Rapper Krept, University of Portsmouth graduate, performing

Live music, festivals and music societies

Passionate about music? Find out how to get involved in Portsmouth's music scene

If you're looking for live music at university, Portsmouth hosts events and festivals throughout the year. If you want to perform, you can join one of our music societies or bands.

Portsmouth has a long history of hosting famous bands such as Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, and a growing local music scene supported by dedicated venues.

You can easily find yourself at gigs multiple times a week, rehearsing your own music at open mic nights, or playing at one of the music festivals for upcoming bands.

Music festivals in Portsmouth

The biggest music festivals in or near Portsmouth are the Victorious Festival and the Isle of Wight Festival. If you're looking for local bands and a cheaper ticket price, check out Icebreaker or Dials.

Victorious Festival

Victorious Festival is a homegrown Portsmouth festival. Held on Southsea Common with stages overlooking the sea, it combines local bands, world music and family-friendly areas with headliners like Bloc Party, The Prodigy, Two Door Cinema Club, New Order, The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs, Mark Ronson and The Charlatans.
The Common Stage at Victorious Festival at night
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Isle of Wight Festival

Every year, the Isle of Wight Festival takes place a short ferry ride away from Portsmouth. Over the years, headliners have included Jay Z, Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, The Stone Roses, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Stereophonics and Liam Gallagher.
Kelly Jones, from the band Stereophonics, performing on stage
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Icebreaker Festival

Icebreaker Festival is the south coast's biggest unsigned music festival. It showcases the best local and emerging bands every January in multiple venues in Southsea, including the Wedgewood Rooms, Lord John Russell and the Wine Vaults.
An Icebreaker Festival sign
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Music venues in Portsmouth

You'll find gigs all across Portsmouth. To get you started, these are some of the city's best known and most active local venues – including Portsmouth's famous Wedgewood Rooms.

The Wedgewood Rooms

The Wedgewood Rooms, or The Wedge, is one of Southsea's oldest alternative venues. Since 1992, local music fans have had the chance to see big names like Primal Scream, Elbow, Kasabian, Oasis, The Strokes and Razorlight at this small but lively venue. The Wedge also has a smaller venue, The Edge of The Wedge, for new local bands and artists to play to an intimate crowd.
Image copyright The Wedgewood Rooms
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Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Guildhall is a stone's throw from our campus. This historic building, dating back to 1890, regularly holds conferences and concerts, with a capacity for 2,500 people in the main hall. Previous acts who played at the Guildhall include The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Iron Maiden, Bob Dylan, Mumford and Sons, and Radiohead.
Portsmouth Guildhall
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Neverman playing on Albert Road

Albert Road

Albert Road hosts many small music venues. Promoters like Idols Promotions and Black Balloon Sessions regularly hold showcases for local bands in venues such as The Loft (above The Kings pub), Lord John Russell, The Vaults and the Royal Albert.

Recording studios and rehearsal space

If you're looking for somewhere for your band to practice, or you want to make a recording, these local companies provide recording services and/or rehearsal space.

Something different

Visit Portsmouth's one-of-a-kind food and music venue, Pie & Vinyl, where you can enjoy unbelievably good pies while listening to vinyl records.

Explore Pie and Vinyl

Portsmouth's unique music café

Hear from Café owner, Steve Courtnell and students on why they love Pie and Vinyl and Portsmouth.

The passion was born through the love of music, but of course, 10 years ago, perhaps a physical format didn't have a life.

I wanted to create an experience.

The vinyl record, I think, is an experience.

It forces you to listen to it.

And then I thought of incorporating a food element.

So like a kind of a café culture where you sold music and we also played good music in the shop.

I think it's a really cool concept.

I don't know anywhere else that does pies and vinyl together, and I just think it's really cool and creative.

I'm really proud.

I'm Portsmouth through and through.

I love Portsmouth because it is one of the only island cities in the UK.

I'm originally from Cornwall and being by the sea was really important for me and the whole island is surrounded by it.

So whenever I miss home, it's so quick to go to the beach and I love that.

When we go out and we get invited to things like the 6 Music Festival, we do end up being more kind of TripAdvisor's than anything else.

Music opportunities at the University

When you study with us, you'll have access to specialist music facilities and you can listen to or perform with many ensembles. You can take part in various music activities, whichever course you study. You can also hire instruments or arrange private tuition from the Music Department.

Dancers from Cinderella production
Person marking sheet music with light blue pencil

Classical music

Many events take place at the Guildhall, while orchestras, choirs and amateur dramatic (AmDram) societies perform in theatres, cathedrals and churches around the city and surrounding areas.

The website Music in Portsmouth lists classical concerts in and around Portsmouth. The Portsmouth Chamber Music Series runs from October to May. And you can buy tickets for classical music events on our online store.

Organ scholarship

If you're a talented organ player, you can apply for a Foundation Organ Scholarship at St Mary's Church, a large inner-city parish church. The year-long scholarship is for organists aged 16–25. You don't have to be part of the Anglican Church to apply, but you should be prepared to take part in their traditions.

Music charities

If you love music and want to be involved in using music to benefit disadvantaged communities, you can support several music charities in and around Portsmouth.

Tonic: Music for Mental Health

Tonic: Music for Mental Health funds music workshops, gigs, art groups and community projects to help people recover from mental health problems. Tonic has celebrity support from artists including Terry Hall from The Specials and Kevin Cummins, a legendary rock photographer.

Music Fusion

Music Fusion is a charity based in Havant that encourages young people to make music. Their East Street recording studio is a safe, friendly and creative space for young people to connect, socialise and make music. They also encourage young artists to use music as a platform for positive social action.

The CEO and Founder of Music Fusion, Jinx Prowse, is one of our alumni. Jinx supports future entrepreneurs for social change through our Entrepreneurs in Residence programme.

Find out more about life in Portsmouth

Take a closer look at more of the exciting things on offer in our amazing city.

Places to eat in Portsmouth

Hungry for adventure? Here's a taster of the great food and drink you can savour in the city.

City Guide: Gin & Olive
Grub's up

Beaches, piers and parks

Portsmouth is a bustling city with the sea on our doorstep and green spaces all around.

Ferry in the sea
Start exploring

Shopping in Portsmouth

We're home to great independent businesses, so shopping in the city is a real treat.

Woman shopping for postcards outside entrance of Hotwalls Studios
Hot Walls - City Guide 2022
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Sport in Portsmouth

From water sports to football and quidditch - few cities can compete with Portsmouth's sports opportunities.

Portsmouth FC vs Exeter City FC
For UoP internal use only
Let's play

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