THE CREAM of Swindon’s musical talent was on show across the town over the weekend.

Organisers hailed this year’s Swindon Shuffle even better than last year’s and are already thinking about recreating the celebration of local musicians in 2009.

Paul Jellings said: “It has been brilliant. The numbers were definitely up from last year. We had about 300 in the Furnace.

“Everybody who has played has been on top form.

“All the bands really stepped up their game so it has definitely been the best year.”

Venues including The Elm Tree, Riffs Bar, 12 Bar, The Apartment, The Rolleston, The Furnace, The Beehive and The Victoria were rocking all weekend long to the sounds of Swindon’s coolest music.

The headline acts for this year’s Shuffle included two successful local bands, the Alfonz and the Beatbullyz, alongside less well known acts like Lizzie Spit, Diablo 13, and Dominic French. The festival started last year to unite the local music scene.

“Over the last year we have seen a lot of the bands go forward.

“People would come down to see one band then maybe see a few others they like and go and see them again through out the year.

“We have really seen a rise in the interest of local bands and there is a lot of great music coming out of Swindon.

“We’re hoping the same thing will happen to the bands who played this year too.”

Despite getting just nine hours’ sleep over four days, Paul said he could not wait to get started on next year’s festival.

“This year was even better than last year, so I’ll have no hesitation about doing it again next year.

“We have already had loads of people coming up to us asking to play next year, so it is pretty certain we’ll do it again.”

This year’s event was bigger than last year’s with more venues, more dates, more bands and the introduction of the dance and hip-hop/funk music scene.

It is not yet known exactly how much money the event raised for the Prospect@Home campaign, but Paul said they hoped to have topped last year’s figure of donated £2,000 to the charity.

British Heart Foundation stalls were also set up at venues to help raise awareness and to sign up people to the donor scheme.