When she realised she was being taken to the first Southsea Fake Fest as a surprise birthday treat, Annette Lawrence was overjoyed.
Her husband Graham bought the tickets for Annette’s 40th birthday, also on Saturday, as the pair share a love for live music.
And the event – organised by the southern events team of the firm that owns The News, Johnston Press – did not disappoint.
The couple joined thousands on Castle Field to watch an impressive line-up of tribute acts, including Rhapsody Is This The Real Queen, Mick Jogger and The Rolling Zones, and The Fool Fighters.
Graham, 39, of Noctule Court, Knowle Village, Fareham, said the event turned out to be the perfect surprise he had hoped for.
He said: ‘I wanted something where we could chill out, just kick our shoes off and just enjoy some live music and that’s exactly what we got.
‘It was brilliant, everything I thought it would be and more. Next year we’re going to take the kids, they’d love it.’
Annette added: ‘It was awesome, and such a lovely surprise. All the bands were cracking and it was really well organised.
‘It’s great to have something like that in Southsea, I’d love to see it get bigger and bigger each year.
‘The Isle of Wight has its music festival so why can’t we do something similar on the mainland?’
Also appearing at the gig were local bands Stolen and Offbeat Offence, and a DJ kept the crowd entertained between acts.
Mark Brown took his two daughters, Olivia, 15, and Emily, 14, to the event and said the atmosphere was ideal for a family day out.
The 42-year-old, of Stubbington Avenue, North End, said: ‘Everyone was really relaxed and enjoying themselves, and the mood was perfect for the kids too.
‘There was so much on offer for all ages because the bands were so varied.’
Among the crowd, Jane Goring was also celebrating a birthday, ahead of her 50th tomorrow. She got her ticket as a gift from her son Josh.
Jane, of Rails Lane, Hayling Island, said: ‘You can’t beat Southsea on a hot day, it was incredible, and live events are exactly what the common should be used for. The bands were all top quality and you could tell everyone was having a great time because the place was buzzing.’
Following the success of this year’s event, organisers are keen to put on another Southsea Fake Fest in the near future.
Hanne Steffens, one of the organisers, said: ‘We couldn’t be happier with how the event went. We had a great turnout and the bands were great. Everyone said they had a good time, and as long as the people who come enjoy themselves, that’s the main thing.’