Icebreaker Festival, the new music showcase returns to Southsea on Saturday with more than 80 acts

The Guide award-winning Icebreaker Festival finally makes its return at the end of the month after a Covid-enforced break.

Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 5:19 pm

There will be more than 80 unsigned local and regional acts playing across 10 stages between The Wedgewood Rooms on Albert Road in the east and The Deco on Elm Grove in the west.

From the pop-punk of The Stayawakes, to the indie-rock of Hallan or Neverman, the epic tunes of Fake Empire, one-man-bands Tom Bryan or Fugitive Empire, Morass of Molasses’ metal, and much, much more, it’s a veritable musical feast.

Headlining The Vaults Stage One will be blues-rock-soul band Brave Rival, who will be gearing up for the release of their debut album in the spring.

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    Fronted by Portsmouth-based powerhouse vocalists Lindsey Bonnick and Chloe Josephine, the latter is currently on maternity leave.

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    ‘It's a bit of a strange time,’ says Lindsey, ‘but Chloe’s only going to be out for two or three months.

    Amba Tremain is going to step up instead of Chloe for Icebreaker. She joined us at quite a big gig in Skegness,’ last weekend’s The Great British Rock & Blues Fest, ‘and she's on the same stage as us at Icebreaker a couple of acts before.’

    Portsmouth-based blues-rock band Brave Rival. Picture by Jonathon Parkins

    The focus for the band, completed by Ed Clarke (guitar), Donna Peters (drums), Billy Dedman (bass), is the album.

    ‘It has been a long time coming, which is kind of fitting as that’s the title of one of the songs on the album.

    ‘We were supposed to go into the studio in early April 2020 to start recording it, and that obviously got cancelled.

    ‘But we did lots of Zoom calls, and we've got folders online where we'd share ideas, and would send each other stuff constantly.

    ‘That’s kind of carried on, and we've got some amazing stuff that would have probably never seen the light of day otherwise.’

    Getting together when they could, the album was finally finished last August, but they’ve delayed its release for Chloe’s pregnancy.

    ‘We recorded it at the Mayfair Studios in Farnham, which is run by Donna and her husband Rupert, who's also our roadie and sound engineer – it's their studio, it's basically our second home. We rehearse there, we record there, we do videos there. Everything is centred around there, it's quite cool.’

    The band’s current line-up came together for Victorious Festival in 2019, and as Lindsey says: ‘Then we kind of had to shut down a few months after that, which was such a shame.’

    ‘But we've done so much since then, which is really quite crazy considering the limitations we've had.

    ‘It's been a bit of a creative blessing. We had been writing for a little while before we were supposed to go into the studio in 2020, but since we had to take a break we carried on writing, and we wrote some incredible stuff that never would have been on the album if we hadn't had that time.

    ‘Obviously it was a very difficult time in other ways, but creatively it was very good.’

    They also started a Patreon, an online subscription service fans can sign up to for a monthly fee and receive extras from the band.

    ‘It's growing, and we're putting out content all the time because we've always got something going on, and it's really nice to have such amazing supporters – all of our supporters and fans are amazing, but those who are financially investing in us is beyond anything we could have dreamed of.

    ‘The whole point of it is to grow the fanbase and just to have something ticking over in the background.

    ‘We're constantly fundraising – every gig we do is fundraising, it all goes into the kitty – we don't make any money from it ourselves, at the moment.

    ‘The dream is to make an income from original music, but that takes a lot of work.

    ‘If people can afford £5 a month to invest in something they believe in, it may not seem like a big ask, but it is really, considering all of the other things people have to pay for.’

    With the album due in May, there will be a taster in February with the release of a single and video, Guilty Love.

    ‘The video was made by the incredibly talented Martyna Madej,’ says Lindsey. ‘We drafted in a couple of incredible actors, Olivia Cheesebrough and Mark Gaizley, who absolutely smashed it.

    ‘They were last minute replacements too, because we had other actors who couldn't make it, but then these guys were recommended.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ We can't wait for people to see it.’

    In the meantime, there’s Icebreaker…

    ‘We're absolutely desperate to get out there and play live!’ adds Lindsey.

    Check out Brave Rival’s Patreon here.

    Icebreaker Festival takes place at various venues on Albert Road and Elm Grove in Southsea on Saturday, January 29 from 1pm until late.

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