Portsmouth Festivities’ feedback points the way forward for 2017

Joseph O'Keefe and Cole Stacey, India Electric Co
Joseph O'Keefe and Cole Stacey, India Electric Co

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Ryan Williams, the administrator of Portsmouth Festivities, looks back at a diverse 10 days of events which took the festival to a higher level

ANOTHER great year, another great variety of events.

John Cooper Clarke

John Cooper Clarke

Portsmouth Festivities 2016 programme has ended and we have had some excellent feedback from audience members on the great variety of experiences we provide the city, and how enjoyable this year’s programme has been.

Our opening Gala Concert with the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO) was something new for Portsmouth audiences which left them pleasantly surprised with a taste of a genre of music some had never experienced.

Portsmouth Festivities were delighted with the LCO for their fantastic concert and involvement with young musicians from the Portsmouth Grammar School.

Portsmouth Festivities is nothing without the people of our great community and the strength of our community and its love and participation with the arts was well and truly on display on the evenings of our Electric Lumiere displays at Portsmouth Cathedral and the Royal Garrison Church. Hundreds of people lined the banks of the sea wall to watch the illuminations provided by Luxmuralis, with media teams out in full force to catch the display.

Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers

Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers

The Spice Island Art Trail was once again filled with art lovers from around Old Portsmouth, Southsea and beyond, giving High Street a buzz of activity between the Square Tower, Jack House Gallery and the Royal Naval Club.

The cathedral was filled with the sublime sounds of Merton College, Oxford’s choir performing classics from the choral repertoire such as Bairstow, Sheppard and Duruflé; but also some outstanding contemporary pieces from Eriks Esenvalds, Jonathan Harvey, and Matthew Martin.

‘Sometimes Folk, sometimes not’ duo India Electric Co. displayed great showmanship at the Square Tower, entertaining in every sense, and with great musicianship.

Our commemorative events were a great success this year with military historian Andy Robertshaw’s talks on the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and the Making of War Horse the Movie.

Spice Island Art Trail

Spice Island Art Trail

Dr Nick Walton from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust gave a fascinating insight into how Shakespeare’s legacy can be found wherever you look for the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death.

Physicist, author, and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili’s talk on Michael Faraday’s discoveries on electromagnetic induction and the way they have influenced the world around us fascinated the audience that filled the David Russell Theatre at Portsmouth Grammar School.

Principal organist of Westminster Abbey Daniel Cook gave a powerful display of the instrument in Portsmouth Cathedral in his lunchtime live performance. Local a cappella choir the Nelson Consort presented a stylish programme at St Georges Church, Portsea that was equally stylish in execution.

Dr John Cooper Clarke and his supporting act, Simon Day were such a hit at the New Theatre Royal that audience members’ faces ached from laughter by the end. The New Theatre Royal also thundered with the inexorable energy of the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers with their captivating display of the different elements of Japanese performance art.

Portsmouth Festivities are very grateful to all who came to support our festivities this year, and to our creative partner and community platform events that help to make up our huge variety of events and activities in our 10 days; unfortunately not all of whom could be mentioned.

The dates for next year’s Portsmouth Festivities are June 16-25, 2017.