Portsmouth Music Festival to mark its centenary in 2017

Last year's Portsmouth Music Festival 

Picture: Polly Richards
Last year's Portsmouth Music Festival Picture: Polly Richards
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PORTSMOUTH Music Festival is getting ready to celebrate a landmark anniversary when it hits 100 next year.

The annual event was launched in 1917 in an attempt to improve the quality of life for the people of Portsmouth.

And aside from an enforced break during the Second World War it has become a regular fixture in the city’s cultural calendar.

Today, the festival hosts performances from more than 4,000 people each year across 11 categories covering various disciplines in music, dancing and acting, and it is now open for entries.

Festival secretary Ian Frogley said: ‘It is a competitive music festival, so it’s rather different to something like the Isle of Wight Festival.

‘At the moment we’ve just published the syllabus which is the invitation to teachers and parents to enter prospective performers.

‘Over the years the festival has varied in size – it shrank after the war, but then it grew quite large, particularly under the leadership of Margaret Roberts.’

Mrs Roberts, who took over as chairwoman in 1991, was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by The News at our Guide Awards in 2006 for her part in saving the festival when it faced financial trouble.

Performers are given an adjudication and rated by a professional panel

‘We have some amazing talent coming through,’ added Mr Frogley. ‘The pleasure the kids get in taking part, and the benefit they get from the opportunity to perform in front of an audience and get feedback is fantastic.’

The 2017 festival will take place in venues around Portsmouth during February and March. There will be an opening Centenary Concert on Sunday, February 5 at Portsmouth High School, in Southsea, featuring performers from past festivals.

The syllabus is available online at portsmouthmusicfestival.co.uk.

Printed copies are also available from Wendy Lane, 56, Copythorn Road, Portsmouth, PO2 0EB with a cheque made out to Portsmouth Music Festival for £1.50 to cover P&P.