Strong Island Co.

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


Todd Lawton Victorious

Todd Lawton

Todd Lawton Victorious


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

South Parade Pier Petition

For those who aren’t aware, South Parade Pier is Grade II listed building which means Portsmouth City Council has legal powers to order repairs, however they have declined to use them. The pier has had no major repairs since new owners bought it in 2010 and is now in a state of progressive collapse and boarded up by Portsmouth City Council due to it being unsafe. New operators have claimed since February that they own the pier but have not actually purchased it, according to latest information from the Land Registry.

South Parade Trust have organised more than 12,000 people have now signed a petition for listed building repairs to be ordered at the pier. The Trust announced the petition milestone this week after a phenomenal weekend of canvassing at the Victorious Festival. They collected nearly four signatures a minute throughout the entire weekend.

South Parade Trust are a community group calling for full, immediate, end-to-end repairs at the pier to allow the restoration of safe public access to the whole pier. Chairman Leon Reis explains “Before Victorious, nearly 8,000 people had signed our petition – a great success in its own right. But today the total is 12,195,” he said.

“It is important to note that 12,195 signatures is equivalent to more than 8% of the entire 147,000 Portsmouth electorate registered with the council – enough to swing the entire council elections next May if people voted for candidates supporting full, end-to-end repairs to the pier.

“The council continues to spend £3,000 of ratepayers’ money every week on security at the pier but does not try to recover it from the owners of the pier, nor does it attempt to enforce either of the two court orders against the owners that PCC spent ratepayers’ money on going to court to win.

“South Parade Trust only need 1,000 signatures to automatically generate a delegation to the full council and a debate on this issue, and we will continue to collect signatures until we are ready to present the petition to the council. One question the council has still to answer is: how many signatures from local people do we need before they will start to listen to what the people of this city want?”

If you have not signed the petition then you still can online via Please take the time to sign it and share with friends.

You can follow the South Parade Trust on Facebook and Twitter @PeoplesPier1.

South Parade Pier - 1932

Catherine Taylor
Catherine Taylor
Luke O'Brien Calendar
Photo by Luke O’Brien

Luke Ferre EP Launch @ The Eastney Cellars

A couple of weeks ago Luke Ferre released the video for his new track ‘Bloodshot’. This was the first track taken from his upcoming EP of the same name.

Luke will be performing with a full band at the official launch party at Eastney Cellars the 4th September. For more information on how you get a ticket check out the Facebook Event Page HERE.

For info on upcoming shows, more news and more of his witty humour Luke can be found on Facebook, Twitter @lukeferre, YouTube and iTunes.

Luke Ferre

Our Picks For No 6 This September

If you haven’t visited the No. 6 Cinema before then we highly recommend it, it is a mix of thoughtful art house cinema, vintage Hollywood classics and new blockbusters all within the historic blockhouse in the dockyard.

The team have a great evening planned to offer you in the company of the wittertainer himself, Mr Mark Kermode. On Thursday 25th September at 7.30pm he will be presenting his stage show ‘Hatchet Job: LOVE Movies, HATE Critics’.

Tickets are available either through this website HERE or from the front desk at Action Stations for £15 (£12 concessions). The bar will be open after the show if you would like the chance to meet the man himself.


Here are a selection of movies we recommend you check out. Be sure to check the No. 6 website for full list of all the movies this being shown

The Wind Rises (PG) on Thursday 4th Sept at 19:00

Visionary director Miyazaki delivers his farewell masterpiece and once again defies the conventional limitations of animation in depicting the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the engineer who designed the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Young Horikoshi is fascinated by flight, and dedicates his life to building flying machines but with Japan’s entry into World War II he begins to feel a terrible guilt because of the machines he has devised and the deaths they have caused. This profound and beautiful film deftly combines Ghibli’s mesmerising style with an achingly beautiful love story and asks hard questions about humanity,

*Please note that we will be screening the dubbed version (not the subtitled one).

Predator (18) on Friday 5th Sept at 19:00

Arnold Schwarzenegger leads an elite squad of US Army commandos to the South American jungle, where they ve been assigned to search for officials who ve been kidnapped by terrorists. Instead Arnold finds himself pitted against a hideous alien creature that is heavily armed and wearing a spacesuit enabling the creature to render itself invisible. But lets face it, we all know how awesome this movie is and how often do we get the chance to see it on the big screen? A must see for Sci Fi and Horror fans!

