Old Town Bowl rocks out for charity this August with new festival

By Barrie Hudson - 22 July 2021

Arts and Culture
  • Gaz Brookfield & The Company of Thieves (Picture: Jennifer Berry)

    Gaz Brookfield & The Company of Thieves (Picture: Jennifer Berry)

An all-day festival in Town Gardens will be getting Swindon rockin’ in August and it’s all in aid of The Prospect Hospice.

  • The late, great Dave Young in action (Picture: Graham Bradfield)

    The late, great Dave Young in action (Picture: Graham Bradfield)

‘The My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival’ will be held at Town Gardens Bowl on Saturday 28 August, from midday until 10pm.

The charity festival, being run by the people behind The Swindon Shuffle in partnership with South Swindon Parish Council, is being held in tribute to Dave Young, the former landlord of The Victoria and 12 Bar, who sadly died in early June at the Prospect Hospice after a hard-fought battle against cancer.

The festival is now calling on local businesses to come forward to help fund the event so that as much money as possible can be raised for the charity. They are also looking for volunteers who want to show their support.

Organiser Ed Dyer, of The Swindon Shuffle, said: “During their tenure at The Victoria and the 12 Bar, Dave, along with his wife Anna, revitalised the Swindon music scene, offering opportunities to hundreds of local musicians to show off and develop their talents.

“The pair created friendships and a lasting music family that still endures, leaving an indelible stamp on this town and many of the people within it.

“It’s only fitting that this legacy is recognised by throwing a great big musical party and raising as much money as possible for Prospect, who helped keep David comfortable in his last months.”

Prospect Hospice provides end of life care to those living in Swindon and north east Wiltshire and offers all of their services free of charge. It’s thanks to the generosity of the local community that helps to raise around £8million a year to cover this cost that they’re able to be there for patients and those important to them, no matter their circumstances, so for them this event could not come at a better time, having not been able to organise any big fundraising events for almost two years because of the pandemic.

Sheryl Crouch, head of income at Prospect Hospice, said: “We’ve been so pleased to have been chosen as the local charity to benefit from this fantastic bank holiday music event in memory of the groups wonderful friend, I really can’t thank them enough.  I can see the passion in the team to raise vital funds for the hospice after we cared for Anna’s husband Dave at the end of his life.

“Support like this means a huge deal to us, especially at the moment when we’ve been unable to fundraise in our traditional ways but continue to offer specialist care to those who need it. I wish them all the very best for a successful and enjoyable event and we’ll be here to support them wherever we can.”

The organisers are made up of several key members of the Swindon music scene including Andy Loddington, the man behind Summer Breeze and Jamie Hill, the editor of The Ocelot.

They are also working very closely with Anna Sprawson, the widow of Dave Young, who said: “Dave’s death has been a tragic loss to all who knew him. He was so full of life and gave so much to others whether it was his family and friends or to the music community.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate his life and all he meant to others by holding this one-day festival in aid of the Prospect Hospice who helped us all during such difficult times. We can’t do enough for this wonderful charity and we’re hoping to raise as much money as possible so they can continue helping more families in their time of need.

“The fact that so many people have come forward to help with this tribute concert is testament to what an impact Dave had on so many lives.”

The event will take the shape of an all-day community music festival held in the wonderful surroundings of the Town Gardens Bowl in Old Town, with all profits being donated to the charity.

The stellar musical line up is headed by David’s former band The Boys From County Hell, an Irish Folk-Punk band in the vein of The Pogues, who toured the UK and internationally to huge acclaim and who are reuniting for the occasion to perform for the first time in more than a decade.

Joining them will be Dave’s last band, the legendary punk covers outfit The Chaos Brothers along with Gaz Brookfield & The Company of Thieves, with whom he toured the UK as sound engineer.

Also featuring are a host of acts who were all championed by David in one way or another during his time as a cornerstone of the local music scene and includes parody party covers act Kova Me Badd, ska-punk band Slagerij, blues-funk three-piece Hip Route and reggae act The Erin Bardwell Trio, plus many more.

As well as the music there will be plenty of activities for all the family and food and drink from a variety of locally based vendors, including a licenced bar.

South Swindon Parish Council who manage Town Gardens have also offered their full support to the festival. Cllr Neil Hopkins, Chair of Leisure, Environment and Amenities said, “We are really pleased to be working in partnership with The Shuffle, in support of what promises to be a fantastic family-friendly music festival in the heart of Town Gardens, in aid of Prospect Hospice.

“We have plans to repair and refurbish the Bowl to improve it later this year, and after 

recently launching Theatre at the Bowl, a series of outdoor productions taking place until 20 August, as a first step to getting people back into the Bowl, this new and exciting local festival takes us that step further in helping us to realise our plans for the space and for its future.”

Ed Dyer, who is one of the Swindon Shuffle organisers added: “Dave was a huge part of The Shuffle, not only hosting it at his venues for many years but also being one of the architects of the current event.

“All of us at The Shuffle owe a huge debt of gratitude to him in one way or another as he mentored, inspired and guided us, and gave all of us, past and present, the opportunity to bring music to the people of Swindon.

“We had been discussing a summer event with South Swindon Parish Council for a while, so it seemed fitting that we took this opportunity to recognise his passion for, and huge contribution to the event and the local music scene.”

The festival is now calling on local businesses to come forward to help fund the event so that as much money as possible can be raised for the charity as well as volunteers to help on the day. Businesses and volunteers can get in touch with the team via email – mdbtydfestival@gmail.com

‘The My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival’ will be held at Town Gardens Bowl on Saturday 28 August, from midday until 10pm. Tickets are available online via seetickets.com or in person at Holmes Music and The Tuppenny in Swindon and Sound Knowledge in Marlborough.   



Early Bird (18+) - £15

Adult Ticket (18+) - £20

Concession Ticket (10-17 years) - £12

Child Ticket (Under 10 years old) – Free

Family Ticket – two adults and two concessions - £50


To keep up to date with information about the festival visit www.mydadsbiggerthanyourdad.co.uk

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