Crystal Tides get their 2020 off to a flyer by headlining Icebreaker Festival at The Wedgewood Rooms

Following a storming 2019 Crystal Tides are off to a flyer in 2020 as they headline Icebreaker, the one-day festival at Southsea dedicated to new and unsigned music.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 6:00 am
Crystal Tides headline The Wedgewood Rooms at Icebreaker Festival 2020.

The festival will see dozens of acts perform on seven stages along Albert Road and Elm Grove, from The Wedgewood Rooms to The Deco.

The indie-rock band will be wrapping things up at The Wedge, a stage they’re more than familiar with. When they played there last May, they sold out the show, with the venue being opened up inside into the neighbouring Edge of The Wedge to get in as many fans as possible.

Frontman Billy Gregory recalls the gig: ‘It was absolutely rammed in there. And we had loads of people singing our songs back to us, which was a really good feeling.’

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Other highlights from last year include headlining The Seaside Stage at Victorious Festival on the Saturday: ‘We were worried about being against some of the biggest names in music, but we still had loads of people come and watch us.’

And their last single Deserter was BBC Introducing Solent’s track of the week, and it got playlisted by Radio X.

But there have been changes in the camp, with their original drummer and bassist departing and George Regan joining on bass. With the line-up completed by guitarist Harry Knowles, they’ve also been using session drummers.

They are also joined live by Neil Cripps, formerly of Shoot The Duke, also on guitar. Neil used to play with Billy in another band, so their friendship goes way back.

‘When Shoot The Duke split up, he messaged me and said: “I don’t know if it’s of any interest, but I’d love to keep playing”. Coincidentally, we were looking for someone to help beef up our live sound, and since then he’s played near-on every show with us. He loves it, and we love having him in it with us.’

The band are currently on their first tour, which culminates with the home town show at Icebreaker – their first time playing the winter festival.

‘We were meant to play last year, but we had accidentally double-booked with a big London show, so we had to go with that instead.

‘This year, after speaking with Mike (Hartley, Icebreaker co-founder), we built a good relationship with him – he was running the stage we were on at Victorious, and it naturally came into play.

‘He was taking note when we did our headline show at The Wedge, and then when we did that at Victorious, I think he was keen to have us.

‘We were so excited to be even considered – it’s massive for us.

‘One of the main things for us that we are from Portsmouth, and we really want that Portsmouth backing, so it’s important for us to have the city behind us and play at an event like this.’

The band will release a new single, Ex on Valentine’s Day, with more new music expected in late spring.

And they will be supporting The Sherlocks at The Engine Rooms in Southampton on March 6, with festival dates to be announced soon.


The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Saturday, January 25