We’ve waited a long time for our home town of Southampton to host a ‘one-dayer’ festival, so there was excited expectation for this event. Across three venues: the legendary Joiners, the slightly smaller Heartbreakers and larger 1865. 

The early May weather was mixed but the indie gods were looking upon us today, delivering a beautifully sunny afternoon. There is a ten minute walk between venues so we did a small amount of planning  to cluster bands together. With bands starting at midday there was plenty to pick from in a strong line up, and as usual we were keen to get in on the early acts to pick up on the local emerging talent. 

The timetable was organised so that headliners Shame had their own late-evening time-slot at The 1865. Having been on it all day we made the tough decision to swerve this set, something of a regret as all reports were that Shame gave a storming performance. But we looked back on a superb day having enjoyed these bands: 

Desire Path (Joiners) – local guitar band. Caught the tail end of their set at another event a week or two back and, liking what I heard, made a point of getting to the Joiners early.  Wasn’t disappointed with their synth/guitar tunes.

Auden (Joiners) – good variety of sounds from this Southampton-based 5-piece, many songs with a Subways or Fontaines vibe. The last 2 years has heralded the addition of Isabella on guitar and synth, broadening the textural content of their tunes. An amusing point half way through the set when lead man Finn announced “we’re gonna slow it down, the next one’s just me and Ed” [guitarist]. The whole band proceeded to kick into the next number……. perhaps we’ll be treated to their acoustic stuff another day. 

Bible  Club (1865) - rockin guitar’s drifting occasionally to ethereal Radiohead territory. EP coming out later May. Played a song from that (Wiseguy?)  with choppy bass & guitars. Experiencing  a few technical difficulties toward the end of the set they announced : “We’ve got one more song - gonna be a tough shout without the bass pedals“.  It still sounded alright to me !

Dream Wife (Joiners) – Billed as ‘special guests’ and certainly cranked up the quality at a packed Joiners Arms.  Glorious vocals with an occasional screech all underpinned with thumping bass & drums. Raissa from Italy substituted for the usual bass player and was given a deserved big up by lead singer Rakel. Good to see this band staying on trend with their messaging, subtly changing the narrative in their diversity and inclusivity message not least in the refrain “I am not my body I am Somebody” . And all the while retaining a sense of fun – in the lyrics of ‘Hot’: “Don’t date A Musician”, a catchline that populates much of their merch.Our Girl (!865) - Sophie from Big Moon leading this sonorous guitar band. Wonderful tunes, including some new numbers. My feel is that this band has taken 2-3 years to get fully into its stride. Occasionally featuring laid back guitars, Real Estate style  but for the most part a rockin set. Superb.

Van Outer (Heartbreakers)our first visit of the day to this venue for a pleasant deviation into some low fi electronica.

Butch Kassidy 
 (Heartbreakers) - the volume dialled back up. Loudest band of the day and along with the strobe lighting, a complete assault on the senses. Psych at its finest - drumming consistently loud and frantic. The very odd vocal almost apologetically thrown in to complete a dizzying  spectacle.

Willy J Healey (Heartbreakers) – it was announced earlier in the day that he was doing an impromptu mid-afternoon acoustic show at nearby Vinilo Records. He unfortunately pulled out of that, giving fuel to gossip that he was completely out of it. Those rumours were instantly quashed as he took to the small Heartbreakers stage. Together with a highly accomplished band, this was a set that oozed class, his numbers shaping into a loungey/dance vibe. 

 An excellent day. Wanderlust 2025 already announced for the early-May Bank Holiday weekend. Very reasonably priced tickets already on sale – here’s hoping the expanded edition  doesn’t dilute the quality that made this year’s event so special.


Festival Website