Live Music Attendance Falling in Portsmouth? Here’s the Truth.

Taken from an interview we did originally with Portsmouth News. 

I recently saw an opinion piece in the Portsmouth News that stated that venues, promoters and bands were all partially responsible for falling attendance at live music events in Portsmouth. The overarching message seemed to be that a lot of people weren’t doing their jobs properly. As someone who has spent the last few years heading up the marketing at The Wedgewood Rooms, whilst putting on shows with my own band, this got to me. Having done several interviews on this subject, I still find the dilemma of falling attendance an incredibly complicated issue, certainly too complicated to explain in 400 words.

Put simply, falling attendance is a self-fulfilling crisis. It is a fact that live turnout for smaller touring and local shows isn’t what it used to be. The result of this is that venues make less than they used to. When you combine this with rising rent, licensing costs, and the astronomical increase in the cost of putting on live music events, it is easy to see how so many venues have closed down in the last ten years. And fundamentally, fewer venues means less public exposure to live music, and the continuation of falling live music attendance.



As   to the initial cause of this drop in turn out, there are dozens of reasons. Portsmouth’s falling music attendance is representative of a nationwide social shift in live music consumption. The number of people going to shows at smaller venues has dropped, with many now attending one off stadium shows by heritage artists, think The Who, U2 etc. Additionally, the explosion of the festival market in the UK has led to increased competition between festivals and venues, and gig-goers are now given more choice as to how they spend what is left of their spare cash. Whilst this in some cases leads to a more active music scene, it can really hamper venues, and losing venues as stated earlier, is what ultimately kills a local music scene.

Of the hundreds of venues that have closed down in the UK across the last ten years, you will struggle to find even one example of a venue having closed due to a lack of effort from the promotional team. Threats from housing developers, and noise abatement orders can bankrupt venues just as easily as rising rent, and business overheads. The venues are the bedrock of local music scenes. Protect the venues, and you protect the scene.


It’s that time of year again. Victorious Festival 2016 is nearly upon us, with what is certainly it’s biggest Line Up to date! With hundreds of bands across the bank holiday weekend, deciding on who you’re going to see is no doubt a challenge. However fear not, we are here to help you. Our staff have crafted a playlist below of our recommendations for the weekend, featuring both local and national artists. Having to narrow it down to 20 acts proved hard, however as many of these bands have played The Wedge before, or are scheduled to in the next few months, you can trust us that they’re worth seeing! Enjoy the festival and make sure you scroll through the playlist below!

Euro 2016 Results Based on Each Countries Musical Output

Here at The Wedge we thought with Euro-vision safely behind us and Euro 2016 fast approaching,  we would do something to get you all patriotic. Now we do not profess to know a great deal about football. There are the odd few here who are “into it”, but generally football isn’t what we do. Having said that we do know quite a bit about music. So here it is; we have ranked each country taking part in the Euros from worst to best based on their musical output. Consider it an even more biased Euro-vision, or perhaps the ultimate Euro 2016 playlist. We must warn you in advance, this playlist does contain some Euro pop, and huge amounts of bias.

Don’t forget you can watch every minute of every England game this Euros at The Wedge on our big screen for free. Simply order your tickets from our website at

24: Albania

23: Romania

22: Czech Republic

21: Croatia

20: Turkey

19: Ukraine

18: Austria

17: Poland

16: Hungary

15: Belgium

14: Switzerland

13: Russia

12: Spain

11: Slovakia

10: Italy

9: Germany

8: Portugal

7: France

6: Northern Ireland

5: Iceland

4: Wales

3: Sweden


2: The Republic of Ireland

1: England

10 of the Best: Portsmouth’s Weirdest Rider Requests

Whether it is Blue M&M’s or Pictures of David Hasselhoff in the dressing room (seriously), rider requests can be a very strange affair. Once seemingly constructed by outlandish third-world dictators, the rider requests of today have become very, well conservative (excuse my language).  Whilst some modern artists now use their rider as a chance to promote their new #instadaily #foodporn diet of decaying leaf matter, others have become content with an M&S Sushi tray, and a packet of Hobnobs. Fear not however, we have delved deeply into The Wedge archive to bring you the top ten Random Rider Requests, spanning ourselves, The Guildhall and Pyramids recent history.

For legal reasons, and because we like to keep on good terms with people, we have replaced the names of the artists involved, with our favourite worst band names. Have a read, and if you’re a promoter, let us know some of your worst rider stories!

1) The Cocoa Butter Trio

A picture of David Hasselhoff in the dressing room. Nothing wrong with this, who wouldn’t want to spend an evening looking into those eyes?


2) Mixed Nuts 

A shuffled iTunes Playlist of relaxation/Hypnosis tapes. Because touring can be stressful.


3) Comic Sans (Bold)

4 Bottles of Champagne (with the note “no Moet no Show’e”). No words.

4) Devil’s Spleen Advocate 

An Electric Cattle Prod. Still unsure as to what this was used for. The less we know the better.

cattle prod

5) The Protein Sheiks 

Set of 20kg Weights for the dressing room… Like do you even lift?

arny lifting weights

6) #LOVE

Carpeted Dressing Rooms. You’re not in Morocco, you’re in Portsmouth and it’s raining outside.



