Strong Island Co.

Seafront & The Coastline

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

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Todd Lawton Victorious

Todd Lawton

Todd Lawton Victorious

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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 www.SouthParadeTrust.org/petition. 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

The Southsea Show Competition Winners

The Southsea Show returns next weekend. If you’ve been passed Southsea Common you will have seen the tents and marquee’s going up in preparation. It looks like this years event is going to be even bigger and better than last years!

The Southsea Show team have kindly donated two sets of family tickets to give away, so thats two adults and two children. These tickets can be redeemed on a day of your choosing. All you had to do to win this prize is answer the following question…

Hampshire based Batala Portsmouth are a local samba band playing authentic Afro Brazilian Samba Reggae music. They are returning this year and can be found performing on Sunday 3rd August. What three colours make up their uniforms?

The answer was of course Red, White and Black. The two lucky winners are Jean-Philippe Soulie and Nathan Jones.

Tickets for the event are £8 or £5 for concessions and are available on the website HERE. You can follow all things Southsea Show on their Facebook and Twitter @SouthseaShow.

Southsea Show 2014

The Southsea Show Competition

The Southsea Show returns next weekend. If you’ve been passed Southsea Common you will have seen the tents and marquee’s going up in preparation. It looks like this years event is going to be even bigger and better than last years!

The Southsea Show team have kindly donated two sets of family tickets to give away, so thats two adults and two children. These tickets can be redeemed on a day of your choosing. All you have to do to win this prize is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answer to the following question…

Hampshire based Batala Portsmouth are a local samba band playing authentic Afro Brazilian Samba Reggae music. They are returning this year and can be found performing on Sunday 3rd August. What three colours make up their uniforms?

The deadline for entries will be midnight Wednesday 30th July with the winners being announced on Thursday morning.

Tickets for the event are £8 or £5 for concessions and are available on the website HERE. You can follow all things Southsea Show on their Facebook and Twitter @SouthseaShow.

Southsea Show 2014

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe

Southsea Beach Cafe is the stunning new cafe located right on Southsea beach, just down from South Parade Pier, which for the last couple of weeks has been running a soft launch, with their breakfasts, lunches, coffees and more sold to the crowd who have discovered this new culinary asset to the city by word of mouth. The soft launch allows the kitchen and front of house staff to refine their menu and service ready for the full opening of the cafe…which happened this past weekend!

Strong Island Media have been working closely with the Southsea Beach Cafe team and Sarah Jones on the visual experience of the new cafe. The cafe logo and the branding from social media to signage through to the menus has been designed by Tristan at Strong Island Media and we have been really pleased to work on a local project such as this. On Thursday there was a special party at the cafe to launch this exciting new business and we popped along to help celebrate. Southsea Beach Cafe is now fully open and a must-visit spot in Southsea with beautiful views over the beach and sea.

Photos below from the opening are by Josh Knill, find out all about the cafe on their Facebook page at:

www.facebook.com/southseabeachcafe

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (1)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (2)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (3)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (4)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (5)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (6)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (8)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (7)

Official Opening Party of Southsea Beach Cafe by Josh Knill (9)

Pier Today, Gone Tomorrow? Sign the Petition to Order Repairs to South Parade Pier

“Time and tide wait for no man” is a 13th century proverb that goes back even further in ancient English and the sentiment remains the same almost 1000 year later in the case of Portsmouth & Southsea’s South Parade Pier: the laws of the land say it can’t be demolished but these laws mean nothing to the rain, the wind and the sea. After years of seemingly wilful neglect by the current owners, a mixture of handwashing and legal nonchalance by Portsmouth City Council, elusive, hokey-cokey ‘new’ owners and a winter of the worst storms in memory the treasured landmark at one of Portsmouth & Southsea seaside’s busiest points may well not be structurally able to survive another bad winter.

South Parade Trust have created a petition calling on Portsmouth City Council to act and force the owners of South Parade Pier to “…carry out urgent, end-to-end repairs to prevent further ongoing structural collapse, using Section 48 of The Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, as recommended by English Heritage”. You can re-open a toilet and fill a pothole but once the pier is gone…it is gone forever. If the small Suffolk seaside town of Southwold can have a vibrant pier, so can we. If Hastings can restore a pier to its previous splendour (from burnt out ruins), then so can we. If Penarth can have a community pier with resources and facilities for locals and tourists, then so can we. No more excuses, time to act.

The petition has only been online a matter of days and already has almost 3000 signatures at the time of writing, there is absolutely no reason why it cannot get to 10,000 or even 100,000 seeing the number of people who live, work & visit the city of Portsmouth and Southsea. It takes 10 seconds to sign and another 10 seconds to share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

38degrees.org.uk/petitions/order-repair-of-south-parade-pier

Forgetting the heritage, forgetting a restored pier being a community asset, forgetting the pier being a tourist attraction…culturally & artistically the pier is one of the most photographed locations in the city. Photos taken on mobile phones all the way to remote drones, photos taken at all times of the day and year from land and sea…all of these photos shared online to what must be millions of people. Imagine that lost to a storm surge and shoulder shrugging owners and PCC…

Below are just three photos I’ve taken of the pier of literally hundreds in the last few years, I imagine just locally there must be thousands and thousands of photos by local people, even more by visitors to the city. People are inspired to take photographs by special places and locations, lets try and keep one of ours and to bring it back to life.

South Parade Pier (1)

South Parade Pier (2)

South Parade Pier (3)

D-Day Museum & D-Day Commemorations

This weekend sees the 70th anniversary of D-Day being remembered on Southsea Seafront.  An event in history that shall never be forgotten as it affected so many millions of lives both then and now.

