Strong Island Co.

Music & Bands

Victorious Festival Preview #1 Basement Jaxx

The festival season is in full swing and it’s less than a month to Victorious Festival. In the build up to the event we are going to be previewing some of highlights you can expect to find at the festival.

What better place to start than Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe aka Basement Jaxx. Since 1999 and the release of the debut album Remedy the pair are have been the one of the most loved acts on the dance scene. The pair have racked up a number of well known hits including “Where’s Your Head At”, “Romeo”, “Red Alert” and “Rendez Vous”.

I anticipate their set will feature many of their classics along with singles from their most recent album Junto. You will be able to find Basement Jaxx headlining the Castle Stage on the Sunday night. Looking at their most recent live shows this should be a colourful end to the festival with plenty of incredible guest vocalists joining them on stage, making this one of the performances not to miss over the weekend.

The festival is being held on Southsea Common on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August. Tickets are still available and you can pick one up via the website HERE, or in person from the Meat and Barrel on Palmerston Road.

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

Basement Jaxx

You can follow Basement Jaxx on Facebook, Twitter @thebasementjaxx and Soundcloud.

Dials Festival Line-Up Announced

Strong Island and Strong Island Recordings are very proud and excited to announce our involvement in the up coming, brand-new festival Dials Festival taking place across various venues along Albert Road on the 3rd October as well as being able to announce the line-up so far. After the sad news of Southsea Fest taking a year off, we banded together with some familiar faces including The Wedgewood Rooms, Pie & Vinyl, Hong Kong Gardner’s Club and seminal blog Breaking More Waves to still be able to bring a community based, multi-venue, music festival to the city.

Dials Festival will take place across five venues along Albert Road being The Wedgewood Rooms, Edge of the Wedge, Little Johnny Russells, Al Burrito and The Loft. The aim of the festival isn’t to replicate Southsea Fest but retain its ethos of a strong, community festival bringing some of the finest new national acts along with some of the finest acts from around the area to Albert Road for one day. There will be no specifically branded stages at Dials Festival but five venues with a diverse, eclectic mix of acts from day to the evening.

The festival will feature over 40 acts across the day with Hooton Tennis Club signed to Heavenly Records (Toy, King Gizzard, The Wytches) headlining the festival plus the likes of Kagoule, Black HoneyLyza Jane, Chloe Black, Alice Jemima, Broken Hands, Storms, Morning Smoke, Many Things, Bones, Peluche, Walleater and many more coming down to Southsea along with some of the finest local acts including New Desert Blues, Jerry Williams, Popobawa, The boy i used to be, Bellyeyesmile, Rickyfitts, Battery Hens, Dead Rabbits, Curxes, Wyldest and loads more splendid acts from the area. The full line-up of acts confirmed so far can be found below the article.

Tickets are on sale now at a very limited early-bird price of just £15. That’s £15 for 40 plus acts across five venues from day to evening with some of the finest new acts in the UK.  Tickets can be purchased at the Kings Theatre here, in store at Strong Island, Pie & Vinyl, Dress Code as well as The Wedgewood Rooms. There will also be details of an after-party also which your Dials ticket will gain you access to. This is the biggest musical event we have ran yet so we can’t wait for October 3rd. We hope to see many of you there as us and our Dials team bring a new musical venture to the city.

Dials_outline_export-01 (1) (1)

Silent Disco – Victorious Festival Warm Up

You all know the drill by now. Two DJs, one set of headphones, two channels to choose from, and one dance floor full of people singing and dancing in a room with no music. Get involved! Battling it out for your attention on the night will be the Little Johnny Russell‘s resident DJs and It’s A Sin.

Silent Disco Victorious Warm Up

Strong Island Recordings At The Southsea Bandstand

This Saturday Strong Island Recordings takeover the Southsea Bandstand with one of the loudest line-ups the bandstand has seen yet.

An afternoon of space rock/psychedelia, post-punk and dreampop is on offer with Southsea cult legends and Cardinal Fuzz signings You’re Smiling Now But we’ll All Turn Into Demons headlining the day plus gnarly noise rock meets garage rock and post-punk Southsea favourites, Red Seals, psychedelic doom-rock outfit Unknown Soldiers who are like being dropped into the middle of  a sun baked desert during a spaghetti western plus Jimmy Stuart of Strong Island Recordings’ Is Bliss who is an immense talent.

The day kicks off from around 12.30pm so head down early.  In the event it rains off we will be heading to The Edge of the Wedge, if in doubt keep an eye on the Strong Island Recordings Twitter page @StrongIslandRec. More details of the event can be found here.

amp sir

Sofar Sounds Presents… Rex Domino

Earlier this month Rex Domino stole the show at the Blissfields Spoken Word event curated by yours truly.

Last week the local Hip Hop, Beat Poetry and Spoken Word artist was again showing off his talents by performing at Sofar Sounds in Oxford. Rex performed his poem “Sinew” and describes the poem is based on a frantic middle class mother. Check it out for yourself below.

