Strong Island Co.

About

Born from a simple conversation between Paul Gonella & Tristan Savage over some drinks on Albert Road, the idea for Strong Island came from our passion about where we live and the fact that we would often miss certain events, gigs, exhibitions etc and had no real source to find out about them in one place…

We launched 8 days later on the 27th September 2008 with some of our own photos and videos alongside scans of flyers we picked up and articles we dug out about the city.

Unfunded and independent we’ve managed to keep the original ethos of quite simply being a resource designed to promote, showcase and inform people about Portsmouth and Southsea’s cultural scene. Be it past, present or future we’ll do our best to keep you up to date with photos, interviews and articles about the city. However, we really couldn’t have made it this far without our readers, contributors & the people who make up this fair city. From foraging for articles to write back in 2008, to being inundated with all manner of related information now.

Strong Island has really taken off since this humble beginning, with both of us operating, maintaining, updating and writing posts in our free time outside of ‘normal’ working hours.

“One thing we set out not to do from the start is pretend we know what we are talking about with particular subjects, when we simply don’t. Due to this the team has grown and grown, with people coming in and volunteering their own time to help add their own particular knowledge on subjects yet all tied in with a love for the city and it’s culture. ”

Another principle of Strong Island is to try and not only show people what is new and what is happening with the city now but also highlight some of the city’s long and fascinating history. We also strive to create original and captivating content ourselves or with our guest writers. You can find out about who writes for Strong Island HERE.

In recent years Strong Island began to work on cultural events that brought together different aspects of the city’s culture and community in new and exciting ways. In 2011 we worked with the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth City Council in curating and managing the Strong Island Round Tower Exhibition, which brought a local landmark back to life and saw art, design and photography by local creatives viewed by over 3,000 people in two weeks – possibly the busiest exhibition of local art in Portsmouth ever. In 2012 we held our Primary exhibition which asked local people to try and photograph their city and it’s people with their mobile phones with a theme of primary colours. The exhibition opened on Albert Road with well over 500 photographs taken by over 100 people making it a huge community arts project, certainly the biggest in recent years in regards to engagement. As well as art exhibitions we run our annual Homebrew competition with the winning beer brewed by Irving and Co local brewers and distributed and sold in Hampshire and West Sussex. In 2012 we also had our first stage at local music festival Southsea Fest, with the stage packed out for the whole day. With all of our events we strive to engage local people, seek out new and interesting ways and locations to showcase local culture and we hope that all helps make a Strong Island event something different, something special.

2012 has also seen Strong Island grow dramatically in some new directions. In January we started Strong Island Media which brings together our own creative skills and services in offering graphic design, photography, film production, web design and education/training. So far we have worked with many different clients all over the South Coast and London with M&C Saatchi, Anglepoise, Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire County Council & Chichester Harbour Conservancy as a few examples. In May we launched Strong Island Clothing Co and dramatically expanded our clothing range and accessories with us selling online and at a range of events. We take great care in making sure all of our items are of the highest quality, created with care and craftsmanship and all have a sense of individuality, be that screen printed by hand or hand crafted accessories. In September we launched Strong Island Recordings, a boutique record label that strives to find, promote and release the best in underground guitar music. Strong Island teamed up with local DJs, label owners, promotors and A&R and as a collective work together to pull together our different skills and resources to make things happen in a dynamic new way. We’re working with local bands and bands from London and Hull and developing connections with bands from both the UK, Europe and beyond.

2013 sees us striving to grow these different threads of Strong Island but with a particular re-emphasis on making the Strong Island website grow, develop and continue to be the best cultural resource within Portsmouth. 2013 will see a new redesigned website and will also see us with our first real bricks & mortar home, in the heart of Albert Road. More on that soon…

Welcome to Strong Island.

Tristan & Paul

Interview with BBC Solent Radio about the Strong Island website

Interview with Claire Sambrook on BBC Radio Solent about the Strong Island Exhibition at The Round Tower.

Feature on ITV Meridian News on 25th April 2011 about the Strong Island Exhibition at The Round Tower.

