Portsmouth Guildhall Celebrates 125th birthday in August

Portsmouth Guildhall is celebrating the momentous occasion of its 125th birthday in August this year with a whole month of fun holiday activities as organised by the Portsmouth Cultural Trust (PCT). Events include the return of the Funky Town Family Festival, a Vintage Car Fest, lots of sports activities and of course a fantastic line-up of live music and art exhibitions.

Kicking it all off on Saturday 8th August will be the Royal Marines School of Music with their annual concert and Beating Retreat in Guildhall Square, followed by the Funky Town Family Festival on Sunday 9th August – exactly 125th years after the building was first opened by King Edward VII.  Following on from the success of Funky Town 2014 which attracted 3K people to Guildhall Square, this year’s festival will be held inside the building. It will again be brimming with activities, including the Bonkers Balloon Show, spellbinding children’s shows with Mimika Theatre, circus skills, street art and dance, workshops for parents and children:  from digital illustration and prints to soap making, a Makers Market and a range of art exhibitions.

Working with Parkwood Community Leisure, the Guildhall will be jam-packed with sports activities from Monday 10th to Friday 14th August , to keep the whole family entertained and healthy during the summer holidays. Activities will include giant inflatable air hockey and football, a sailing simulator, mini tennis, gymnastics, circus, everything from tap to street dance, table tennis and much more.

PCT has collaborated with a dynamic group of young people from the Portsmouth Schools Music Festival to present Tomorrow’s Music Today as part of their Get Into Music programme, on Thursday 13th August.

Also for younger crowds will be Portsmouth Scene Promotions’ popular Harlequin Room live music events on Friday and Saturday 14th and 15th August, as well as It Must Be Madness on Saturday 22nd August – presenting the ultimate nutty tribute band.

Jazz fans will be delighted to hear that Gordon Giltrap will return to the Guildhall on Thursday 20th August after his previous sold-out performance.  Enjoy an intimate evening of cabaret and dinner in the Live Lounge café with one of the most innovative acoustic guitarists in the UK today.

Another highlight will be the Vintage Car Fest and historical celebration on Saturday 22nd August from 10am to 4pm.  Held in the car park behind the Guildhall there will be live music, bars and alfresco lounging on hay bales. Inside the building, visitors will be able to enjoy the Portsmouth Music Experience exhibition (Access All Areas), live Skiffle performances as well as talks on the history of Portsmouth and of course, the Guildhall.

Working with well-known local media company, Strong Island, the Trust will also be collecting memories and memorabilia as part of their  “I was there” digital engagement project, supported by Arts Council England.  They’d like to encourage the public to send in their memories, or those of a parent or older friend, of concerts and special moments that resonate for them throughout the Guildhall’s history.

Exhibitions will include Rock Shots, covering 50 years of music photography in Portsmouth, the Pie & Vinyl Poster exhibition and a Conan Doyle exhibition with a sports twist.  The Portsmouth Room will also host a selection of archive images of the Guildhall from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.