You can follow Rex Domino on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter @RexDomino_. If you like what you hear then you can get your hands on some of his previous work at

Strong Island At Bestival 2015

We are thrilled to announce that Strong Island have been invited by Rob Da Bank and his team to cross the Solent and cover this years Bestival! Since it’s humble beginnings of 2004 we have been venturing over to enjoy the festival so to be covering it up close is really exciting.

Keep an eye out on Strong Island over the next six weeks where we will be previewing some of our favourite delights that will be going on over the weekend. Just some of the musical highlights include Underworld, Tame Impala, The Jacksons, Jungle, Jurassic 5, Little Dragon, Lianne La Havas, Missy Elliot and the Chemical Brothers. Portsmouth will be playing a part too with performances from Batala, Kassassin Street and Rex Domino.

Find out how you can get yourself tickets on the Bestival website – Roll on September!

Bestival 2015

Bestival 2015

Jerry Williams ‘Cold Beer’

Local singer songwriter Jerry Williams has just premiered her latest music video titled ‘Cold Beer’. This is the first track to be taken from the Portsmouth Guide Award winners upcoming EP of the same name, which is due for release on 21st August.

The nineteen year old uses her life growing up in Portsmouth and her relationships with boys as inspiration for a large part of her music. In this track Jerry recounts a string of unsuccessful dates. In the video you will recognise local venues such as the Meat and Barrel, Clarence Pier, Lucile’s Creperie, Tiger Tiger, Chambers, Pie & Vinyl and the Garage Lounge.

If you like what you hear then you can follow Jerry on Facebook, Twitter @JerryWMusic, YouTube and Instagram @jerrywilliamsmusic. If you are going to Victorious Festival next month then you’ll be able to catch Jerry on the main stage.

Jerry Williams

I WAS THERE! Musical Heritage Project With Portsmouth Guildhall

As part of Portsmouth Guildhall‘s 125th birthday celebrations the Portsmouth Cultural Trust & Strong Island, with the support of Arts Council England, will be running the I WAS THERE! project throughout August, with the aim to collect as many memories of special musical performances at the Guildhall, past and present, as possible. Were you in the audience at that unique show with your favourite band, on stage for the first time, or perhaps part of the team that made it all happen? We’d love to hear about it.

As well as collecting memories we’ll be asking people to send in photos of themselves with treasured mementos from these special moments experienced at Portsmouth Guildhall. It might be a drumstick, guitar pick, set list, poster, ticket, album, photo or even something more unusual! These photos can be sent in via email or social media (see details below) or you can be photographed at special I WAS THERE open days at the Guildhall throughout August. We’ll also be filming short interviews too for a film project.

We will be sharing the memories you have sent us plus your photos and interviews with everyone via social media, building a picture of all of the special experiences at Portsmouth Guildhall throughout its long musical history. You will also be invited to the resulting screening and live performance event as one of our special guests.

Strong Island will be at the Guildhall to receive any contributions between 1pm and 5pm on the following days:
Sunday 9th and Saturday 15th, 22nd and 29th of August.

Please send your memories & photo contributions to or to
the Guildhall’s Twitter @portsmouthghall & Facebook, using #IWasThereGuildhall

Find out more at:

Since the first official announcement of the I WAS THERE project in Saturday’s The News (as part of their comprehensive coverage of the 125th celebrations) we have already had some great memories come in! Keep your eyes peeled for I WAS THERE flyers from the Guildhall, Strong Island Co and lots of other locations around Portsmouth.

I WAS THERE! Musical Heritage Project With Portsmouth Guildhall

Creative Census Portsmouth Flyers Out in Southsea and Portsmouth

The Creative Census Portsmouth project is progressing well with lots of people submitting their information to the census, from freelancers through to large organisations getting involved. If you’re out and about in Portsmouth & Southsea you can grab flyers about the census from different shops, events and venues, the flyers have information on the project plus details on how to enter our prize draw.

To enter the prize draw simply complete the census (takes no more than a few minutes) and take a photo of yourself with the flyer with/in front of something/somewhere that inspires you, pop in the caption on Instagram or Twitter that you’ve taken the census and add the hashtag #CreativeCensusPortsmouth and at the end of each month we’ll be picking winners!

To find out more about the Creative Census Portsmouth project check the website below where you can also complete the census yourself. Not sure if you can submit your details? Check the website which explains the different types of jobs & activities that are covered too.

Below are some of the awesome places in Southsea and Portsmouth kindly sharing our flyers plus you can always grab some in Strong Island Co, we’re open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm.

All About Tea


Bread Addiction

Bureau of Change

Community Fusion

Gabrelle at Harbour White Gallery

Lou Bush at Make and the Craft Kitchen

Night Markets

Pie and Vinyl

Southsea Coffee Co

Teattray in the Sky

Becky Jerams Live At The King Street Tavern Tonight

Becky Jerams is a singer/songwriter from Portsmouth who writes and performs in many different styles from upbeat pop to country-tinged acoustic numbers.

Influenced by artists such as Alanis Morisette, Tori Amos, Taylor Swift and Ingrid Michaelson, Becky’s tracks place strong emphasis on emotive, story-telling lyrics and unusual hooky melodies. Her tracks have been used in adverts and shows around the globe including the hit US show The Carrie Diaries and the trailer for Mandy Moore film ‘Love Wedding Marriage’.

