Another year of events from Portsmouth Festivities has ended, and early feedback from audience members is that this years schedule was and excellent experience.
The Festivities opening Gala Concert with the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO) was something new for Portsmouth audiences, leaving them pleasantly surprised and with a taste of a genre of music some had never experienced before. Pupils from Portsmouth Grammar School were also lucky enough to be involved in the spectacle.
Erica Smith, Festivities Director, said: “Portsmouth Festivities is nothing without the people of our great community.
“The strength of our community and its love with the arts was well and truly on display on the evenings of our Electric Lumiere displays at Portsmouth Cathedral and the Royal Garrison Church. Hundreds of people lined the banks of the sea wall to watch the illuminations provided by Luxmuralis, with media teams out in force to catch the display.”
The renowned Spice Island Art Trail was once again filled with art lovers from around Portsmouth — giving the High Street a buzz of activity between the Square Tower, Jack House Gallery, and the Royal Naval Club.
During the event schedule the Cathedral was filled with the sublime sounds of Merton College, Oxford’s choir performing classics from the choral repertoire such as Bairstow, Sheppard, and Duruflé — but also some outstanding contemporary pieces from Eriks Esenvalds, Jonathan Harvey, and Matthew Martin.
“Sometimes folk, sometimes not” duo India Electric Co. displayed great showmanship at the Square Tower, entertaining in every sense, and with great musicianship.
Numerous commemorative events around the city were a great success this year. Military historian Andy Robertshaw’s talks on the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and the Making of War Horse the Movie, Dr Nick Walton from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust giving a fascinating insight into how Shakespeare’s legacy can be found wherever you look for the 400th anniversary of the bards death were some of the highlights.
Physicist, author, and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili’s talk on Michael Faraday’s discoveries on electromagnetic induction and the way they have influenced the world around us fascinated the audience that filled the David Russell Theatre at The Portsmouth Grammar School.
Principal organist of Westminster Abbey Daniel Cook gave a powerful display of the instrument in Portsmouth Cathedral in his lunchtime live performance. Local a cappella choir the Nelson Consort presented a stylish programme at St Georges Church, Portsea that was equally stylish in execution.
Dr John Cooper Clarke and his supporting act Simon Day performing at the newly renovated New Theatre Royal was one of the Festivities highlights. The New Theatre Royal also thundered with the inexorable energy of the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers with their captivating display of the different elements of Japanese performance art.
Talking about her pride in this years Festivities, Erica said: “Portsmouth Festivities are very grateful to all who came to support our Festivities this year, all our creative partners, and the community platform events that help to make up our huge variety of events and activities over the past 10 days.”
The dates for next year’s Portsmouth Festivities will be the 16th to the 25th June.