Features

Strong Island Recordings Cash Free Christmas Party For Charity At The Eastney Cellars

On the 13th December Strong Island Recordings takes over one of Portsmouth’s finest establishments being the cosy little Eastney Cellars for an all day charity party in association with The Park Studio who will be kindly supplying us with much needed gear. The event hosts 11 bands as well as Champagne Justice deejays and we’ve decided to do away with cash entry for the event and instead entry for the event is a donation of non-perishable food which will be donated to local food banks.  From a tin of beans or packet of pasta to a bag full of groceries it all helps and we can all help those in need whilst having a blast.

Now for the line up. Once again we believe we’ve curated a heavyweight eclectic line-up that features some of the most exciting and up and coming acts from across the south. Headlining the day and representing the label family will be thrashy-grunge twosome Rickyfitts, quite possibly one of the finest and also loudest bands in the U.K at the moment. Also finely representing our little label is shoegaze/psychedelic outfit Dead Rabbits and garage pop duo The Boy I Used to Be. We’ve also dragged back a few of our friends who have graced our parties before. London dreampop trio Wyldest fresh from main-staging Green Man Festival and blowing up the blogosphere play later in the evening as well as everyone’s favourite blitz-pop duo Curxes. Along with both of them we’ve brought back indie rock/post-punk outfit Fever and also Death of the Author who killed it at our Southsea Fest stage back in September when they filled in last minute. New to any of ours shows is London’s shoegaze/grunge quintet Nevermind Me playing their first ever show, drone-stoner rock outfit Verletzt, doom grungers Bittertown Mary’s and also the incredible dark twisted psychedelia outfit from Southampton, ELEPHANTANTRUM who remind us of a cross between Tame Impala and The Wytches. Get ready to be dragged into their nightmare realm.

Doors on the day open at 13.oopm so get down early as you don’t want to miss any of the acts as they’re all splendid. In the event you’re coming down please do rummage through your cupboards and ask any friends or family if they have any bits they don’t mind donating too and hopefully all of us together can help those in need whilst also having a marvellous time watching some of the best bands in the country. Check out the Facebook event here as well as below with a playlist of some of the acts playing the all day Christmas party. You can also keep up to date over on our website. See you there on the 13th December for the Christmas party in Portsmouth.

xmas party

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project

After months of planning (and crossing fingers for no rain) yesterday saw as part of the launch of the 1851 Trust our joint community art project with Ben Ainslie Racing happen down at the Camber. During this past weekend street artist James Waterfield put down a base mural of The Solent on the 100+ foot long hoarding wall of the new Ben Ainslie Racing HQ, ready for yesterday’s event. From 9am yesterday morning pupils and staff arrived from six local schools: Admiral Lord Nelson, St Jude’s Primary, Charter Academy, Park Community, Ryde Academy and Ryde School ready and prepared with designs, templates and plans for yachts and sea craft, all ready to paint. Throughout the morning over 70 pupils worked with three local street artists (James Waterfield, Luke Storkey and My Dog Sighs) on their paintings of sea craft throughout the ages, their part of the huge street art mural. As well as the young artists getting covered in paint they were also helped by some of the trustees of the 1851 Trust, the Minister for Portsmouth, some of the elite racing crew from BAR and Sir Ben Ainslie.

By the time the rain started at lunchtime the mural was covered with sea craft such as fishing boats, racing yachts with colourful sails, HMS Victory (with Lord Nelson), flying boats and many, many more. The mural will be finished up this Saturday by James and will then be on display until the opening of the new BAR HQ in May next year.

A huge thank you to Pippa, Jo and the team at BAR and ITTB, the artists, the site team at their new HQ, all the fantastic staff and pupils, Jack Daly and the local people (including sailors) from Old Portsmouth who popped down and showed so much support.

Photos from Monday shown below are by Jack Daly.

