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Stage Times Announced For Common People Festival 2015

The 2015 Common People Festival stage times have now been released and what a line up there is to look forward too! The countdown clock is now ticking and we are but days away from a bank holiday weekend of fun and frivolity.

Common People 2015

The whole weekend is packed with bands and activities to kick start our summer with the likes of Fatboy Slim, De La Soul, Dead Rabbits, Grace Jones and Band of Skulls playing.

Don’t forget that the ‘Day of the Dead Cocktail Bus’ was recently released and is also set to have an incredible line up with entertainment coming from numerous artist’s including, Adam Baxter, Owen B, Jack Harris, Soul 45, Sam Eynon and South Beach Recycling/Midnight Riot Records.

Another exciting release is that of the ‘After Dark’ Sessions which will include Rob Da Bank and hosts such as Jordan Mckinlay, Jody Hannan and Luca Pilato.

Common People 2015

Common People 2015

The festival is very soon to kick off, starting this Saturday 23rd of May on the beautifully leafy Southampton Common. Music will set off at 11am on numerous stages and festivities will run right through until 22:45pm.

The weekend will come to a close with a firework finale in true Rob Da Bank style and the Southampton sky will be lit up with iridescent brilliance and colour.

Rob Da Bank

Follow the Facebook page for more news and updates or visit the Website for build up news. Tickets are still available on Ticketline so be sure to pick up yours! See you there!


Stand Up & Rock! Jasper Carrott And The Bev Bevan Band At The Kings Theatre

Jasper Carrott’s Stand Up & Rock did exactly what it said on the tin last night at the King’s Theatre in lovely Southsea.

Jasper Carrott

Jasper is back touring, mic in hand along with one of his best mates, Bev Bevan, who was part of the infamous band ELO.

Rockin Berries lead singer, Geoff Turton, Celtic Rock Band, Quill’s lead singer ‘Joy’ and the Bev Bevan band belted out old classics including covers of Dusty Springfield, Fleetwood Mac, Status Quo and Marvin Gaye.

The unique show not only revived some totally wondrous old songs but also got some fantastic musicians back on stage performing.


Jasper performed in Portsmouth as a young comedian and admits it is still one of his favourite spots to visit, also admitting that it sparks some incredible memories of the very stage he performed on last night and urges the community to keep the theatre alive and looked after by supporting it with bums on seats and small donations.

Jasper Carrott

It is great for one of our local historic venues to be so highly spoken of and visited by such brilliant entertainers.

Follow the show on Facebook or visit the official Website for tour dates and show information.

Portsmouth Live! Concerts as Part of Americas Cup Weekend inc. Bastille, Spandau Ballet & More

Excitement builds for the upcoming long weekend (July 23rd to 26th) of Americas Cup racing in the Solent just off of Southsea beach with more details of concerts that will be happening each night once the sails are lowered and the yachts are moored up. One of the main nights for Portsmouth Live! will be Saturday night with a heavyweight lineup by the Victorious guys featuring Bastille, Spandau Ballet, McBusted & Carly Rae Jepsen. On the Thursday and Friday evenings will be the South Coast Proms, with The Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines taking the stage for a two-hour concert plus a Naval Sunset Ceremony by the Royal Marines Corps of Drums.

Tickets for Portsmouth Live are available in 30 minutes (10am) and then until Tuesday 26th May. If you have already booked your ticket to the America’s Cup World Series event and and live in the city with a PO1 to PO6 postcode you will be able to access an ‘early bird’ opportunity exclusive to The News to secure your Saturday night ticket via:

Tickets will then go on sale to the general public after 10am on Tuesday 26th May. For pricing details visit the News website HERE.

Bastille at Blissfields, photo by Si Gross.

Strong Island Summer Portsmouth Photography Walkshops

Through Strong Island Media we have delivered photography workshops over the last 3 years to over a thousand people of all ages and abilities across the south coast. Working with Chichester Harbour Conservancy, University of Portsmouth, Making Space, Hampshire Cultural Trust plus many schools and youth groups we’ve developed Walkshops, where rather than sitting down in a classroom you actively learn different photography skills and techniques out and about with your camera, with support from a professional photographer.