Belle (12A) on Saturday 13th Sept at 19:00

The illegitimate child of Admiral Sir John Lindsay and an African woman, Dido is raised in England under the care of her great-uncle Lord Mansfield. Although Elizabeth immediately becomes her inseparable friend, Lord and Lady Mansfield are tormented by the question of Dido’s social status – ‘too good’ to dine with the servants, but ‘not good enough’ to entertain their guests.

Her fate takes an unexpected turn, however, when she falls in love with an idealistic young man who helps not only to advance Lord Mansfield’s career, but also to eventually halt the practice of slavery in England.

Finding Vivian Maier (12A) on Friday 19th Sep at 19:00

This documentary takes as its starting point the accidental discovery by estate agent John Maloof of a huge cache of negatives. It was only later that he realised their importance: he had stumbled upon a wealth of stunning photographs by Vivian Maier, an unsung talent who had worked as a nanny in Chicago and New York from the 1950s to the 1990s.

Maloof’s discovery resulted in Maier’s recognition as one of the most vivid street photographers of the 20th century. Paying homage to her work as well as exploring the strange twists and turns of her life, this film is dense with images, interviews and revelations.

No. 6 Cinema

Victorious Festival 2014 Preview | #11 The Best Of The Local Talent

Over the past six weeks I have been previewing my personal highlights at this years Victorious Festival. If you have missed my previews of Seasick Steve, British Sea Power, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and co then click HERE to find out what you have missed. I have complied a selection of the best local acts down to perform over the weekend for you to check out…

Blackfoot Circle are a band that I’ve been listening to for what must be close to fifteen years. They’ve undergone a few name and line up changes over that time, but as Blackfoot Circle they have been one of Portsmouth best, and most loved indie bands. I recommend that you venture over to the Seaside Stage on Sunday to see the awesome Jake Bezzina and the rest of the guys put on what is bound to be a great set!

It’s been a great year for The Boy I Used To Be. They have signed to Pie & Vinyl Records and played a number festivals this summer, receiving rave reviews in the process. Our Blissfields correspondent Sophie Perryer described their sounds as “a melange of folk, pop, indie, alternative, with a touch of rock, garage and psychedelia thrown in for good measure.” You can find them doing what they do best at the Pie & Vinyl Stage on Sunday.

Psychedelic rock and garage pop band Burning Beaches were one of my highlights of this years Blissfields. With Mike Bracken on drums, Dan Sayer on bass, Luke Bowman on guitar and Portsmouth lad Sam McCarthy on lead vocals, Burning Beaches are bound to please fans of good old fashioned rock music. Catch them over on the Seaside Stage this Sunday.

Local folk band Day of the Rabblement took their name from a short essay by James Joyce written in 1901 stressing the importance of free art that remains true to the artist. It is with this in mind that the Rabblement write a set of thought-provoking and contemporary songs, blended with aspects of Celtic and American folk music. They have the perfect stage to showcase their music, they can be found in the Real Ale Festival Stage on Sunday.

One of my favourite finds of the year was the Deluxe Flamingos and their track ‘Where Is My Ray?’. PJ Davy, Mike James and Canadian singer/songwriter, Aviv make up the trio. They credit a whole range of influences from Mogwai, David Bowie, M83 to the Nine Inch Nails, Sonic Youth and the Pixies. You will be able to check them out for ourselves in the Beats & Swing Tent on Saturday.

Matt Jarvis is a bit of a regular on Strong Island but there is a reason we like to feature him and new work, it’s because he’s flippin fantastic! One of the nicest descriptions of Matt’s live performances was from Sophie Perryer again, “Matt Jarvis wove magic through his lyrics and stunned them to silence with beautiful melodies.” You will be able to find Matt perform on Saturday on the Nevada Music Acoustic Stage and in the Pie & Vinyl Tent on Sunday.

Popobawa are one of the newest bands on the local music circuit, and definitely the most exciting. I first saw the Gosport based trio was at the Road To Blissfields competition at the Cellars in Eastney. Granted they’d brought a scattering of their own fans, however they quickly won over everybody in the audience and had them dancing. Not bad for their first ever live performance! I expect to see these guy flourish and become of the South Coasts best bands. Don’t just take my word for it, check them out in the Pie & Vinyl Tent on Sunday.

Kassassin Street consists of Rowan Bastable (vocals and guitar), Nathan Hill (drums), Ryan Hill (guitar), Andy Hurst (keys and laptop) and Tom Wells (bass). The band state that they are inspired by 60′s/70′s beat, psychedelia and more modern artists like Primal Scream, Spiritualized and Death in Vegas.

They are already one of the most popular bands in the local area, they have been playing shows and festivals far and wide this summer. They will be finishing off what has been a busy summer by playing Bestival and Southsea Fest. See them at Victorious at the Seaside Stage on Sunday.

