Remember the days of ‘nothing ever happens in Portsmouth’? How times have changed! There are so many ‘big’ events on Portsmouth’s yearly calendar now, we can create an entire post dedicated to them! Whether you’re looking for delicious food, the best local music, family fun, shopping opportunities, or hilarious comedians, there’s something for absolutely everyone.
We’ll update this list during the year. Think we’re missing something? Tweet your recommendations to @teamlocals.
Portsmouth Cocktail Festival
📍 Portsmouth Guildhall
⏳ 1:30pm — 11:00pm, April 7th
The Cocktail Festival comes to Portsmouth Guildhall on Saturday 7th April 2018, in partnership with Southsea’s most contemporary high-end cocktail specialists, Sant-Yago. Expect an evening of sensational entertainment, some of the most talented local live bands and performers the south coast has to offer, and thrilling displays from the UK’s leading cocktail flarers, creating delicious bespoke cocktails. Plus, lots of tasty food stalls!
📍 All over Portsmouth
⏳ Various dates and times
For 10 days each year, starting in the middle of June, Portsmouth Festivities run an exciting range of events across the city of Portsmouth which capture imaginations, celebrate diversity, and explore the island’s incredible heritage. The annual programme has been running for two decades, and each year is led by a core theme and a handful of headline events. 2017’s theme was ‘PLAY’. 2018’s brochure line-up is set to be unveiled on March 16th, and as always, there’ll be something exhilarating and intriguing for everyone’s interests.
Portsmouth Vegan Festival
📍 Portsmouth Guildhall
⏳ 4th March, 10:30am to 4:30pm
The future of food! Portsmouth Vegan Festival brings 100 world food caterers, exciting cookery showcases, inspiring talks, and interactive workshops to Portsmouth Guildhall on Sunday 4th March. There’ll be yoga, plus lots of children’s activities. Entry is £3, payable on the door on the day (under-16s go free). Or, get a £15 VIP ticket in advance for fast-track entry, a goody bag of vegan products, samples, discounts, and offers.
Portsmouth International Comic Con
📍 Portsmouth Guildhall
⏳ Saturday 5th/Sunday 6th May
Portsmouth Guildhall hosts the best in comic book, TV, film, and pop culture entertainment on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th May 2018. Portsmouth Comic Con features a glimpse behind the camera of Doctor Who with its leading prosthetic makeup artists, galleries of behind-the-scenes art from Game of Thrones, cosplay competitions, and Q&A panels with the likes of Geof Darrow, Russell Walks, Tommy Lee Edwards, Gene Ha, Frank Quitely, and more.
Portsmouth Comedy Fest
📍 Portsmouth Guildhall
⏳ Saturday 10th/Sunday 11th March
Portsmouth Guildhall host a side-splitting line-up of hilarious comics at the Big Mouth Comedy Festival on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th March 2018, including Russell Kane, Andy Parsons, Seann Walsh, Lee Nelson, Joe Ravens, Alistair McGowan, and loads more. Laugh your ass off at a huge number of comedians you’ll recognise from Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo, The John Bishop Show, and more.
Mutiny Festival 2018
📍 King George V Playing Fields
⏳ 26th and 27th May — Bank Holiday
Mutiny Festival turns five in 2018! And they’re bringing the biggest line-up ever to the King George V Playing Fields in Cosham, including: Craig David, Andy C, Idris Elba, Tom Zanetti & KO Kane, Kojo Funds, Chris Lorenzo, Sam Divine, Flava D, Second City, Danny Byrd, Darkzy, Josh Butler, Skepsis, P Money, Sneakbo, Jaykae, Fekky, Majestic, DJ SKT, Ramz, Danny T, Prototypes, Frankee, and loads more. Mutiny Festival hits on the 26th and 27th of May.
Victorious Festival 2018
📍 Southsea Seafront
⏳ 24th/25th/26th August
Victorious Festival returns to Southsea Seafront on the August bank holiday weekend — that’s the 24th, 25th, and 26th August! They’ve bagged electronic pioneers The Prodigy for the Sunday headliner — a UK festival exclusive. Friday is headlined by The Libertines and the Kaiser Chiefs, whilst Saturday’s top billing goes to Paul Weller and Paloma Faith. Other big names on this year’s roster are Years & Years, Friendly Fires, Example, Everything Everything, Coasts, Shed Seven, Happy Mondays, The Amazons, Gabrielle Aplin, and Lucy Spraggan.
