Who needs to go all the way to Spain for Benicassim when we have Burticassim right here?

Fugitive Orchestra. Picture by Adam Lacey
Fugitive Orchestra. Picture by Adam Lacey

Choir appeal for new head

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Music-lovers, if you can’t make it to the major Spanish festival Benicassim later this month, don’t despair – we have our own slightly more humble, homegrown version in Portsmouth.

The charity fundraiser Burticassim celebrates its fifth anniversary by taking over The Wedgewood Rooms for the first time.

John Burt started the annual event in his back garden with a few mates.

‘I’ve always been out and about the local music scene, watching various local bands, so I thought it would be great to put on my own thing, but also to do it and raise some money at the same time for various local charities.

‘We did the first one, just to see how it would go and I got the bug for it and it’s snowballed from there, so we’ve ended up in the Wedgewood Rooms. It’s all gone in the right direction!’

The name was made up by John and his mates when they needed something to call it. ‘There were only about 30 of us there at the first one, and then it grew and the name kind of stuck, but it sticks out from the other things out there – it’s a bit unusual.’

And John’s been able to pull together the bill simply by getting to know the acts.

‘It’s literally just being around the Portsmouth scene, I’m 34 now and I started going out to gigs when I was 16 so it’s been about 18 years really, just getting out and getting to know people, and gradually building friendships through going out.

‘I’ve always had a love for music and what’s going on around here. I think the scene’s in a great state at the moment across Portsmouth.

‘This year, with it being the fifth year, with some of the acts having been friends for a number of years, we’ve got some of who’ve played in previous years and also got some new acts in for the first time.’

This year’s line-up includes the cream of the region’s scene with sets across The Wedge and The Edge of The Wedge from Pets, Four Folds Law, Gorgeous George, Gem And The Deadheads, Grant Sharkey, The Aim, Paul Dillon, That Dani Bird, Fugitive Orchestra, Michael Turvey, The Folsom, Dave Miatt, Miami Driveway, Charlie Forbes and Jamin. Ethan Owen will DJ at the after-party.

‘Sam McCarthy has come and played for a me quite a few times solo, so it’s great to have him back with Pets. Four Folds Law helped us out last year, and they’re a band I really love, so it’s great to have them back. And to get Gem and the Deadheads, as I’ve known (guitarist) Tristan Ivemy for quite a while so it’s nice to get them down from London.’

This year, all profits will go to The Chestnut Tree House, the children’s hospice for East and West Sussex and south-east Hampshire.

The day also features a raffle with plenty of top prizes.

‘We’ve been given quite a few generous donations,’ John adds. ‘Even now there are still things coming in. I’m overwhelmed with how generous people have been.

‘It’s all shaping up to be an excellent day.’

The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Saturday, July 8

wedgewood-rooms.co.uk