Southsea Folk & Roots Festival

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Country and Region United KingdomEngland
Type of Festival Music
Location of Festival Southsea, Hampshire, England UK
Festival Description

The Annual Folk Roots & Blues Festival featured live music and dance at the Naval Base Establishments Central Sports Association ("Dockyard Club"). Evening concerts took place at the Club on the Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend. Supporting fringe events were held at local pubs from Friday to Monday. This festival took place annually for 12 years and was dedicated to the late great JACKIE LEVEN (1950-2011).

Festival Dates August 26, 2012
Festival Links

Festival Story:

After over thirty years as a Hampshire Police Officer, with the last twenty or so spent in drugs dectection, John Roberts retired in 2000 at the age of 50. As a lifelong music fanatic and performer, he decided to live the dream, jumped in at the deep end and with the help of his Police pension started Barking Spider Promotions. Since then he has organised around a thousand folk and roots events in the Portsmouth area, from pub gigs to big name acts and festivals. He relocated to rural Ireland in 2006, but still organises over 125 gigs a year in Portsmouth.

South Parade Pier had always been the background to John’s life - one of his earliest memories was being taken there by his mother when he was very young, and the Hammond Organ players always played Teddy Bear’s Picnic for him. Since starting Barking Spider, John managed to bring a lot of the bands he had seen years before back to The Pier - including Steeleye Span, Lindisfarne - and in particular Woodstock Festival legend Country Joe McDonald and all but one of the original members of his band The Fish.

John learnt the music business the hard way - sometimes losing money, sometimes breaking even and sometimes making a few quid here and there, which enabled him to offset the losses! His ambition lay in bringing great music to the masses.

In 2001, after a year of promoting, John realised a dream by putting together the first Southsea Folk Festival. A bunch of like-minded friends came together and formed the Festival committee, with John as the Promoter and Booker, and decided that the best dates on which to hold the event would be the August Bank Holiday weekend. In 2001 Southsea Folk Festival started modestly, but still managed to get some great artistes together - some well known, like Bob Fox and The Joyce Gang (featuring Paul Downes), and some not so well known. However, Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson were the real coup. The Festival ran over three evenings and two days, and broke even!

One of the strengths of The Southsea Folk & Roots Festival had been in recognising the wealth of local talent we have in our area. The Festival wouldn’t have been the same without appearances by local heroes such as The News Awards winner Chris Ricketts, Ade Cull, Arlen, Legacy, Andy Broad, Apicella, Mary Jane, Hard Times String Band, The Jellyrollers, Father Jack, Dan Ogus, Della Perrett’s Sweetedge, White Knuckle Blues Band, The Continentals, Burnt Ice and many, many others.

Local music pubs and venues were also included in the Southsea Folk & Roots Festival to hold pub fringe gigs, utilising many of the artistes that have played during the daytime gigs. This meant there was always something for everyone.


Festival Events:

Programming 2012:
  • Blues Afternoon: 12:00 Noon (doors open) until 6:00pm (£12)
    • Andy Broad
    • Reet Petite & Gone
    • Jon Amor Blues Group
  • Folk & Roots Evening: 8:00pm (doors open) until 11:00pm (£12)
    • P.J. Wright
    • Julie Felix


Other Sources:

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Practical Info:

  • In order of appearance (all photos taken by Kevin Healy)
    • Ade Cull
    • Festival Logo
    • Jackie Leven
    • Robin James Hurt
    • Sons of the Delta
    • Stompin' Dave Allen
    • The Men They Couldn’t Hang


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