THE local grassroots music festival, Swindon Shuffle, and local speedway team, Swindon Robins, have announced the Robins as the headline sponsor of this year’s festival.
The festival, now in its tenth year, celebrates the local original music community and also champions upcoming acts from the wider region.
This year’s festival officially runs from Wednesday 13th to Sunday 17th July and follows the format commonly termed as an ‘in the city’ music festival, using existing music pubs and venues in the Old Town area of Swindon, plus a more unusual venue in Swindon Central Library.
“We’re delighted to be partnering up with Swindon Robins,” said Ed Dyer, one of the organisers of the Swindon Shuffle. “Not only will they provide us with the financial backing that helps us to keep the festival accessible to all by making it free entry to the public, but they will help us to further establish the Swindon Shuffle name as an important part of the Swindon community, in the same way the Robins have been for the last 70 years.”
It is not just a one way partnership, however, since the Shuffle will also be helping Swindon Robins to raise awareness of the team and the sport to a younger audience who may not be aware that Swindon has a speedway team, especially an Elite League level team who have won the GB league title as recently as 2012.
“We are the first speedway club to be headline sponsor of a music festival,” said Swindon Robins Commercial Manager, Stella Walton. “We are proud to be supporting such a culturally rich event in the local community, especially as the festival is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.
“We quickly realised this partnership will be great for the Shuffle and the Robins, both in terms of supporting each other as local organisations and the potential for cross promoting to each other’s fans.
“Swindon has a brilliant speedway team competing in the top league in Great Britain, but I’m not sure how many younger people in the town realise this, and the Shuffles core audience age range of 18 to 45 is who we need to attract more of to race days.
Reflecting on why it is the younger generation who speedway needs to target, Stella continued: “Speedway was massive in the 1970s, but it has lost out in terms of coverage and audience to bigger global sports in the last couple of decades, however we are seeing a revival now as its exciting and dangerous in what is becoming a more and more sanitised sporting world.
“These bikes can accelerate from 0-60 faster than a Formula 1 car and they don’t even have brakes, meaning the riders have to be fearless and makes them the closest thing we have to modern day gladiators.”
As a newcomer to watching speedway this year, fellow festival organiser Paul Jellings added: “I’d seen speedway on the television, particularly with the Robins making the play-offs last year, but I’d never been to a race before this season and it is so much more exciting to see live!
“The atmosphere in the stadium is brilliant on race day, and the speed and the danger seems so much more real stood at the trackside. It really gives you a much better appreciation of how skilled the riders are, and how much more risk they take than even a Formula 1 driver.
“This is why I believe it’s great that we are now working together as I’m sure there are more people out there like I was, who are speedway fans but just don’t know it yet.”
Anyone wanting to find out more about the Swindon Shuffle music festival, including the latest line up information, can visit www.swindonshuffle.org.uk, and anyone wanting to find out more about Swindon Robins Speedway Team can visit www.swindonrobins.co.