Old Town music festival inspires local poet

By Jessica Durston - 2 September 2021

Arts and Culture

Self-proclaimed Swindon poet Tony Hillier waxes lyrical about last weekend’s My Dad’s Bigger than your Dad Festival which took place last weekend.

  • Tony Hillier at the 'My Dad' festival

    Tony Hillier at the 'My Dad' festival

The festival took place at the Old Town Bowl on Saturday 28 August. 

The event was in aid of Prospect Hospice in tribute to music scene legend Dave Young, the former owner of The Vic and 12 Bar, who tragically died earlier this year from cancer and was cared for at the hospice.

Tony Hillier's poems can be found below:

The first was written after hearing the news of the premature passing of Music Impresario and Mentor, Dave Young, 6 June 2021

Music Man

Dave Young

Always young

And among

Swindon Greats

Stick out your tongue

Defo among

a life of song

Whacky Wensdaze

Partying hard

Playing Carry Okey dokey

At it's own game

Brought Vic fame

piled on its rep

for gigs let rip

from Music Man

with cheekie charm

backed up by

talent and tech skill

and a strong will

of kindness

like Shuffling and Praising

and roof raising

12 Xmas bands

like Costellos for one

and a thousand and one

and more

musicians and fans

Dave the True Rave

Forever brave

served music with love

Music Man

The next two poems were a product of inspiration from the 'My Dad' festival, written on 28 August 2021:


Young Thud

“Do you know these guys?”
“Yeah. That guitarist there is my dad”
The pre-teen girl glowed.

He’s a punk man. She’s heavy metal
And that girl over there luv’s ska
And there you are
A Swindon Bowlful of Musical Cherries!

Who did that? You did that Dave
You did that Vic and 12 Bar
You raised the bar. You raised it.
You raised it, we stood at it. Stood @bar.
Created music and dances @bar
There you are Dave.

(THUD is an original band with bluesy intent.

Vocals - John Kane Bass - Martin DiRuzza Drums - Terry Marshall Guitar - Shed Judd

Formerly Fake Walnut Dash, THUD is the latest incarnation from some familiar faces on the Swindon music scene)


In the Company of Young Thieves

Jon ‘new haircut’ Buckett
Keyboard King. Respect.
Wouldn’t play with rubbish
Six King Thieves of Music
play their hearts out
hearts in plectrums and Leks’ drumsticks
hearts in every key change
capo and shakin’ tambourine
Swindon Bowl crowd awed
Awed with respect and deep joy
Deep joy, touched by Dave
Thieves touchingly performed for Dave
We all here are touched by Dave
Deep joy merged with sadness
remembering Dave ‘12 Bar Vic’ Young
No notes missing with
Gaz Brookfield and the Company of Thieves
Missing Dave


Backstage Dave

Backstage, a place Dave knew well.
So well.

He knew front stage and on stage too
But his big heart and huge talent
was always backstage

Lighting, vocals, set list and mixer control
He knew them like the back of his hand
Putty in Dave’s hands, sweat on his brow

All worked out and meshed together
Issues ironed out like a Bowie sharp suit
Bands felt held; safe in Dave’s hands

He had it covered. Cover bands to cover costs as
Dave treasured originals, nurtured novices, passed too soon
Yet today, in some ways, he still backstages our lives.

Tony Hillier can be contacted via poemogram@hotmail.com 

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