We’ve delivered dozens of these Walkshops from Worthing through to Bournemouth and as far north as Surrey but for the first time we’re now offering them to the budding photographers in Portsmouth. We’re blessed with a visually rich and diverse city, with harbours, beaches, woodland, wildlife and lots of heritage to explore through photography. These photography workshops throughout the summer will take place at different locations around the city and will involve a leisurely 2 hour walk with fun & creative photo activities allowing you to find out much more about your camera and how to get the best from it in the future. We’ll be looking at composition, perspectives, textures, leading lines, creating narrative and also how to take control of aperture and shutter speed.

All you have to do is bring along your camera to take part. It can be anything from a digital compact through to an SLR and if you want to shoot 35mm film, cool! If you don’t have your own camera we have a selection of digital compacts you are free to borrow for the workshop. We can even offer 35mm SLRs for you to use if you like. Even if you just bring along your cameraphone you’ll learn loads that’ll make a big difference to your mobile photography.

Walkshops are 2 hours long (from 10am to 12pm) and cost £10 either in advance (booked online) or in person at the start of the workshop. Group size is limited to 15 per workshop. All ages welcome.

Walkshop dates and locations are as follows:

20th June – Old Portsmouth, meeting at the Round Tower
4th July – Southsea Seafront, meeting at Clarence Pier
18th July – Hilsea Lines/Foxes Forest, meeting at Hilsea
8th August – Eastney, meeting at Hayling Ferry Point
15th August – Southsea Castle
19th September – Southsea Seafront, meeting at Rose Gardens

You can book online on any of these walkshops right HERE using Eventbrite & PayPal. For more information give Paul a call on 07752 007101 or email

Seal Primary Academy

Conservancy Sunset Workshop

Chamberlayne Photography Workshop

Ghost Stories – Explore Portsmouth City Museum at Night

As part of Museums at Night (a UK wide cultural event seeing museums used out of normal hours) Portsmouth City Museum offer something a little different; explore Portsmouth Museum by torchlight as you search out guides to hear dark tales of Portsmouth. With literature classics such as M. R. James and Dickens woven into the narrative the stories will literally come to life right in front of your eyes. As you weave your way around the whole Museum, entering areas not usually opened to the public, you will hear tales of ghosts and murder. But as the tour progresses the stories become darker and darker…

The tour is on Sunday 17th May (this Sunday) and starts at 7.30pm.

Tickets £15 which must be purchased in advance online HERE. Places are very limited so book soon. Suitable for 12 years+ if accompanied by an adult.

Ghost Stories - Explore Portsmouth City Museum at Night

Portsmouth Beer Festival – This Weekend

This weekend the Portsmouth Guildhall will be hosting the second annual Portsmouth Beer Festival.

The festival will feature plenty of beers brewed from all around the UK. The team behind this weekends Portsmouth Beer Festival have put out the list of beers that you can expect to see at the festival this weekend but please note that this is subject to availability.

Thornbridge, Saltaire, Mad Squirrel, Tiny Rebel, Northern Monk Brew Co., Magic Rock, Great Heck Brewing, Beavertown, Dark Star, Titanic, Ilkley Brewery, Gipsy Hill, Arbor, Wild Beer, Vibrant Forest, Burning Sky, Liverpool Organic, Brass Castle, Naked Beer, Staggeringly Good, Wychwood, Sunny Republic, Siren Craft Brew, Milk Street, Triple FFF, Mallinsons, Longdog, Sharp’s, Irving & Co., Bowman Ales, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Southsea Brewing Co., Upham, Hopback Brewey, Suthwyk Ales, Langham, Sixpenny Brewery, Joseph Holt, Exmoor Ales, Thwaites, Arkells, The Great Yorkshire Brewery, Merrie City, Belhaven, Marston’s, Ringwood, Belma and Bank’s.

There will also be plenty of awesome food available along with live music from bands including the Southsea Alternative Choir, Jerry Williams, Fleetingwood Mac, Bog Rolling Stones and Elasticated Waste Band with many more to be announced soon!

Tickets are now only available from Meat & Barrel, Leopold Tavern, Brewhouse and Portsmouth Guildhall box office and online.

You can follow the event and receive updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Portsmouth Beer Festival 2015

Tall Ships Open Day in Portsmouth on Thursday 14th

The Tall Ships Youth Trust are welcoming Stavros S Niarchos back to Portsmouth on Thursday 14th May with an open day for the public. You can explore their 200ft Tall Ship, 72ft Challenger Yachts and the Tall Ships Catamaran. The open day is from 1pm to 5pm.