7) The Font Protection Society 

A Lotto Scratch Card (Any winnings to be split between Artist and Promoter). This was actually pretty cool.

8) The Sid James Affair

A Toy Car. Thankfully no Jackass moments were had with this toy (Google it) – it actually ended up in a music video…

toy car

9) Vampiric Lust 

A Private and unattended Bar. You can imagine what happened next.

10) Diving with Iguanas 

A Starbucks Soya Latte. Because Instant Coffee is just not the same.


Say No to Secondary Tickets

After reading several blogs recently regarding secondary tickets, with artists such as Prince declaring ‘war’ on ticket touts, we wanted to share our stance on secondary ticketing. For the last 6 years we have been operating a hard-line policy to stamp out ticket touting at our venues. Despite our best efforts we have suffered previously from touts, with shows such as Jamie T, and Damon Albarn having had tickets uploaded on-line for sale on Stub Hub and Ebay, within several minutes of the shows selling out. To combat this, we ask every ticket buyer to bring  the confirmation email, and the card they purchased the ticket on to the show, so it can be verified upon entry.

We understand this approach has been known to cause some problems in cases where people have bought tickets for friends, however we believe it is essential to educate people who buy from touts, that secondary ticketing takes money away from the venues and the artists. In any case people we are happy for people who have bought tickets for friends, to lend their friends the card for the show, or if not, simply give them the card number. This will enable us to verify the transaction. Ticket touting exploits fans adoration of artists in already difficult financial times, and rips money off of the venues who work day in day out to provide music that people will enjoy. Ideally we wouldn’t have to impose such policies, after all it would make our lives much easier. However until touts stop attempting to profit off of secondary tickets, these policies will have to remain in place.

Jamie T’s show at The Wedgewood Rooms was one of our fastest selling shows ever!

The battle between venues and touts is one that has been prevalent for decades. However the shady Billy Sykes character harping after spare tickets outside venues, has been replaced by computer bots and cyber criminals. They have been known in cases to purchase 1000’s of tickets in large batches within minutes of the show, as was the case for U2’s show at Madison Square Gardens. The sad truth is it is very hard to combat these devices. Refusing entry to secondary bought tickets is therefore the only way to fight this illegal industry. Our hope is that we can cut the demand for secondary tickets by informing fans that secondary tickets will not gain them access to the venue. Kill the demand, you kill the industry. Since adopting this policy we have had huge success in reducing the number of secondary tickets sold for our events.

The 5 Worst Love Songs of ALL TIME- Voted by Wedgewood Rooms Staff

There is a special place reserved in hell for people who write terrible love songs. The concept of a love song is fine, after all it’s only natural for artists to want to put their feelings for their significant other into song. HOWEVER, there are a few, shall we say culprits, that have taken the love song to new levels of cringe. See we aren’t anti love, we are just anti ‘I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR LOVE’. Unnecessary orchestral arrangements, impassioned music videos with smoke machines, proclamations of undying love on unidentifiable city streets, poor acting scenes in music videos, all these are classic symptoms of the terrible love song. It must stop. Now, here in particular order are the worst 5 love songs of all time!

We love you Stevie, but really? REALLY??

What won’t you do Meatloaf? TELL US!

Just because Brian Adams wouldn’t let us share it. Luckily Family Guy got it right.

Puppy Love. I see.

People have had enough of silly love songs Paul.

2015- Our Favourite Moments

2015 is over. We had some great shows, we got to travel up to London for Venues Day (We felt very pprofessional, and even had the outside of the building done by a famous French Street Artist Ouvrier. So in honour of 2015, we decided to give you a breakdown of our favourite moments from 2015! In no particular order.

Beerex – Our first ever Beer Festival. For years we had been mulling over running our own Beer Festival, and this year we finally did it. Run in conjunction with The Leopold, we stocked over 45 Real Ale and Ciders, accompanied all the while by some great local music.

Beerex 2
The Enemy – These guys have played here several times now, and the live show gets better each time. Full of energy, and drive – just what you want from an Indie Rock band.


The Milk – As voted by the Techies and Manager – If you haven’t listened to these guys second album, do yourself a favour and go out and buy it now. It is only Live however, that you see how talented they are as musicians.


Halloween It’s a Sin – By far our Biggest Halloween Party yet. Fire Dancers, Live Projections, Live Band, we pulled out all the stops. Also being 1 in 1 out within a couple of hours of opening is pretty great. (Below two members of staff – calm down guys).


Reverend and The Makers – These guys always put on a great show, and the impromptu end of show acoustic gig outside, always ends the night on a high point. What topped the night off for us though, was a Wedgewood Rooms/Reverend and The Makers ‘Band T-Shirt Day’ picture, where we all got a chance to show off our favourite Band t-shirts.

