This event is in its 8th year, and represents a great, low-key version of one-day 'indoor-venue' festivals. It doesn't pretend to be a Great Escape or Dot-To-Dot, relying instead on the charm of the thirteen venues all based on Albert Road Southsea.

Being smaller in scale it brings a strong local feel in terms of the line-up though increasingly the event has attracted established headline acts, this year Ed Harcourt and Pulled About By Horses, contrasting in styles but both favourites of ours, so made this a highly anticipated day, during which we were able to catch 13 bands.

A well organised event presenting bands in diverse venues. From the nicely carpeted Southsea Social Club, to the upstairs room in Bar 56 that held no more than 40 people, to the opulent all-seated Kings Theatre, to the Wedgewood Rooms, the established gig venue. A nod to Little Johnny Russells, the venue with best beer on offer today, a very pleasing 'Partridge Ale' from the Darkstar Brewery. 

Elephantantrum (Little Johnny Russells) - an interesting find. 4-piece guitar band with a busy feedback-heavy intro to their set. So self-conscious it appeared they didn't dare stop between songs for fear that nobody would clap. Well executed heavy riffs through all their songs which got more melodic as the set went on. And when they did eventually come up for air at the end of their 35 minute set and they deservedly got a good reception.

St Agnes (Little Johnny Russells) - most striking element was the female lead singer/guitarist/keys, immaculately dressed and with flowing jet-black hair but at the same time a half-shaved head. A look she had no trouble carrying off. The songs were laced with heavy riffs and male/female combo vocals but seemed to be struggling for identity. Keyboard was to the fore in the closing bombastic number, ending the set on a high.

Jesse Wyldes And The Stallions (Southsea Social Club) - growling vocals with back up from guitar, bass and drums. Country-tinged rock. With the band all dressed in black waistcoats and bootlace ties the Social Club setting seemed quite appropriate.

Hunter And The Bear (Kings Theatre) - a Mumford & Sons sound-alike band. I must confess the combination of the less-than-exilerating tunes, comfy theatre seats and the effects of the lunchtime Darkstar where irresistibly conducive to a mid-afternoon nap.

Gang (Bar 56) - noisy guitar band. We were the back of this 40 capacity venue but with an unraised stage did not allow us to see much of the band.

Emperor Yes (Edge of the Wedge) - Question:  could anybody be more charming than Darwen Deez both in terms of meandering lyrical tunes and personal charm?  Answer: Yes, 'Emperor Yes'. A highly impressive and enjoyable set built around synth-based tunes. 

Theo Verney (Bar 56) - I particularly wanted to catch Theo Verney as I'd missed him at End Of The Road Festival recently. Having half expected a singer-songwriter in the EOTR vein I was most surprised to find a guitar based outfit. He gave us the quote of the day ''I don't want you to look at me, I want you to be head-bangin... !''. Summed it up nicely.

Happyness (Wedgewood Rooms) - highly anticipated set from this hotly tipped band that we'd seen before as a support act at Southampton Joiners.  Sadly the sound was poor so their clever lyricism was masked leading to the level of talking growing higher and higher. If this band hit the heights they are tipped for they won't be citing this gig as a breakthrough moment.

Walylayers (Edge Of The Wedge) - a band recommended by a fellow British Sea Power devotee. Thought we'd wandered in to the wrong band as they proceeded to deliver 4-5 middle of the road pop songs, but suddenly, 15 minutes in, the set picked up with 2-3 dancey numbers. So a curates egg that one.

Ed Harcourt  (Kings Theatre) - definitely suited to the theatrical surround, Ed proceeded to hammer out grand-piano accompaniment through recent tunes 'Brothers & Sisters', 'The Saddest Orchestra' and 'Hey Little Bruiser' all rapidly becoming classics in the Harcourt stable.  Tonight's show was a wholly solo show and followed the recent habit whereby Ed creates layered accompaniment through looping guitars, drums, cowbell. This works on well-worn numbers like 'Misguided' but was less effective on the delicate 'Fireflies Take Flight', the trouble being that this song is a classic example of 'it's not the notes that make for a haunting tune: it's the gaps between the notes'. With tonight's rendition the otherwise breathless inducing voids were filled with the metronomic pre-orchestrations.  Funny moment: in typical Ed style he asked the audience to choose between a romantic song and one about a serial killer. Inevitably the latter won the audible vote and a wonderful version of 'Scatterbraine' ensued with customary solo piano - wonderful.

Fear Of Man (Southsea Social Club) - 4-piece comprising 2 females and 2 males. Unremarkable. It might have been the venue - bizarrely it was not easy to get into indie mode surrounded by the dart boards and cribbage league tables that adorn the walls.

Talons (Edge Of The Wedge) - a bonus extra as PABH were a little coming on... and what a bonus. A wholly individual band that showcase thumping guitars accompanying two highly-energised violin players. Mesmerising.

Pulled Apart by Horses (Wedgewood Rooms) - for such a raucous, screamy band it was a pleasant reminder to talk to this band (as we were fortunate to do as they disembarked their van earlier in the afternoon) and find they are gently-spoken, sincere individuals. With legs aching and heads already thumping we watched this set from toward the back. A great mash up of newer songs from recent offering 'Blood' and the more in-yer-face numbers from their first two albums (including 'Meat Balloon' and 'I Punched A Lion In The Throat' culminating in the fantastic sing-along 'High Dive, Swan Dive, Nosedive'.  Awesome, radical, totally Bodacious!

 Si & Sally