Portsmouth Psych Fest
📍 Three venues in Albert Road
⏳ April 28th, 2:00pm ‘til late
Portsmouth has a very healthy psychedelia scene, and one of the newest annual festivals in the area, Portsmouth Psych Fest, is as good an indicator of that as any. 2018’s line-up sees Barbudo, Black Midi, Creatures, Flamingods, Hotel Lux, Lucid Rising, Madonnatron, Melt Dunes, Mystic Peach, Number 9, Palm Honey, Strange Cases, The Ninth Wave, Violet Mud, Yassassin, Yowl, and others performing across three Albert Road venues on April 28th.
Castle Road Record Store Day 2018
📍 Castle Road, Southsea
⏳ Saturday 21st April
Celebrate Record Store Day in Castle Road for the fourth year running on Saturday 21st April 2018 — part of a national network of events supporting independent record shops and labels across the UK. There’ll be over 40 independent traders selling street food, booze, and market wares. The ‘Clocktower’ stage will host a number of top national touring artists, with a line-up to be revealed soon. Previous artists include Band of Skull, and IDLES.
The Fitness Festival 2018
📍 Castle Field, Southsea
⏳ Saturday 2nd June 2018
If there was one kind of event that was missing from Portsmouth’s annual calendar until a few years ago, it was something with a focus on fitness. Thankfully, hundreds of local trainers, sports brands, and fitness fanatics assembled to create The Fitness Festival! Located on Castle Field, this free event has countless activities for all ages, and a healthy food market. The festival now gets national attention.
Portsmouth Kite Festival
📍 Southsea Common
⏳ 11th and 12th August
Portsmouth International Kite Festival 2018 takes place on August 11th and August 12th on Southsea Common, and it’s free to enter! The collaborative event between Portsmouth City Council and the Kite Society of Great Britain promises to be more spectacular than ever, with over 100 kite fliers from across four continents traveling to the event, heralded one of the best kite festivals in the world. There are lots of hands-on activities for all ages to enjoy!
Rural & Seaside Show
📍 Castle Field, Southsea Seafront
⏳ 29th/30th April + 1st May
Portsmouth’s wildly popular annual Rural & Seaside Show returns to Southsea’s Castle Field for the May Day bank holiday weekend, bringing donkey rides, welly throwing, tug of war, sheep dog displays, market stalls, heavy horse displays, dog shows, children’s rides, refreshments, and many more fun family activities to the seafront. It takes place from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th April, and Monday 1st May 2018. And as is the case every year, it’s entirely free to enter! Bring along your doggo and enter them into the show.
📍 Cosham High Street/Palmerston Road
⏳ Every weekend/every month
The Love Southsea Markets have been an established monthly staple of shopping in Palmerston Road for five years, and they continue in 2018, on the first weekend of every month. 50+ local independent traders and food stalls will be setting up shop in the high street precinct. New for 2018, however, are the Love Cosham Markets, taking place every weekend in Cosham High Street starting in April. Keep keeping the pound in Pompey!
Southsea Food Festival 2018 with Love Southsea
📍 Palmerston Road, Southsea
⏳ Saturday 14th/Sunday 15th July
Running on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th July from 10:00am through 5:00pm, Southsea Food Festival will bring together the most vibrant collection of culinary traders and street market food stalls in Portsmouth and wider Hampshire. An urban family-oriented event, Southsea Food Festival features around 100 stalls, providing a fun day out with an eclectic curation of cuisines at its heart! We’re 100% ready to eat at least 20 burritos.
Beach Buggin’ 2018
📍 (Usually) Southsea Common
⏳ Cancelled for 2018
If you’re wondering when Beach Buggin’ is happening in 2018, sorry, but organisers of the popular VW event have confirmed that the event will not be taking place. Commenting on social media, the organisers cited a breakdown in communication and unrealistic demands by Portsmouth City Council's events team as the main reason the event will not be taking place this year.