The Southsea Old Guard gets back together for a musical marathon in aid of charity

Paul Keeler, aka, DJ Monkey P
Paul Keeler, aka, DJ Monkey P

What began as something to provide backing music for people while they collected their tickets at a now-defunct festival has become a major fundraiser in tribute to a friend.

Musician and the event’s founder Charlie Waddington says: ‘I began it in 2011. I was asked to do something for Southsea Fest that wasn’t live music. The Wine Vaults it was where people were collecting their tickets and I guess they didn’t want live music as it would be too distracting. So I did this from 12 to 12 – I got 11 mates to come and play an hour each.

‘It went so well we did it each year for Southsea Fest, and by the time Southsea Fest had wrapped up it had developed a bit of a life of its own – I really enjoyed it, it ended up being my favourite day of the year and didn’t really want to stop just because the festival did.’

Sadly popular local DJ Paul Keeler, aka DJ Monkey P died in 2015. Paul was also the founder of a charity, No More Durty Water, which aimed to bring clean water to poverty-stricken communities in Uganda. 

‘He had played every one I had done up to then, so it felt right to remember him that year. We raised a bit of money for No More Durty Water, then the next year we did the same again – we used it as an excuse to remember an old mate.’

With the event’s increased popularity Charlie found himself having to turn down people who wanted to play. Now the Southsea Old Guard event sees more than 50 DJ playing a wide-range of styles from midday through to midnight.

‘In 2017 I expanded it massively, and ended up with three rooms and about 30 DJs. When you’re expanding like that you take it a bit more seriously. It kind of snowballed –  the next one was 40 DJs, then the one in November just gone was 50 DJs, and it’s become a bit of a beast.

‘I organise it all pretty much myself but I can’t complain, everyone is so helpful and willing, and obviously everyone plays for free.

‘Since it expanded it’s been very charity-driven and very much a community thing.

‘I’ve always been surprised that there wasn’t something like this already as there are so many DJs here who play such a wide range of music, it seems daft that we’re not all a bit closer.

When I started it, I didn’t want it all to be all indie DJs or all hip-hop DJs – I wanted it to be random and sporadic, kind of eclectic throughout the day, and that spirit has stayed.

‘There’s no kind of music I wouldn’t welcome as long as we could fit it in and there’s enough time in the day.’

The day also features a raffle with top prizes including tickets for various festivals, T-shirts, artwork, vinyl and more.

SOUTHSEA OLD GUARD 18/19 2nd LEG

The Wine Vaults, Southsea

Saturday, May 11, midday to midnight

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