T shirt day

Zebrahead – as voted by Security – after they joined them in the pit mid set. It’s always great to see a band that so obviously enjoy what they’re doing. They really know how to get a crowd going, to!

Slaves – For obvious reasons this was one of our favourite shows. The show started selling slowly, before the remaining 200 odd tickets flew out in just under a week – it seemed everyone in Portsmouth had become Slaves fans overnight. The show was as energetic as you expect, and it was amazing to them in such an intimate space!



It’s that time of year again. This last week we have sifted through hundreds of albums released across the last year. We have argued, we have laughed, we have cried. Suggestions such as 500 Seconds of Summer were quickly rebuked, whilst others required a more in depth soul-searching analysis. Yet here we have it, our Wedgewood Rooms top Ten Albums of 2015. Let us begin in no particular order…

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtneyy Barnett

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

Kendrcik Lamar

Matthew E White – Fresh Blood

matthew e white

Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool


Tame Impala – Currents 

Currents Tampe Impala

Bjork – Vulnicura 


Slaves – Are you Satisfied?


Public Service Broadcasting – Race for Space


The Milk – Favourite Worry


Crossfaith – Xeno 


The support band. The touring band that nearly always make no money. For every band arriving in out Tour Buses, there are those in the Ford Transits. The ones who have been wearing the same clothes for the last week, and haven’t showered in just as long. Why do they do it? Other than a love for gigging to new audiences, and a desire to better their musical career, their isn’t much glamour to it. Yet despite this, they are more often than not, amazing artists. When you watch a support band,  you are witnessing an artist at the beginning of their career. Who knows what they will develop into?

As a music venue this subject is of real importance to us. Some of the greatest artists that have played here started out as support bands. The Killers, Biffy Clyro, Pulp, Catfish and The Bottlemen – even The Strokes played their first ever UK show here as the support for Trail of The Dead. Every band has to start somewhere. Unfortunately however, we have noticed across the last few years that some gig goers have begun avoiding the support band altogether,  turning up solely for the headline act. We want to challenge this.


Support slots are a valuable opportunity for upcoming bands to get their music in front of new audiences. It is where new signings to labels, booking agencies, etc cut their teeth,and where they learn how to really perform. Catfish and The Bottlemen for example, performed here at least three times as a support band before their headline date. On some of those occasions, fewer than a hundred people saw them perform, and if no one is there to see them, it begs the question, “What’s the point of it all?”.  Despite the vast increases in music discovery options across the last ten years from Spotify to YouTube,  live remains one of the most important ways people discover new music. This is because it offers a real world experience. It’s the first time you will ever have heard that artist, and be it good or bad, it stays with you.

For local bands in particular, these support slots offer real value. Not only do they gain experience and contacts (if they network) in performing in a professional setting, but they also get a chance to perform to a large local audience. In the case of a sold out show at The Wedgewood Rooms, that’s potentially up to 400 new fans. Now as a city we are blessed with many great local bands, so if you find out one of them is on the bill of a show you are going to, get there ON TIME. Record labels often want proof of a bands accessibility  before signing them, and the size of their fan base is a great way of calculating that (Having loads of Facebook likes and Followers on Twitter doesn’t count – we’re talking music sales and sold out shows). So in effect, turning up for the local support and buying an EP etc, is directly contributing to the development of an artist within your area.

As a music venue, we’ve spent the last 23 years witnessing the progression of artists within this industry. We hope to be able to continue doing the same for the next 20 years, but this can only happen if audiences invest in support bands. On that note, we have included a Soundcloud playlist to our favourite support bands across the last year below. We urge you to have a listen, you never know where they might end up.

Support live music, support new artists.

Support The Support Band: An Open Letter

WEDGE HORROR STORIES – Our First Record Purchases

We all remember our first record. The excitement of exchanging the money you’d saved up all week, for that first purchase. We all remember getting home, and putting on said vinyl/ tape/ CD, sitting down, and just listening. Sadly, as Digital Music Consumption has increased, it seems this phenomenon may be an experience that future generations miss out on. However, that’s not to say that the experience itself is something we look back on with infinite positivity. For everyone who’s first purchase was The Beatles “Love Me Do”, there are dozens of The Muppets, “Manamana”. To that end, we have decided to expose our first music purchases. Be warned, some are pretty horrendous.

Sue – The Osmands ‘Crazy Horses’

Tanya – The Police ‘Regatta Del Blanc’

Geoff – Tchaikovsky ‘1812 Overture’

Christian – Gorrilaz ‘Demon Days’

Mark and Jim –  Metallica ‘Master of Puppets’

Ollie – Kings X – ‘Dog Man’

Beth – Peter Andre – ‘Mysterious Girl’

Becki – 2 Unlimited – ‘No Limit’

Dani – Eminem – ‘Marshall Mathers EP’

Alex – Limp BizKit – ‘Chocolate Covered Starfish, and The Hot Dog Flavoured Water’

Jo – Korn – ‘Life is Peachy’

Joel – Godzilla Soundtrack