The 200ft brig is the biggest to be built in the UK in a century and the open day will give everyone the opportunity to go on board, explore her magnificent decks and learn more about a modern day square rigged brig.

For all photographers: Stavros S Niarchos is expected to be alongside in Gunwharf at 10am in case you wanted any photos of her sailing in from the Hot Walls between 8.30am to 9:30am.

If you’ve always wanted to sail a Tall Ship, there are a few spaces left on the Day Sail out of Portsmouth on Saturday 16th May, alternatively if you’d like to commit to a longer voyage there is a 6 night French Cruise taking place on Sunday 17th May, giving you an insight to life at sea. On the French sail you will cross the English Channel and experience the stunning coastlines of France and a variety of wildlife. To book and to find out more about the Trust, please visit the Tall Ships website:

Stavros S Niarchos

Stavros S Niarchos

Portsmouth Beer Festival – May 2015

On Friday 15th & Saturday 16th May the Portsmouth Guildhall will be hosting the second annual Portsmouth Beer Festival.

The festival will feature plenty of beers brewed from all around the UK, including a variety of pale ales and golden beers which are perfect for the summer months ahead. Not forget there will also be more of my personal favourites, the darker stouts and porters. Expect to see beers from the likes of Ilkley, Dark Star and Tiny Rebel as well as local brewers The Brewhouse, Havant and Irving & Co to name just a few.

Co organiser Ben Miles says, “We’re proud that The Portsmouth Beer Festival is back for a second year after the sell-out weekend in May and December 2014. A celebration of craft beers and cask ales, alongside a selection of ciders, draught beer and delicious street food all set to the backdrop of more fantastic live entertainment including the Southsea Alternative Choir, Bog Rolling Stones and Elasticated Waste Band with many more to be announced soon!

During the festival the pub games room will again be open and the Saturday evening session will feature prize giveaways as well as a traditional meat raffle with a modern twist sponsored by Bransbury Park Butchers. Keep an eye out on Strong Island next week as I will be featuring some of the great live music you can expect to hear over the weekend.

Tickets are priced at £10 per person per session (some venues subject to booking fee) and include a souvenir beer glass, programme and beer token. Tickets are available online at, Portsmouth Guildhall Box Office, Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle – Southsea, The Brewhouse, Leopold Tavern and from our own Strong Island HQ at 12 Highland Road (open Thursday-Saturdays).

The festival is fast earning a reputation as one of the best events in the city. If you have never been before then I encourage you to get some tickets for yourself and some friends and check it out for yourself.

You can follow the event and receive updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages.


Portsmouth Beer Festival

Portsmouth Pride 2015 – Saturday 20th June

Saturday saw Portsmouth Pride officially launch their event with a celebration of securing a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, allowing the event to grow from its small Victoria Park origins. The cities’ first Pride event since 1999 will now feature two distinct celebrations; a family-friendly parade led by a variety of local groups including a ‘Cavalcade of LGBT Characters Through History’ created by the Groundlings Theatre from Guildhall to the common where the parade will join the Portsmouth Pride Variety Show. The show promises to be fun all-family affair featuring two live music stages,  market stalls and information points where you can find out about Portsmouth’s LGBT community.

The organisers are encouraging members of the public to show their support by ‘sending a selfie’ to their Facebook page making sure you include the rainbow colours and as many friends as you can muster. The best images will be featured in a film to be produced after the show so crafty creativity is highly recommended.

As a lasting legacy to Pride, the organisers have also been working with LGBT awareness and inclusion charity Stonewall on a project focussed on local schools to create a network of ambassadors and mentors whose goal is to eradicate bullying and prejudice in whatever form it takes, from racism to disability discrimination. 

You can keep up with events through the Pride Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @portsmouthpride2015.

A Midsummer Nights Dream At The Groundlings Theatre

Portsmouth’s Groundling’s Theatre has this week been transformed into a wooded, magical and glittering set to host Shakespear’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

With productions running all the way from May 7th-May 16th the cast have given nothing but jaw dropping, dramatic and poetic performances which are an absolute must see.

The teasing, inventive and hilarious play with slight undertones of fleeting seriousness is exceptional and the theatre and its wonderful cast of actors and actresses have outdone themselves yet again.

Supporting the countries oldest theatre and one that we are lucky enough to call our local is vital to its continued success and so the team at the Groundlings invite everyone to attend and take part in these wonderful adaptations.

Follow the theatre on Facebook or visit the Website for upcoming performances, dates and times.



