Strong Island Co.

Music & Bands

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

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

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.

Victorious Festival 2014 Preview | #8 2manydjs

As well as being part of the alternative rock/electro band Soulwax, the Belgian brothers David and Stephen Dewaele are two of the finest DJ’s on on the planet. DJing under the guise of 2manydjs the pair are one of the most exciting acts performing at Victorious this weekend.

There probably isn’t a festival worldwide that they guys haven’t played. This month alone has already seen them rack up some serious air miles. They’ve been DJing at events in Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, France, Los Angeles, the UK and Spain. As well as still having upcoming shows in Holland, Germany and South Africa before the end of August.

For a taster of what music you can expect then please please take the time to check out their current project, Radio Soulwax. If you visit www.2manydjs.com you will find a continuous mix playing all day and night.

It features 24 hour-long mixes with visuals similar to those used in the 2manydjs live sets, and will include different tracks from various different decades. In the past twenty minutes I have been treated to Dolly Parton mixed into Röyksopp, as well as a bit of Destinys Child and Skee Low thrown in too. RadioSoulwax is also available as a FREE app too, get your hands on it HERE.

You will be able to catch 2manydjs doing their thing this Sunday. With Saturday tickets now sold out I encourage you to get your Sunday tickets asap!

Stay up to date all things 2manydjs on Facebook and Twitter @2manydjsTour.

2ManyDJS

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 £20. 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.

Victorious Festival Competition | Win Two Sunday Tickets

The team behind Victorious Festival have kindly donated two tickets for next Sundays festivities. This is a great chance for you and a plus one to see the likes of Seasick Steve, British Sea Power, The Southsea Alternative Choir, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and tons of other awesome artists.

The event is more than just a music festival, there will be lots going on in the Kids Arena as well a Real Ale Festival featuring many local breweries. For the weekend local seafront attractions will be FREE, these include Southsea Castle, Blue Reef Aquarium, D-Day Museum and Southsea Skate Park.

If you would like to win the tickets, then all you need to do is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answers to the following questions. Because I am a nice guy I’ll give you a clue, some of the answers can be found in our Strong Island Victorious Festival Previews.

1) What artist appearing at Victorious did I dress up as at Bestival?
2) Name the former Southsea resident who is now the bassist for London based band Felt Tip?
3) Which Brit Award winning artist appearing at Victorious is from Chichester?

The deadline to enter the competition is midnight on Thursday, with the winners to be announced on Friday morning.

Victorious James White
Photo by James White

If you don’t want to risk missing out then 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.

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

Competition | Beats & Swing Presents… The Plump DJ’s

This Saturday one of our favourite local club nights Beats & Swing will be bringing us the Plump DJ’s, resident DJ’s and the Buddhist Punkz.

As well as the DJ’s, the Buddhist Punkz will be playing a live set. The lucky winner who will get two places on the guest list and the chance to see the Punkz soundcheck on Saturday afternoon, is Libby. She successfully answered to the following question. MC Sirreal, Dave Budgen and Rich Budgen from the Buddhist Punkz are all members of which UK breakbeat group?

a) The Freestylers

Tickets are still available for £9 on the Wedgewood Rooms website HERE or on the door on the evening. If you would like to know more then check out the Facebook Event Page HERE.

Beats & Swing presents The Plump DJ's

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Snow, Snow, Snow

Snow hit Southsea pretty hard last night and it snowing again this morning. Good luck to everyone battling the elements to get to work, college, school, etc today. Here are a few photos from last night, if you have any please pop a link to them in the comments, we would love to see them.

Adam Wintle (see more here):

Adam Wintle

Adam Wintle

Elizabeth Bick (see more here):

Elizabeth Bick

Elizabeth Bick

Fog Lights!

I love fog, even more so at night time because all the street lights are on and it’s like this weird eerie zombie town. People appear out of no where and even cars creep up on you before you notice them in the deathly silence of the fog. I watched, or should I say waited, as the the Hovercraft came over from The Isle of Wight. I could hear the roar of the engines for five minutes till I could actually see the craft as it pulled on to shore. Spooky.

My little point and shoot isn’t much cop in low light fog but there are a few more over on my 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.

Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea

Awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back. Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Epic. Hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guilders, and that was only in 1968 and the shot looking west down Osborne Road is amazing. Trams, horses, grand buildings, a traffic cop, ladies & gents. It’s all going on. To view the full collection head over to Pop Olive’s Flickr photostream HERE and the Portsmouth set HERE.









£800 raised at our 3rd Birthday Charity Raffle

Wow. Another Incredible success. Myself, Paul and the Strong Island Crew owe a MASSIVE thank you to all the people who donated, helped out, attended and of course bought those ever so important raffle tickets.

With your generosity we managed to raise an amazing £800 for The Portsmouth Autism Support Network and The Portsmouth Lifeboat Station.

Everyone had a great time and got fully involved in the atmosphere of the night. Free Strong Island Iced Teas were flowing, and the buffet was awesome. Pet Sounds kept the musical vibe alive and the crowd did the rest. A really good turn out of Strong Islanders made sure The Belle Isle was packed and the charity tin was full.

Well done to all the people who were lucky enough to get one of the prizes. If not more. Winners win prizes…..

Thanks to everyone who came down, all of the very generous prize donators and of course extra special thanks to Paul, Graham, Ben, James, Andy and all The Belle Isle staff for letting us hold our party and making sure no one went thirsty. Cheers guys.

Without the support from our readers, contributors and friends Strong Island would not be in the position to hold such an event, and we greatly appreciate it.

Prizes were very kindly donated from the following people: LJRs / The Belle Isle / Sopranos / Southsea Skatepark / Caravan Gallery / Michelle So Scone / Boed / Southsea Boutique / Dead Mans Glory / Lou Bush / Helen at Kings Theatre / Geoff at The Wedge / Love Southsea / Mikey Ayling / Mark Persuad / Southsea Gallery / james Porter / Parmiters, Ian & Sue / James Weaver / Alanna Smith / Matt Howarth / Bruce Jamieson / Jamie Olivers (Megatron) / Diana Goss / James Batchelor / Fran Bierton / Paul Thurlow / Bonzo Studio / Head Hairdressers / I Love Dust / Holgarama / Stuart Trett at Ye Olde Bike SHoppe. Apologies if I forgot your name.

We’re already looking forward to our 4th Birthday Party next year. Hope you can make it. All the best and thanks again.

Tristan & Paul




















Photos: Matt Saxey

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