Is Swindon seeing a musical renaissance?

By Ben Fitzgerald - 22 February 2019

CommunityExpert VoicesArts and Culture

After a few years floundering in the musical doldrums, well-known bands and the hard-working people who book them in are once again casting their eyes in the direction of Swindon.

As a town, we’ve always embraced live music and there’s a healthy appetite for local output - but convincing tour buses to turn off at junction 15 or 16 has always been a bit of an uphill struggle. But there is a distinct whiff of change in the air.

One of the key players driving this resurgence of musical interest is Darren Simons who has recently taken over the running of Level 3 and the Rolleston on Commercial Road - a stone's throw from the town centre.

It’s a punchy venue with a gleam of ambition in its eyes.

Notable bookings include Pete Doherty, Electric Six and Reef.

Darren explained: "In Swindon you have pockets of fans who keep the whole thing going. This is something that we are keen to build on. 

"Music is so diverse so you have to cater for different groups of fans. That's what we are trying to do at Level 3.

"The local music scene has been struggling a bit because there seem to be fewer younger people getting involved in playing live music - but perhaps we are going to see that turn around now? 

"Since taking over Level 3 we are feeling quite optimistic about the future of live music in Swindon. We have had some great nights here and it's great to see people from Swindon and further afield turning out to support us." 

Darren explained that there was a strong following for tribute acts as well as acts playing their own original music.

"We are building a strong relationship with the management of some of the larger acts. When they see that some of their smaller acts have done well here, they begin to consider us for some of their more established artists. 

"Hopefully it will begin to generate a buzz about the place and get people talking.

"We are in talks about bringing more big names to Swindon which we hope to announce soon."

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