If you thought that to celebrate the supernatural with some ghostly music you’d have to wait until the next Halloween, think again!
Last year, Portsmouth experienced the collaboration of a wide range of creative communities around a shared, and spooky, theme for a whole month: it was the first DarkFest, inspired by the Supernatural Cities Project, directed by historian Karl Bell. Thanks to its success, it’s bound to become an annual festival and it’s now back with its second edition, running in different venues across the city for over a month (26th October to 30th November). It involves film screenings, poetry readings, ghost walks, (dark) arts exhibitions, and, of course, live music. While some of the events have already taken place in October and at the beginning of the month, here are the music evenings that you can still experience.
Dark Songs II: Dark & Twisted
12/11 – 6 pm @The Square Tower, tickets: £6 at the door
The imposing stone fortification is the perfect location for the event, organised by writer and artist William Sutton, who’s also a lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. What can you expect? ‘A mix of brilliant songwriters and some twisted dark minds,’ he promised. Nine different acts will entertain you with macabre songs, from monster folk to poetic melodies.
A Dark Twist on a Spoken Word and Music
15/11 – 7 pm @Hunter Gatherer Coffee, FREE
Dark, ghostly readings by various artists including, Creative Writing course leader Alison Habens, will be accompanied by dark live music. ‘Local authors competing tooth and claw to be the worst-spoken, more terrible tale-teller the city has ever heard,’ she promised.
Other music-related events that took place in the past couple of weeks: Wedge Monster Halloween Party at The Wedgewood Rooms, with Halloween-style covers by Three Sultan Sheiks), a screening of all-time favourite musical,The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Day of the Dead V: Blood Runs Thicker, the fifth edition of a ghostly evening of stories and songs and Dark Town Port Town, at Aurora, a range of performances and live music by James George, who also played at this summer’s Victorious Festival.
Festivals and events like the DarkFest are highly beneficial for Portsmouth and Southsea. Not only do they entertain the community, but they bring revenue to local businesses and offer visibility to talented artists. Like the Icebreaker, that only started in 2015 and became the South’s largest unsigned metropolitan music festival. The next Icebreaker takes place 2nd-3rd February 2018. The DarkFest has got the potential to grow bigger and uncover more talented artists. ‘Get involved!’ said historian Karl Bell at the DarkFest launch party. ‘We will find a way to fit you in.’
To find out more about the events, check the Facebook page @portsmouthdarkfest