Last but by no means least are The Southsea Alternative Choir. They are a group of Southsea’s finest gents who in 2010 joined forces to raise money for SamuelsFund, a local child with Cerbral Palsy.

Since their original formation the rabble have turned into what almost resembles an proper band. The guys behind it are all very modest but they have done a fantastic job and raised thousands for a great cause. They’ve gone from busking around Southsea to appearing at major festivals including next months Bestival and Southsea Fest.

The Choir will be looking after the Nevada Music Acoustic Stage and can be found performing themselves on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

So thats it from me and my previews for this weekend. Have a great time and don’t forget to come and see us in the Strong Island Tent!

The Shutka Champions win the title of best named band at Victorious, yes better than Pissy Elliot on the Pie and Vinyl Stage. The band’s name comes from an independent film entitled ‘True Stories: The Shutka Book of Records’ celebrating life in Shutka, the largest Roma community in The Balkans (Republic of Macedonia) where everyone believes in their own uniqueness and strives to be a champion in anything imaginable – fishing, sex, seeing the scariest vampire, collecting Turkish music cassettes or training fighting geese!

The guitar heavy psychedelic five piece can be found having a drink in the Real Ale Festival Stage on Saturday. Lucky that, as it is also where they are performing.

You can stay up to date on all things Victorious via Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

Victorious Festival 2014 Preview | #10 Civilisation of the Rough Lost Garden

Civilisation of the Rough will be Victorious Festival‘s dirty little secret this weekend. The COR team are inviting you to join them in their Lost Garden hidden somewhere on the site. They will be joined by legendary and DJ talent over the weekend.

Saturday begins with Brighton’s Go Bang playing a selection of disco and house tunes supported by their visuals ace Matt Page. Headlining in the evening will be Diesel and Rocky aka X-Press 2.

On Sunday the COR team will be joined by Joe’s Bakery and Justin Robertson. As the COR team describes, “Justin has a CV of production credits which reads longer than most peoples record collections and a DJ history which reflects his standing at the very top of his profession Justin is guaranteed to smash yet another in a summer of headlining the very best festivals”.

Of course lets not forget that the Civilisation of the Rough residents: Leon Windsor, Mark Persaud, Ross Prior, Mick Hood and Steve Laming will be on scene to provide their usual mix of balearic beats, electro, disco and house.

COR Lost Garden

You can stay up to date on all things Victorious via Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

Saturday is now a sell out but there are a few tickets left for Sunday so get in there quick! You can purchase adult day tickets for £20 from the website HERE. Kids tickets cost £6 but those under the age of five require a ticket however it is at no cost.

Portsmouth Batala At Notthing Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival will be celebrating it’s 50th anniversary on Monday. As part of the celebrations Portsmouth Batala will be joining forces to perform with 250 Batala drummers from around the world. Anyone who has previously seen the gang in action will know how awesome they are, I’m gutted that I won’t be up there myself as I would love to see this. If you are lucky enough to be in Notting Hill this Monday then be sure to check them out!

Find out more on their website HERE, Facebook and Twitter @PompeyBatala.

Batala Portsmouth

Victorious Festival Competition | Win Two Sunday Tickets

The team behind Victorious Festival have kindly donated two tickets for next Sundays festivities. All you had to do was answer to the following questions.

Q. What artist appearing at Victorious did I dress up as at Bestival?
A. Seasick Steve
Q. Name the former Southsea resident who is now the bassist for London based band Felt Tip?
A. Jade Spranklen
Q. Which Brit Award winning artist appearing at Victorious is from Chichester?
A. Tom Odell

Congratulations goes to the lucky winner Jamie Horn.

Saturday is now a sell out but there are a few tickets left for Sunday so get in there quick! You can purchase adult day tickets for £20 from the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for FREE, but still require a ticket.

You can stay up to date on all things Victorious via Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

Victorious Festival 2014

Victorious Festival 2014 Preview | #9 British Sea Power

Eleven years on since their debut album, the British Sea Power are still very much one my favourite bands of all time. So you can understand how excited I was to find out that they’d be announced on the Victorious Festival line up.

The band consists of Jan Scott Wilkinson (vocals, guitar), Martin Noble (guitar), Neil Hamilton Wilkinson (bass guitar, vocals, guitar), Matthew Wood; (drums), Phil Sumner (cornet, keyboards) and Abi Fry (viola). The band were conceived in Reading where they were attending university. It is there that they released a four track demo as the British Air Powers, before moving to Brighton and becoming what we now know to be the British Sea Power. They began to gain quite a following by hosting their own club night ‘Krankenhaus’ which was most frequently hosted at the Freebutt and the Lift clubs.

