Southsea Fest 2014

September 20, 2014
Southsea Fest
Albert Road

Southsea Fest takes place every September on the sunny isle of Portsmouth. We sent writer Emily Pilbeam and photographer Elspeth Wilkinson to investigate Southsea's 8th year.

Southsea Fest 2014


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Southsea Fest 2014

Southsea Fest takes place every September on the sunny isle of Portsmouth. We sent writer Emily Pilbeam and photographer Elspeth Wilkinson to investigate Southsea's 8th year.

Just when you think festival season is over for another year and you being to prepare yourself for post-festival blues – another festival with a cracking line up is underway. Southsea had it all: incredible live performances from the best up and coming bands, in some of the smallest and most intimate venues I’ve ever seen, and lovely locals (well, some of them). Every band we watched at Southsea had so much talent and potential and it just goes to show that despite the shit that is churned out of the radio daily; there's still is so much good music out there.

We saw a lot of acts at Southsea but here’s a few of the acts that blew our tiny little minds:

Popobawa started off our day at Southsea at the Fat Fox and boy did they do it well. Regardless of the difficulty they had setting up, Popobawa played immensely well. With their cool and indie vibes mixed with some sampling, Popobawa created an atmosphere that’s difficult to conduct at such an early time on stage. Listening back to some of their songs it’s difficult to understand why we haven’t found them before. This band did so well and set the standards high for the whole festival.

Popobowa by Elspeth Wilkinson

Next up, we saw a band called JOHN. These guys were so good we saw them twice. From across the road, we heard the muffled punk sounds of your everyday alt rock band and ran in to see what was going on. When we got into the venue and found ourselves face on with the sounds of the gutsy, venomous vocals and raucous riffs of JOHN, it made us quickly realise that these guys are far from your everyday punk band.


The Raglans put on a truly impeccable performance at Southsea this weekend. It was absolutely flawless. The sheer power that came through the drummer and the way in which the band worked together was mind-blowing. They managed to combine fun and excitement into some completely compelling bits of music, which is truly commendable. For an indie rock band it can be so easy to be lost within the looming shadow of the indie land fill, but the passion that shone through their performance proved what they’re capable of. Also, shout out to one of The Raglans for wearing a coat in the total sweatbox that was The Fat Fox.


If you’re into punk rock and you haven’t heard of Brawlers then I’m not sure what you’ve been doing for the past year. These guys seem to have played every single venue over the UK since 2013 and are going from strength to strength. Their live performances consist of utter chaos and Southsea was no exception – especially considering the stage was barely big enough for the drummer. Frontman, Harry Johns, has the characteristics every frontman of a band should have: on-point vocals, crazy energy on stage and the whole ‘don’t give a shit’ attitude as displayed through his rants at the indie, Topman mongering band playing next-door to them. Not only is Johns excellent, but the rest of Brawlers are equally as exciting, making for a bright future for the band.  Read Emily's Fresh Flesh piece on Brawlers by clicking here.

With fans queuing down Albert Street, Pulled Apart by Horses put on one of their best live performances to date. Opening with ‘Hot Squash’ and quickly transitioning into ‘V.E.N.O.M’, acting as a reminder as to how far this band has come over the last few years. PABH have the ability to combine proper gutsy heavy rock with clean, suave and pretty darn sexy alternative rock. Normal Pulled Apart by Horses mayhem ensued throughout the show but there was an air of professionalism in their performance, proving that this band is ready for the next step in their career. Whether you’re a fan of the new album, Blood or not, you can’t help but be transported into your own little world when riffs from ‘Medium Rare’ and ‘Grim Deal’ blare out of the amps. This band are slick, professional and destined for so much more.

PABH by Elspeth Wilkinson

Southsea Fest had a difficult job of ending the festival season after the huge line-ups that were around this year but with their talent at finding the best new bands around, they certainly did a good job. Well done to Southsea for restoring our faith in the music industry. We'll see you next year.



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