Southsea music festival gears up for fifth birthday bash

ROCK ON Band Zoo in the the Sky perform at last year's Southsea Fest
ROCK ON Band Zoo in the the Sky perform at last year's Southsea Fest
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AFTER starting as a one-off event to help a seriously ill teenager record an album, Southsea Fest has become an ‘accidental festival’ that is now celebrating its fifth anniversary.

With its best ever advance ticket sales the future is looking positive for the event which takes place this Saturday.

And with more than 100 local and national acts performing across 16 stages around the Albert Road area, it promises to be its best yet.

Founder and organiser Josie Curtis said: ‘I didn’t even think we would be running a festival, it just started as this one day event at two venues for my brother who was ill with Hodgkins lymphoma.

‘Things weren’t looking good for him and the rest of the family were told to expect the worst.

‘We wanted to help him record an album, so we organised this to raise the money for him to go into a studio and do that and it happened.’

Fortunately, her brother received a bone marrow transplant and has since made a full recovery.

‘A few people really enjoyed themselves on the day though, and it’s grown from there. It has been an accidental festival,’ said Josie.

The event now has close ties with the Ellen MacArthur Trust, which supports children with cancer, and has raised thousands of pounds for it.

Josie is keen to expand this side of the festival and work more with voluntary groups and offer chances of work experience at future years festivals.

‘It’s not cheap to put the day on and we want to make it more economical so we can give more and use the money for other things,’ added Josie.

The day has a ticket allocation of 2,500, and Josie said: ‘Our advance sales are our best ever, which is great in these economic times. We get interest from all over the UK now, we get loads of people come from London and a lot from along the South coast.

‘It’s good to know an independent festival can thrive. We want to support local music and emerging talent from all over. I don’t want it to be just about Portsmouth, but there will be local acts on at every stage throughout the day.’

The day will also feature highly anticipated sets from upcoming acts Pete and the Pirates and Johnny Foreigner as well as Mercury Prize nominated folk artist Fionn Regan.

Read The Guide on Friday for DJ Spikey Mark’s pick of the bands playing on the day.