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (1)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (2)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (3)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (4)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (5)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (6)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (7)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (8)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (10)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (12)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (13)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (14)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (15)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (16)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (17)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (18)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project

For the last few months we have been working with the team at Ben Ainslie Racing devising a schools street art event that for us for the first time involves both sides of the Solent! Seventy two young people from six schools in Portsmouth and Ryde will come together on the 13th October for this community art project. They will paint images from the rich maritime heritage of the Solent onto a mural on the hoardings of the construction site at the Ben Ainslie Racing headquarters. It’s a maritime history that Ben Ainslie Racing will continue from their new base on The Camber, in Portsmouth’s Old Town.

The event is to celebrate the launch of a new charity that Ben Ainslie Racing will support through a number of areas, including hosting a Visitor Centre at their new headquarters building. The art project is being coordinated by Strong Island with BAR and we’ll be working with renowned local street artists James Waterfield and Dharma 77, and the internationally recognised My Dog Sighs on the mural design.

The six local schools (St Judes Church of England School, Park Community School, Admiral Lord Nelson School, Charter Academy, Ryde School & Ryde Academy) have been invited to get involved and paint the mural too. The school children will range in age and ability from Primary School students from St Judes Church of England School, all the way to GCSE students. The young artists will paint a wide variety of craft throughout the history of travel on the Solent including flying boats and hovercraft, both built and developed on the Isle of Wight, and the latter still carrying people between Portsmouth and Ryde. The Mary Rose, a successful Tudor warship that sank fighting the French during the Battle of the Solent, salvaged and now displayed in the city. Naval ships and submarines will be there, along with previous British challengers for the America’s Cup; Sir Thomas Sopwith’s Endeavour, built in Gosport and launched into Portsmouth Harbour. Ben Ainslie Racing’s new hydrofoiling catamaran boat will also be featured.

James Waterfield will paint the background design this weekend – and everyone is invited to come along to the Camber and see it progress. It will be a skyline and seascape scene stretching across the Solent from Ryde on the Isle of Wight, to Portsmouth…With the mural along the length of the BAR HQ hoarding wall facing the harbour, all 100+ feet of it! Dharma 77 and My Dog Sighs will then join Waterfield on the 13th October to work with the art students, giving them the opportunity to learn street art skills and techniques from these local artists.

Ben Ainslie Racing’s Team Principal, Sir Ben Ainslie commented, “We really hope people will come along this coming weekend, and on the 13th and have a look at the work the students are doing. We’re really excited about this, and we’re going to find a permanent home for the best work in the Visitor Centre at the new headquarters.”

On Monday the students will be working from 9.30am until 2pm and everyone is welcome to come along and watch the mural take shape! We’ll be photographing and filming the event and will be sharing the results soon after the day too.

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (1)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (2)

Ben Ainslie Racing and Strong Island Schools Art Project (3)

Strong Island Calendar 2015 #SIC2015

Winter is coming, that means only one thing, we are working hard behind the scenes finalising our 2015 calendar. We were again overwhelmed by the demand for our 2014 calendar. This year we aim to have the calendar available for pre orders from mid October, with the copies ready for dispatch/sale in mid November.

The calendars will be available in the Strong Island Clothing Co. shop and can be posted nationally or internationally. We will no longer be offering a pick up service for your orders. You will however be able to pick up a copy directly at Southsea Gallery, Albert Road or Lou Lou’s, Marmion Road.

We will be taking submissions up until the end of October, so please keep them coming! You can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2015. There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth.

Strong Island Calendar 2015

Here are a couple of snaps which I can confirm will be included in our 2015 Calendar.

Tina Bolton South Parade Pier
By Tina Bolton
Louise Kydd Cathedral
By Louise Kydd
Jon Neil 13
By Jon Neil

Victorious Festival 2014

Like many, I loved the Dockyards as a venue and was excited to see how Victorious would look in it’s new home on Southsea Seafront. Victorious Festival 2014 surpassed all my expectations, it has evolved into a far superior event that will rival all others in the South of England.