There is a wide programme of events starting today, running through until Sunday including a Red Arrows display, mock beach landings performed by the Royal Marines and a live performance by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.  Many veterans will be attending alongside top leaders from around Europe.  The events are free for all to attend and commence from around 10am each day.

You may also have heard this week about the fantastic news the D-Day Museum in Southsea is to receive some funding to help towards a complete redevelopment to upgrade and modernise the museum, making it the biggest D-Day commemorative attraction in the world.  A huge honour for the city of Portsmouth, who played such a pivotal role in the D-Day operations from planning through to implementation.

This funding will bring the museum just short of it’s target for the development to be completed in time for the D-Day 75 celebrations.  Various local businesses have pledged to carry out fundraising drives over the coming months the help the museum achieve it’s target, as well as the news that Victorious Festival will be donating a percentage of ticket sales towards the museum’s initiative.

You can read the D-Day museum plans of development and fundraising strategy here in more detail.

Remembering the allied forces who sacrificed so much for those of us today is hugely important for the future generations in so many ways.  To see the D-Day museum reach these goals would not only be a fantastic achievement for the city, but also for the wider world to remember such a significant event in history.

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Victorious Festival | More Acts Announced

Our friends over at Victorious Festival have this morning added a whole host of artist to the line up for the festival this August. The majority are from the local area, and I’ve got to say it’s pretty awesome to see that we have so much musical talent from our small city.

My personal highlights in there are Kassassin Street, Matt Jarvis, The Day Of The Rabblement, Felt Tip, Blackfoot Circle and the awesome Southsea Alternative Choir. There are lots of others who I’ve still not managed to catch live before so fingers crossed there aren’t too many clashes when the timings are announced.

Victorious Festival 2014

You can follow Victorious Festival on Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

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.

Adult Day tickets are currently available for an amazing price of £20 per day. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets will cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for free.

To see who is playing what day visit www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/line-up/

Victorious Festival

Throwback Thursday

Here is a great, and somewhat rare, picture of a pre-1904 South Parade Pier. The original structure was twice the length of the current one and was used primarily for boats sailing to locations such as the Isle Of Wight. It was destroyed by fire in 1904 and rebuilt by the council opening in 1908.

SPPpre1904

Time And Tide – An Update On The Pier.

At the time of my last post on the subject, the pier was due to be rescued by a mystery consortium who’s ambitions were to restore the iconic landmark to its former glory. So where are we now? As time keeps marching on, the pier continues to slowly crumble into the sea and the potential new owners continue to shroud their identity in secrecy without any real sign of the purchase going ahead. During this time, the council have resumed their legal action against current owners Fred Nash and Dawn Randall, by ordering the construction of a protective perimeter wall rather than opting for the repairs it badly needs. So where does this leave us? We have two penniless owners who want to wash their hands of the structure, a shadowy group who quite clearly have nothing in their coffers, an eyesore of a wall that will cost money to put up and subsequently tear down, and a local council who seem happy enough to sit down and watch this farcical situation go from bad to worse.

We should remind ourselves that Portsmouth is not the only coastal city who have battled to save their pier. Let us take Hastings as an example. Hastings Council rightly issued a compulsory purchase order and placed their pier firmly in the hands of the Hastings Pier Trust (the model for South Parade Trust). Whilst the financial risk are taken on by the trust, it leaves them free to apply for grants. Hastings Pier Trust received £11.4m from this process alone thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Take a second and drink that figure in. This type of back-to-back handover would not only best serve the people of Portsmouth, it will also save the pier from certain ruin and clear any of the water that has been muddied by the consortium. Should Portsmouth City Council choose not to go down this simple route, it will be tantamount to neglect.

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South Parade Pier

We’ve mentioned Diana Goss on Strong Island before. A touch of class behind the lens and a really nice lady.

Here’s another great example of Diana’s work in this Cross Processed, 120 shot of South Parade Pier.

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Local Photographer: Paul Thurlow

I’ve been following local photographer Paul Thurlow’s blog for a little while, always some wonderful photos from our little piece of coastline plus some incredible portrait and wedding photography too. Put what you’re doing to one side for a little while and have a look through Paul’s website and Flickr too, so many beautiful photos including HDR images too.

Hidden Treasures

Steve Bomford gave us the heads up on this wonderful short film made up of old film footage, from the 50s to the 70s, filmed around Portsmouth and Southsea. If you like looking at some vintage Portsmouth and Southsea you will love this (really interesting to see the Guildhall before it was pedestrianised and the buildings were demolished for the council offices).

Created Local – Cat Vaughan

Cat from the Inksquatch collective has some of her prints available for purchase in The Southsea Gallery on Albert Road. They should be in and ready for sale this weekend, 3rd July. Some nice little illustrations as always. Go and grab a local bargain.






Southsea Common Barbecue Zones

I’m sure a lot of you enjoyed the fantastic weather this weekend and many of you no doubt had a barbecue on The Common. I was out of town on Saturday but heard it was seriously busy down the seafront. A few of us had a BBQ on Sunday and we’re approached by some council officials regarding our position. They were very polite and let us carry on as we were already cooking and handed us some details of all the new zones.

Unfortunately the new zones now means hundreds of people are going to be packed in to single areas. The main common by the War Memorial will be extremely busy over the summer. More so than usual for sure. I fully back having these zones in place, but feel I’ll no longer be going to the common for BBQs if I can help it as they have made a lot of areas no go zones. It was always more appealing when you could spread out from other groups.

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