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Southsea Strong Island Celebrates

I just can’t find the right images for this! Strong Island is 1 whole year old this Sunday the 27th. Time surely does fly hey. Meet us for a beer if you’re out and about. I think there’s something going on Albert Road this Sunday too…


and on another note…


Created Local – David Thompson

The Hiscock Gallery on Stanley Street behind Waitrose has some interesting new vintage style prints in stock by local artist David Thompson. They are a series of digitally drawn images reflecting upon 1930 – 1950s style advertising posters, enhanced with modern techniques. A really nice simplistic approach highlighting the main features of the subject, yet still very technical and intricate in places. The front of The Victory is awesome.

All reproductions are genuine giclée prints, printed with pigment based inks on 180gms Canon Matte paper, fade resistant for 100+ years. These “Poster” Prints are all personally signed by the artist. Head on over to Davids Gallery and take a look for yourself. Nice stuff for sure.

Created Local – Mikey Ayling

Good friend of Strong Island and many Southsea locals, Mikey is quite the talent. He’s always been into art, design, photography, fashion, skateboarding, music and well, let’s just say all the cool stuff. He recently began his second year in Graphic Design (Communication Design) at Portsmouth University and he’s killing it.

Matt Sills from the Wallspace Gallery has helped Mikey produce 3 prints, on sale now, of which the ants ‘Tower Block’ is a limited run of 100 Giclee print and the others, ‘Do You Dream’ and ‘Love Life’ are open edition screen prints.

Get down Albert Road and grab yourself one of Mikeys prints. Seriously, these are like hotcakes I’m sure of it. Oh, and pop past The Little Johnny Russells Market on your way and grab some bargains.




The Old Portsmouth and The New Southsea

Gareth Colwell sent us these amazing scans from a vintage book called ‘The Old Portsmouth and The New Southsea. “It was an old book of my Grandads’ we found when going through some of his old stuff that had been packed away for years. I love the paintings and the written bits, especially describing Southsea Common as “a dismal spot in the old days. Footpads and cut-throats roamed at night, and a murderer hung in chains on the edge of the shingle”

A really interesting read so I won’t say anymore and let the book do all the talking. Check out the full set of scans over at Gareths Flickr.

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Big thanks to Khalid who sent over these vintage photographs scanned from The Images of Portsmouth (1993). We have a small selection so I’ll put one page up each week.

Love this first shot of the band stand on the common in the 1920s showing how the site was originally used before the Skatepark was built around it in the 70s. So many deckchairs, it must have been big business back then. It’s a shame they didn’t keep the bandstand as it was with the little steps and iron railing. It’s a little different NOW as Marcus’s ariel shot shows. Click the image to see the high res scan up close.

Portsmouth – Not The New Malta

Do you remember our post about Portsmouth, The New Malta and the advertising campaign that has been going on? The Telegraph has written a short article in response to the campaign. Check it out HERE and follow it up in the comments. Unfashionable, now come on Telegraph.

“We probably get about two weeks of sunshine at best, and you are more used to seeing people fighting than socialising in a quaint café,” said Tim Courtnell, a life-long Portsmouth resident. “The beach at Southsea is a mixture of shingle and Stella Artois cans on most days, and you wouldn’t think of swimming in the sea.”


Vintage Southsea Postcards

You know we love a bit of vintage nostalgia here at Strong Island, and these old postcards of Clarence Pier are no exception. I always pick them up at the Car Boot sale opposite Clarence when I see one. When does the Car Boot start up again? Got to be soon. Answers on a postcard…



Created Local – Matt Howarth

Local illustrator, blogger, cyclist and member of the I Love Dust crew has just relaunched his website with a brand new design and loads of new content. be sure to take some time and give it a good look, plenty of visual gems in there.

Local Photographer – Harvey Mills

Okay, so it’s not quite on the Island, but hey, when the content is this good we can forget about the extra few miles. Harvey Mills shoots Murray Cross chomping the Langstone 13 set on the Havant roundabout with ease. Perfect timing and composition from Harvey.

Check out Harvey’s webiste and also his Flickr. Below are photos of Charles and Southsesa’s buttery own Bored teamrider Adam Keys.

Matt O’Neill

Matt is one of Southsea and Portsmouth’s legendary skateboarders since all the way back to the 80s. This footage was filmed all in one evening about a year ago, still one of the best skaters to ever step on a board on this fair isle.

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