Portsmouth's music scene
Life outside study
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.
Portsmouth's ready to welcome you
Things are getting back to normal in the city, but some places still have their own covid restrictions. So it's best to check directly with businesses to confirm what activities and services are available.
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 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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Hungry for adventure? Here's a taster of the great food and drink you can savour in the city.
Portsmouth is a bustling city with the sea on our doorstep and green spaces all around.
We're home to great independent businesses, so shopping in the city is a treat.