that gig were on such an emotional high,'' said Duncan.

Supporting the punk legends in Swindon this time are Criminal Mind, Mick O'Toole, Dirt Royal, Delinquents, Disruptive Influence, Face Up, Hazard and Rotten Foxes.

Jimmy began Sham 69 with its original line-up in 1976 in Surrey, but it was The Roxy in London that gave them their first step up the ladder. UK hits such as Hurry Up Harry, If The Kids Are United and Angels With Dirty Faces all followed. Hurry Up Harry became the unofficial World Cup song in aid of a charity combatting cancer.

Growing up in Hersham, with a father in the forces and a working mum, Jimmy understood the roots of punk, he grew up wanting to champion the proletariat and give a voice to the people through music.

Jimmy said: "I once held a light on punk bands that I thought should be listened to because of their attitude and energy. How do we know that maybe 1977 was the preface to the many-turned pages of punk. Yes we still have a faith outside the normality; its a beating heart, an instant rip and tear, a haircut, T-shirt, a background advert, a way of instinctively thinking ... once a punk always a punk, so give me your ears, eyes and believe brothers and sisters if we stand together this could just be start for these new fresh punk bands.''

Tickets for the Wessex One Faith Punk Festival are £20, £15 for students and under 18s accompanied by an adult. They are available from www.onefaith.co.uk or from Swindon Central Library. - Flicky Harrison