After ten days of playful events at this year’s Portsmouth Festivities, thousands of people engaged in a variety of activities. The highlights of the festival included Martha & the Vandellas, Mary Wilson, Denis MacShane & Peter Hitchens, Parkour, TALISK, Peter Donohoe, Wayne Marshall and John Harle.

The Opening Gala Concert drew in a huge crowd to see the Maggini Quartet and pianist Peter Donohoe, perform at Portsmouth Cathedral along with The Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir who stunned the audience with their collaboration of Five Hebrew Love Songs by Eric Whitacre.

Many gathered on the first Saturday to Southsea common to watch films inside the Incredible Moving Picturehouse Truck, Jaws was a clear favourite as well as Life Aquatic.

The Spice Box entertained children and adults of all ages with one woman’s tales of far-away lands and spices worth more than gold. Croshare brought together the community at aspex gallery with the TRAWL exhibition, a net made of crocheted sea urchins and more. Lots of great fun was had at Come Sing a Sea Shanty, learning how to sing shanty style.

There were plenty of talks attended during the 10 days with exploration by Michael Gunton into the cases of Sherlock Holmes, and Francis Pike sharing his knowledge of the Pacific War and Denis MacShane and Peter Hitchens didn’t disappoint with their differing political views on the current Brexit debate.

It is important to say that our commemorative events were a great success this year, with PLAYPOWER marking the 50th anniversary of the ‘summer of love’, and The Angels Cry marking the 100th anniversary of Passchendaele.

Sunday finished with a bang with a final performance from Batala to mark the end of the PLAY CODE CITY game that has seen an extra 40 free live events in addition to the main programme. Nearly 2000 people engaged with PLAY CODE CITY events across the City and the feedback for the live trail has been extraordinary. The winner of PLAY CODE CITY Ausra Vaisvilaite said, “This has been great and I am not sure what I am going to do with my time now”.
The weather was on our side for all of the outdoor events and Martha Reeves sang about our Heat Wave saying it’s the warmest she has ever felt in the UK. Festivities Director, Erica Smith: “It was great to have such legends being part of the festival this year and despite the heat many people enjoyed the PLAY theme for 2017. We are already looking forward to next year and bringing the City a great 10 day experience again”.

Portsmouth Festivities are extremely grateful to all who came to support our festival this year, and to our creative partner and community platform events that help to make up our huge variety of events and activities in our 10 days.

The dates for next year’s Portsmouth Festivities are 15-24 June 2018