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Review: Portsmouth Psych Fest 2018

Nineteen bands played across three stages on Albert Road on Saturday, closing the month with psychedelic sounds from near and far, in a day that echoed the free-spirit of not only the genre but the people who attended too.

The event was Portsmouth Psych Fest; a new festival in its second year which has already amassed a healthy following. Conjured by Nicki Allen and inspired by Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, Allen’s vision for a day of otherworldly music – with tickets starting at just £13 – invites everyone to get into the ethereal groove with a whole set of confident musicians playing to cosy crowds. First release tickets were quick to sell out, so while this event is still new in age, it’s already strong in reputation.

Portsmouth Psych Fest 2018. Taken by Russ Leggatt.
Portsmouth Psych Fest 2018. Taken by Russ Leggatt.

Portsmouth Psych Fest is a bespoke celebration of the genre, with Edge of the Wedge, The Wedgewood Rooms and Acapulco turning their intimate spaces into dreamlike havens of colour and wavy sounds from some of the best bands in psychedelia and punk rock. The programme featured a handful of local bands who are busy making their mark, with Mystic Peach playing to a packed Acapulco in the early afternoon, belting sing-along tracks like Downtown; and the brilliant Barbudo – who are already well-known in this city, and beyond – opening music at the Wedgewood Rooms with psychedelic keyboard, infectious energy, and a selection of tracks that cued simultaneous swaying. Innerstrings provided the zany visuals, and we all got into the groove.

Edge of the Wedge, The Wedgewood Rooms and Acapulco turning their intimate spaces into dreamlike havens of colour and wavy sounds from some of the best bands in psychedelia and punk rock.

Portsmouth Psych Fest 2018. Taken by Russ Leggatt.

Yowl echoed the sound, and bravado, of Slaves; re-energising Acapulco as day turned to night, bringing something a little different to the venue’s programme.  Yassassin and Madonnatron brought fierce energy to the Strong Island Stage at Edge of the Wedge before Melt Dunes closed affairs, cementing themselves as one of the city’s best-loved bands. Special guests The Wytches rocked the Wedgewood Rooms with their unique sound before the Flamingods defined what psychedelia music is with a closing set to rival the very best.

Portsmouth Psych Fest is confidently filling a gap in the market, quenching a local thirst for psychedelia fans, and successfully extending Southsea’s vibrant music scene with an all-dayer that takes you to another realm.

Don’t miss it, because it’s all kinds of fun.

Portsmouth Psych Fest 2018. Taken by Russ Leggatt.
Portsmouth Psych Fest 2018. Taken by Russ Leggatt.

Written by Robyn O’Mahony
Photos by Russell Leggatt


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