Ports Fest

Ports Fest 2023 is ready to IGNITE this summer!

Ports Fest is so glad to be back with another summer programme full of events for all to enjoy. 

This year, the ‘Ignite’ theme gathers even more momentum offering a multitude of experiences for young people, introducing some outstanding emerging talent and connecting our community in the joy of shared cultural encounters. 

Come and see one of the highlights of this year’s experiences by joining hundreds of young people parading to the theme of ‘Ignite’. This explosive event, supported by Arts Council England, is the culmination of a partnership with New Carnival Company, leading experts in the field, who have been developing the personal creativity of young people and youth leaders to deliver a Mardi Gras parade.
Another of our main events this year is Portsmouth Keys, where multiple events and workshops all centre around our connection with the piano. The public will have the amazing opportunity to go along and play the pianos we have allocated around the city and also get lost in the music by listening to others. That’s not the end of it! The programme also includes an evening of music and improvisation with extraordinarily talented Harry the Piano, known as one of the most gifted improvising pianists in the world.

We could not possibly end the Ports Fest festival without extending another warm welcome to the Multi-Story Orchestra. Prepare to ignite your senses; from lava and surging to eruption and ash, their performance tells the story of the life of ‘The Volcano’ through an amassed percussion and vocal ensemble featuring incredible young local musicians. 

As ever, the 2023 programme is jam packed with immersive events – imagine spending an evening with the ‘Banksy of Poetry’ Brian Bilston, mixing with a wide collective of local artists in a collaborative journey provided by 432-Nomads in ‘Ignite the Phoenix, or perhaps witnessing a world premiere showing of author Kate Mosse’s, OBE, ‘Ship of the Dead’ as a motion comic. 

“This year’s ‘Ignite’ theme has been a great catalyst for bringing all of our cultural experiences together. With the current economic climate, we have made sure that there are many free events for people to attend made possible with support from our partners, funders and sponsors.” – Erica Smith, Director of Ports Fest. 

We are also delighted to capture Shakespeare’s final play, ‘The Tempest’, an enthralling voyage of reckoning and redemption, set in the magical setting of Portchester Castle. As you settle with your picnics in the Inner Bailey, and the sun sets behind the castle walls, the magic is revealed. 

“Every year, Ports Fest delivers a diverse and exciting programme, which engages a really broad cross-section of our community. Whether it is seeing and orchestra playing in a multi-storey car park or taking part in a Mardi Gras, there is lots of fun to be had this year!” – Councillor Steve Pitt, Portsmouth City Council. 

We hope this year’s Ports Fest ignites your cultural appetite and we very much look forward to seeing you there.

Find out more about Ports Fest