THE Swindon Shuffle rolled into town bringing music lovers four days of original, live music across seven venues.

Now in its 15th year, the Shuffle featured a host of performers from within the town.

Swindon native Richard Davies headlined The Castle Inn on Friday with his new band Richard Davies & The Dissidents and reflected on the importance of original music.

“I’m not knocking people who play in cover bands but there wouldn’t be cover bands unless there was original music there in the first place," he said.

“It’s a great thing for Swindon to have the Shuffle, it’s a great opportunity for original music to be showcased and I’m happy to be a part of it.

“Anything that encourage this kind of music is great, it needs to be kept going.

“I worry at times that it might disappear - it probably won’t, good songs always come to the public’s attention.”

But he believes the Swindon music scene is currently alive and well even though it was shut down for months by Covid lockdowns.

He said: “Like a lot of towns it’s got a vibrant music scene.

“You can go out on any Friday or Saturday night and go out to see live music.

“I missed live performances but hopefully there’s a renewed appreciation for live music because it’s such an important part of our culture.”

Dave Franklin co-organised the Shuffle this year. He said: “Ed Dyer and I have always been promoters of original music.

“Given the option we would rather have original bands on.

“It’s hard to get a decent night for original music because the music doesn’t earn a lot of money for the pubs.

“The Shuffle enables us to celebrate original music and show how much original music is in Swindon, it’s mainly Swindon bands playing here.

“It’s a celebration of original music and it shows the young performers that there is an appetite for original music here.”

The Castle Inn landlord Kevin Fitzgerald has previously played in the Shuffle himself as a guitarist.

With live music beginning to return, he felt the Shuffle was a good sign.

“To get back to a sense of normality, things such as these are brilliant," he said.

“The organisers want to keep the music scene in Swindon going.

“The Shuffle draws people out and brings people together to have a good time.”