The site looked impressive with two large stages situated on Castle Field and the Southsea Bandstand. Just north situated around Southsea Skate Park were the Silent Disco, Beer Festival and it was great to see so many market stalls selling a whole variety of different crafts, fashion and gifts from local artists and vendors.

My one regret of the weekend is the amount of things I missed, this wasn’t for the want of trying, there was simply so much great stuff going on.

On Saturday afternoon friends and I camped out at the Castle Stage underneath the most photographed sight of the past five days, the Victorious sign at the top of the hill. While enjoying a few ciders I was treated to a bit of a throw back to my college days with Sophie Ellis Bextor and Razorlight. The highlight of the day was unquestionably Dizzie Rascal. He had the whole crowd bouncing and it was a great way to end day one. If only it did end there for me though!

On Sunday morning I woke up with after very little sleep and with a slightly sore head. Never the less I was determined to get back down the seafront to catch some of the amazing music on offer.

Early in the afternoon The Day of the Rabblement amassed a bit of a crowd at the Pie & Vinyl Tent which was situated amongst the market stalls. After some food and a bimble round the arts area, some of my favourite local bands then took over the Seaside Stage. Blackfoot Circle, Burning Beaches and Kassassin Street all entertained large crowds, and by the way they were dancing around; the crowd were enjoying what they were hearing.

Next on stage were Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. They must have had the largest crowd of the day so far, and the Essex pair had most of them jumping up and down to their unique blend of Hip Hop and Electro beats.

The band I was most looking forward to was easily British Sea Power, and they didn’t disappoint! As dusk was settling in, the band treated us to hits including ‘Carrion’, ‘Machineries of Joy’ and ‘Remember Me’. You could see some of the more die hard British Sea Power fans had even brought their own tree branches to wave in the air.

As a flood of people passed me coming into the Seaside Stage for Ocean Colour Scene, I made my way over to the Castle Stage to check out another of my musical heroes, Seasick Steve. With a host of home made instruments in tow, he put on a typically great show and got a great reception from the crowd. To say I was jealous of my Strong Island colleagues watching in back stage would be an understatement. I know how hard they were worked on our stall over the weekend so I can’t begrudge them that treat! Obviously it would be criminal not to compliment the closing DJ set of the festival by 2manyDJs, a large crowd were not put off by the incoming rain and they were witness to another top performance by the Belgian duo.

I don’t think I was alone in using Monday as a day of recovery, however I still couldn’t quite shift that feeling that I wanted to do it all over again. Although perhaps not in that rain! Special mention has to go to the group of friends who made it such a fun weekend. it was the perfect way to make me forget about my imminent birthday and turning yet another year older.

It’s great to hear that the overwhelming majority shared my positive views and experiences. Everyone I encountered was in high spirits and was having a great time. I’m proud of everyone I know who were involved, the boys and girls done good, very good! I hope the staff involved had a chance to enjoy it as much as we all did. They have thrown an event which all of Portsmouth can be proud of!

Be sure to keep and eye out on our Strong Island and Victorious Festival‘s Facebook pages to see some of the amazing photo’s. I’ve had a sneak peak of what the photography team have produced and it looks great!

Photos below are by Matt Ankers, Tom Langford and Todd Lawton

TomLangford_CrowdGirl_230814

Todd Lawton Victorious

Todd Lawton

Todd Lawton Victorious

TomLangford_Bandstand_230814

Sub Focus - Victorious Festival 23/08/14

Dizee Rascal - Victorious Festival 23/08/14

British Sea Power at Victorious by Matt Ankers

Victorious Todd Lawton

Tristan Savage

Strong Island Calendar 2015 #SIC2015

With it being World Photo Day I thought it would be a good time to remind you that we are still taking submissions for our 2015 Calendar. We have got an awesome short list of images coming together but we still have space for more!

If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2015. There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth.

Along with Instagram this year we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

Strong Island Calendar 2015

Here are a couple of snaps which I can confirm will be included in our 2015 Calendar.

Jonathan Taff O'Donnell SIC2015
Jonathan O’Donnell
Angela Chick
Angela Chick

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