Featuring 150 acts performing in 11 venues, the unsigned music showcase Icebreaker Festival makes a welcome return at the start of next month.
The festival, now in its fourth year, has expanded to two days for the first time and also has BBC Introducing on board – they will be broadcasting from The Wedgewood Rooms on the Saturday evening.
Headliners include Richard Morris, Is Bliss, The Collision, The Paul Dillon Band (in their final ever show), The Machete, Coax, Fainites, Horseflies, Arcade Hearts and more.
Topping the bill on the Acapulco stage on Friday will be neo-grunge trio, Foxer.
They have played at every Icebreaker to date, and today also happily marks the release of their first new material in nearly four years when they alt-rocker still a four-piece.
'We seem to be stuck in that sort of transition period as far as the world knows,' explains singer/guitarist Chris Peace. 'We wanted to get new material out and show everyone this is what we are now – a little bit of a different sound, a little bit edgier.
'About a year ago we wanted to get some new material out, but it’s been an absolute nightmare. We’ve been struggling with that, trying to get it right, going to sessions and studios and not really coming out with the results that we were hoping for, or promised, to put it politely.
'It’s been a lot of back and forward on things and trial and error. You can talk to people and say: "We want this," and what you get back isn’t what you discussed, or you go in somewhere thinking you’re on the same page and they’re not even looking at the same book.
'It is a problem when you’re putting your life’s work out there and sonically trying to tell a story or paint a little picture, and somebody doesn’t really care, that’s disheartening and a waste of money.
'People have been saying to us, we want some more, what’s next? Where’s the new stuff. We’ve had a massive backlog of stuff ready and waiting, we’ve written so much stuff, it’s been really frustrating.
'People who come to the gigs can hear it and that’s fantastic, but you want to get it recorded, get it out there, and get it on the social media and all of the platforms for everybody to take away.
'That’s what you do with bands now – you used to have a tape or you’d get a copied CD off somebody saying you’ve got to to check these guys out, now you get a link to Spotify. We’ve just been trying to get this stuff recorded.'
'We’re calling it a super-single, it’s not quite an EP! The lead track is called Slingshot, and then there’s an acoustic version of that, then the double AA side, I guess you'd call it, is called Shrink.
'They’re two tracks that have a kind of similar theme of, we were discussing this earlier, we’re going with "uncomfortable space", whether that’s mental or physical.'
And the band are looking forward to playing at the Acapulco – last time they played there it was still Al Burrito.
'It’s a perfect, sweaty little box. You get everyone crammed in there, and you really get the vibe of playing a live room and everyone’s jumping around – that’s what you need in winter –warming everyone up.
'It’s a nice position to be in, to say we’re headlining that corner of it.'
And he also praised the event's organisers.
'We’ve got to give a shout out to Mike [Hartley] and his band. It’s growing every year, and getting bigger and better. It’s still a very young festival, but they’ve really made their mark in a very short time.
'Now it’s over two days, there are more acts to see, it should be good.'
Various venues, Southsea