Hardwicke Circus have capped a stunning 2019 with an invite to next year's South By South West (SXSW) festival - one of the world's leading musical events.

Based in Austin, Texas, the festival started in 1987 as a music and media conference but has grown into one of the world's largest and most influential shows, ranging from music and film to technology, education and medicine.

It has been responsible for making stars of acts such as Katy Perry, White Stripes, Amy Winehouse, Janelle Monae and Haim.

The Carlisle band have been approached to appear at next year's SXSW festival in March and have launched a special appeal for fans to help fund them - and claim a chance to go there as well.

They are holding a raffle with a top prize of two tickets to Austin for the festival, including a week’s accommodation and $500 spending money.

Frontman Jonny Foster said: "It is great news to get invited to what is recognised worldwide as a music industry leading event.

"We have been gigging constantly for the past two years to get to this point and this was on the list of things we wanted to tick off/

"We were playing in Brighton and some people to do with the festival said 'you guys would be great out there'.

"We jumped at the chance, but we are an independent band and not backed by a big record label."

While it was fantastic to get the offer, the band still has to find a way of financing its trip over to Texas next March.

Jonny said: "There are six of us in the band, plus our manager and sound manager and we have to get there, hire transport, equipment and get accommodation.

"We are proudly Cumbrian and we thought we would appeal to the community to help us get there and came up with the idea of the raffle.

"We are calling on fans and the people of Cumbria to get behind us and buy a ticket.

"Without this crowdfunding, it would be difficult to get there and it is a huge opportunity for us to step into the US music scene."

In July, Hardwicke Circus supported two of the biggest legends in music when Bob Dylan and Neil Young appear at Hyde Park.

The dream date came after they were spotted by ace agent Barry Dickins when they were playing one of their regular gigs in London.

Dickins, who formed the internationally-renowned music agency International Talent Booking, saw them at the famous Hope & Anchor pub which has hosted scores of bands before they found fame - such as U2, The Clash, Keane and Dire Straits.

Jonny added: "Joining up with Barry Dickins, playing Hyde Park and now this - it has been a great year for us."

Other prizes up for grabs in the SXSW raffle include an intimate performance from the group, in a venue of your choice plus a bundle of Hardwicke Circus goodies including CD’s, Vinyl, T Shirts, Badges and their own branded Hardwicke Circus Bruce & Luke’s coffee. Winning tickets will be drawn on Valentine's Day. Tickets are £20 from www.hardwickecircus.tv/raffle