Becky has also written and recorded a duet with pop star Chesney Hawkes and performs live acoustic shows on a regular basis, as well as writing songs to pitch out for other artists.

Becky will be joined for the evening by local singer/songwriter, Chris Ricketts at The King Street Tavern tonight at 7:30pm.

A free music event at a great local pub with some fantastic entertainment! Food available but booking advised to secure a table.

Becky Jerams

Becky Jerams

Becky Jerams


Photography by Timothy Mann.

Next »


Pier and Snow

Here are a few photos from a walk down to the pier on Wednesday during the snowfall. There are some more over on Forever Circling.

Whiteout #2


Walk Together

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Following on from photos of The bandstand and Tennis Courts the other week, here’s another scan from Khalid.

Back before East Jet in the late 1940s, early 1950s people flocked to Southsea seafront. Check the beach huts near Canoe Lake. Dozens of them and the Paddling Pool which is now occupied by the Sealife Centre. Love the little train to the right of the picture. Click for a closer look.

Local Photographer – Paul Gordon

Local photographer Paul Gordon has spent a lot of time hanging out and photographing the local skaters over the summer, both in the skatepark and out and about. The photos from the summer are now up in galleries on Paul’s website As well as the skating photos there are also loads of other galleries too including sport, portraiture, landscape, etc. Have a flick through.




New Book – Portsmouth from Family Archives

A new book called ‘Portsmouth from Family Archives’ has just been published. Brothers Jonathan and Matthew Ring started developing the book last summer. All the photographs included in the book were from their grandparents. They spent a great deal of time compiling, scanning and restoring slides and film from 1950s to 2006, including behind the scenes filming in Portsmouth.

The 100-page book is available online at Amazon. Bonzo Studio and Southsea Gallery on Albert Road, Southsea are currently selling it, and they hope other shops will sell it too. They are also planning to do the summer market at the Square Tower, Old Portsmouth.

“It’s been great fun, and such hard work keeping it a secret from everyone! We hope everyone enjoys the book and the photos inside it as much as we did.”

Photos below – A photo of Jonathan Ring, their Grandmother and Matthew Ring; unveiling the book to their grandparents; book cover and the slides.

Facebook group can be found here:

Sneak Peek - Showing the Grandparents the Portsmouth Book

Slides - Portsmouth Book (Coming Soon)

Vintage Old Portsmouth Photograph

We’ve not had a vintage photograph for quite a while on Strong Island, and this one is a winner. This photo of the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth was taken in 1958 by Mark Kauffman for LIFE Magazine. Click this LINK for a larger version.


Thanks to Jubru for sending this over.

The Langstone Ark Project

The Langstone Ark is a project being run by Langstone Harbour’s Environment Officer Louise MacCallum that went live on-line in August. The project aims to create a digital collection of all the animals and plants associated with Langstone Harbour, by asking harbour users, visitors, and anyone else with an interest in the harbour to send digital photographs of wildlife taken on the water, or around the shoreline.

So far, over 150 photographs have been contributed to the project, and nearly 100 species are now represented. There are literally 1000’s of species of animal and plant to be found around the harbour however, so there are plenty of gaps in the project left to fill!

Autumn is a great time of year to see wildlife around Langstone Harbour, with thousands of migratory birds beginning to arrive and beautiful fungi springing up on many of the wildlife reserves dotted around the shoreline.

For more information about the project visit the Langstone Harbour Board’s brand new website at and send photographic contributions to

Below are just a few of the contributors photographs so far, and you can see all of them over at the gallery HERE.

Kestrel by B.D. McGregor

Little Tern by Mark Milum

Grey Seal by Nick Lyon

Above Western Parade

The other day I got to go up on to the roof of a house on Western parade with a great view over the common, Southsea and The Solent. Always interesting seeing Southsea in new ways. Below are some photos (click on ‘Read More’ to see more plus there are more over on Forever Circling).

Southsea Seagulls

How good was the weather on Sunday. Albeit cold, it was a belter for sure. Me and Liz hit up the seafront for fish & chips and inadvertently got involved with dive bombing seagulls. They love them chips…

Photography : Tristan

It’s nice to be nice!

A new reader of Strong Island recently sent us this email. Glad to hear we’re doing things right and feedback of all kinds is always welcome, as is beer. Of course.

“Hi all at Strong Island

I just wanted to email to say as a recent visitor to your site how great it is to see something that celebrates the creative, cultural and positive life of Portsmouth and Southsea (and I don’t even skate or cycle!). ‘Strong Island’ sums up the spirit of this place so well. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the site go from strength to strength and maybe impacting on some of the decision making that goes on.”

Best wishes



Meg and Lynda hug it out with the help of Andy.

Spinnaker Tower

Soaring 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent, the Spinnaker Tower is taller than the London Eye, Blackpool Tower and Big Ben and has already established itself as a national icon for Britain. Get yourself down to Gunwharf Quays and check out the panoramic views over the city and the Solent. Don’t forget your camera. Oh, and if you’re a Portsmouth resident you get cheap entry if you provide proof.

Strong Island Clothing Co.