UNION J star Josh Cuthbert is gearing up for an emotional homecoming as his band prepare to wow spectators at this weekend’s Portsmouth Summer Show.
The 23-year-old Portsmouth-born singer, who shot to fame with Union J after reaching the finals of The X Factor in 2012, says it will be special to perform in a place he holds dear to his heart.
It’s my hometown and I think it’s the first show we’ve done in Portsmouth, so it’s quite a big one and it’s going to feel special to me.Union J star Josh Cuthbert
And the group’s concert at King George V Playing Fields holds extra significance as it’s their first showing as a three-piece following the departure of George Shelley last month.
Speaking to The News about his pride in Portsmouth, Josh said: ‘It’s my hometown and I think it’s the first show we’ve done in Portsmouth, so it’s quite a big one and it’s going to feel special to me.
‘This is our first show now for five months, so it’s exciting in terms of getting back on the road and setting up again.
‘But the fact it’s in Portsmouth makes it that extra bit special.
Josh, who grew up in Southsea, said: ‘I know Portsmouth like the back of my hand so it’s going to be a strange feeling.
‘My first experience of singing was in a school play in Portsmouth, so it’s going to be great getting back out there in my hometown.’
Union J will perform in front of crowds on the main stage from 6.15pm to 6.45pm tomorrow.
The family occasion will also feature performances from the likes of reality TV star Peter Andre and US hip-hop band Fun Lovin’ Criminals.
Other major acts will include street dance troupe Diversity, boy band 5ive, 2013 X Factor winner Sam Bailey, English pop rockers Scouting for Girls and The Hoosiers. Speaking about the acts that have been secured for the show, Josh said: ‘It’s what this city deserves.
‘It’s an amazing city that should be bringing in these acts.’
Josh added: ‘It’s going to be the first time we’ve performed as a three since George left, but it could be the last time as a three because we’re potentially bringing someone in after.
‘Last year, we did something like 75 summer shows, between February and September.
‘We’ve been to so many places. It’s a job and it’s what we love doing, but at the same time we’re a bit more nervous for this one because we’re doing it as a three piece.’
Asked what people can expect from Union J’s show, Josh said: ‘We are all about our strong vocals, singing the best we can and getting the crowd involved.’
The event site will be open from 11am to 11pm on Saturday and Sunday.
A programme of family activities has been drawn up, including a big top with a petting zoo, demonstrations from karate and dance troupes and a funfair.
Josh’s proud mum, Kathryn Browne, will be in the crowd rooting for Union J along with Josh’s fiancée, Chloe Lloyd.
Kathryn said: ‘I’m really excited. It’s going to be very special.’
CAR parking arrangements have been set out for visitors travelling to Portsmouth Summer Show.
Parking will be available both days at Lakeside North Harbour, off Western Road, Portsmouth, at £5 per car.
Lakeside officials have apologised ahead of the event – being put together by the organisers of Southsea’s Victorious Festival – for any delays people experience entering or leaving the Lakeside campus.