The bands debut album ‘The Decline of British Sea Power’ was released in June 2003 to critical acclaim and led to a hugely successful tour. In 2004 they were recognised by Time Out as ‘Live Band of the Year’ and 2008 they were also nominated for a the prestigious Mercury Prize.

I have been lucky enough to see a lot of live music over the past decade and I have to say the British Sea Power have been one of the best. They’ve played some of the most unique venues in the UK including Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall, a River Mersey ferry in Liverpool and Jodrell Bank Observatory.

To my knowledge they are probably the only band playing at Victorious who have hosted their own music festival, ‘Sing Ye From The Hillsides!’ hosted in the Tan Hill Inn, in North Yorkshire. The Inn is the UK’s highest pub.

You can catch them for yourselves at Victorious Festival on Sunday 24th at the Seaside Stage. Find out more about the band on their website, Facebook and Twitter @BSPOfficial.

British Sea Power

You can stay up to date on all things Victorious via Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

The festival will be held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August, adult day tickets are currently available for Sunday. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for FREE, however you still need to pick up a free ticket for them.

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 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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The Abrooks

The infamous 1980s Southsea locals Mark & Barry Abrook, doubles on the halfpipe at the skatepark from 1990.


Southsea Ramblers Association – Watership Down

We burst the bubble again last weekend for a pretty epic ramble, or should I say hike. Taking the advice of the Guardian Newspaper we embarked on a 6 hour walk across the North Wessex Downs. Although the walk is a good 45 minute drive away it’s well worth the journey and the reward at the end is one of the finest pubs I’ve ever eaten at, the Roayl Oak. Check out my Flickr for the full set.




Portsmouth at Night

Claire Sambrook from the sent me a link to a Flickr group called Portsmouth at Night, and let me say this, their photos are amazing. Lots of playing with lights, angles and exposures make for some fantastic photography.

Check out all the PAN photography on their Flickr.




Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ by Sue Pike

I’ve been holding on to this for a while now as I wanted to make a feature of it and had to wait for the exhibition to finish to give it pride of place on the front page. If like myself you’re always looking around at our local architecture you will have noticed many of the buildings within the book Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’. Some could even be right on your doorstep but you have never noticed, or peeked over that high wall. Thomas Ellis Owen’s work is all over the city and you’d be forgiven for walking past as a lot of it is hidden or down those streets you may not stroll down too often. Other buildings however are right in your face. Ever noticed the huge block of flats at the entrance to Waitrose, the detailing on the building at Dover Court opposite the old Havana bar?

“Thomas Ellis Owen is probably the best known of Portsmouth’s nineteenth century architects, his construction of villas and substantial terraces in Southsea being responsible for the emergence of the district as a middle class locality. His work was recognised by Pevsner and Lloyd in their magisterial Buildings of England: Hampshire, and later by a rather more detailed architectural enquiry by two students, Preedy and Stewart. My own research was principally concerned with dating Owen’s properties and analysing their inhabitants. What Sue Pike has done is to cast the net very much wider, not only by providing great detail about Owen’s family, but also by demonstrating the impressive breadth of his activities outside architecture. Indeed, his interests were so wide that there must have been few aspects of Portsmouth’s development in the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s in which he was not involved. Infrastructural fields such as gas supply, the Portsea Canal, railways, the Camber Docks and hospitals lay within his purview, while he assisted in the purchase of land for one of Portsmouth’s defining features, the Palmerstonian forts. His tithe map has proved of inestimable value to local historians. Meanwhile Owen was an important local politician. All these facets of Owen’s life have been fully laid bare in this thoroughly well researched book by Sue Pike, who is to be congratulated on her labours.” Professor Ray Riley

Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ is a really interesting read and contains stunning colour photos of many Owen properties in Southsea and Alverstoke by Gosport photographer, Tim Martin. There is no real target audience and hopefully it will appeal to old and young alike. The detailed captions may be helpful to first year architecture students but it showcases Southsea well and may well appeal equally to academics, photographers, interested newcomers and people who just want a really nice book to put on their coffee table. I’m a huge fan of both history and architecture so this book is a real winner for me, and I have no doubt that if that’s not really your bag you will still appreciate what Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ has to offer.

You can purchase a hardback copy for £25 via the publishers and and read up on the book and the author Sue Pike over at

Google Maps – Street View

Portsmouth now has street view enabled on Google Maps, giving an interesting perspective of the city. Good to see it was a nice, sunny day in Southsea when the car drove through. Sadly no Old Portsmouth though.

Strong Island Clothing Co.