The Swindon Shuffle was conceived and founded in 2007 by Richard Craven, Phil Dyson and Paul Jellings from Songs of Praise Promotions, plus Neil Gammon from Black Lava Promotions and Tim McDonald from Yankeeboy Promotions. Using the basis of already established city centre music festivals like the Camden Crawl, The Great Escape and the Oxford Punt, the aim was and still is to bring together the community to showcase a thriving local music scene.
The idea for the music festival, and inspiration for the festival name, started as a “shuffle” by the crowd between several music venues on one particular night to watch the performing acts, but this had expanded before even the start of the first festival to be a four day event held across many venues.
The inaugural festival was held Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 July 2007 using The Victoria, The Furnace, The Rolleston, 12 Bar, and The Beehive as venues. Swindon Town Football Club’s Winners Lounge was used to host an official opening ‘fringe’ night organised by Puttyfoot Promotions on the Thursday.
The festival was officially supported in 2007 by the Swindon Cultural Partnership, Frequency Magazine, Citrus Creative, [Swindon] Artsminds, BBC Underground, 4th Street Records, and Swindonmusic.co.uk, and the charity partner was the Prospect Hospice. 41 acts performed across the weekend, plus there was a Songs of Praise club night on the Saturday.
Headline acts were Buswell, The Sturgis Armoury, Hip Route, Electric City Heights, and Black Eyed Dog. Other notable acts to appear included The SheBeats, Seven Years On, Gaz Brookfield, 2 Sick Monkeys, the unannounced debut of Rats Ruined My Brain and an early performance from The Alfonz.
The festival was put into doubt when three inches of rain fell in 24 hours on Swindon on 20 July 2007 causing major disruption and leaving parts of the town underwater, however the festival still went ahead with good attendance. The festival also saw an impromptu acoustic stage added at 12 Bar on the Sunday afternoon.
The festival raised £2,007 for the Prospect Hospice, with a cheque being handed over at the Songs of Praise ‘Keep It Peel’ night featuring Rats Ruined My Brain, Black Cat and Matthew Kilford. The festival was seen as exceeding expectations – although being the first year no one really knew what to expect – with 1,000 people attending over the weekend.
“When we had the idea of a charity gig nearly 18 months ago I don’t think any of us dreamt The Swindon Shuffle would become as big as it did” – Richard Craven, Swindon Shuffle Cofounder
At this point there appear to be very few photographs available of the first festival, but below are two videos created by a member of the watching crowd summarising most of the performances across the weekend…