Icebreaker’s back – bigger and better than before

The Icebreaker team receive their runner-up trophy in the Best Event category at the WOW247 Awards from Caroline Sharman of the New Theatre Royal
The Icebreaker team receive their runner-up trophy in the Best Event category at the WOW247 Awards from Caroline Sharman of the New Theatre Royal

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Fresh off the back of getting the runner-up prize for Best Event at this week’s WOW247 Awards for the first Icebreaker festival, the team return tomorrow with their second instalment.

And they have upped the ante for this year’s Icebreaker. Last year’s inaugural event saw 70 acts on six stages – this year there will be 100 acts across 11 stages, all in the Albert Road and Elm Grove area of Southsea, from The Honest Politician to The Wedgewood Rooms.

It’s quite nice to be reassured that it’s appreciated through the local music scene, and it does justice to the local scene

Mike Hartley

The day aims to highlight the local music scene, and it has proved incredibly popular with acts from around the region – there were nearly 600 applications to play at this year’s event.

Headliners include Seething Akira, Bellyeyesmile, Offbeat Offensive, Outgun Empire, Veludo Planes, Marley Blandford, Gravel Rash, Quartz, Pistolhead, Jack New and Damn Beats.

On the eve of the festival, co-organiser Mike Hartley is feeling confident: ‘There’ve been a few changes in the line-up, but it’s good – we’re there. There are a few final bits, but apart from that we’re set.

‘Last year’s festival we started properly in June/July, and this one we started back in February – two weeks after last year’s festival. There’s been a lot more planning and a lot more to go into.’

While the team behind the event were happy with how things went last year, being named runners-up to Victorious Festival at our awards has given them further validation that they’re on the right track.

‘When our name was read out even before the winners were announced, there was a big cheer for us,’ says Mike.

‘It’s quite nice to be reassured that it’s appreciated through the local music scene, and it does justice to the local scene.

‘If people want to buy tickets and see their mates’ bands, that’s great, but they can also see loads of other bands that they’ve never heard before, and it’s good to give them exposure.’

‘We’ve got the more established acts as the headliners, but then we do give the opportunity to the newer bands too, like Hollowed Hour, who we spotted back in July/August.’

While Mike will be busy making sure things go smoothly across the board on the day, he’s got a few choice picks: ‘Obviously I want to recommend them all, but if it’s just a handful – The Aviators, they’re back after eight years, we’ve got them back together just for this one-off show for Icebreaker.

‘Aviv and The Eunuch Horn over at the Honest Politician stage, and one of the most recent acts we’ve put in, The Science of Eight Limbs, they’re a two-piece instrumental act, bass and drums, and they’re amazing. Kill ‘Em Dead Cowboy, which is another one coming back for Icebreaker. And Bellyeyesmile, who’re headlining The Edge of the Wedge – they are one of my favourite bands.’

Various venues, Southsea

Saturday, January 30.

icebreakerfestival.com