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.
Visit the website

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.
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Dials Festival

Dials Festival is an annual multi-venue festival providing a platform for local bands on the south coast. Dials showcases growing artists and raises money for a local mental health charity. In 2019, it raised £2,500 for Solent Mind.
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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.
Find out more

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.

Image copyright The 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.

Visit the website

Portsmouth Guildhall

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.

Visit the website

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.


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.

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.


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