Portsmouth Music Scene

The Portsmouth Music Scene
Entertainment Agents and Promotors


Faith, by Jack Freeman

What is Faith? I wondered,
Long I wracked my head,
Now at last I've learned,
It's more than words that are said,
Or in books that can be read.

A bird leaves his nest for the first time,
Spreads his wings, that is Faith,
He flies thro' the skies on his first climb,
How he sings, that is Faith,
The dawn as the new day is waiting,
The green that the springtime is making,
The peace in the heart that was aching,
That is Faith.

A ship on the ocean ariding for the shore,
That is Faith,
The voice in a man that keeps saying
`Try again, try once more!'
The promise you know you can count on,
The rain for the earth and the fountains,
The love that can even move mountains,

During 1946, London comedian Arthur Jack, advertised in the Portsmouth Evening News, and offered to supply bands and entertainment artistes of all kind. He gave his address as care of W H Smith, Havant Station.

In 1947 Sound Entertainments ran from 130 Kirby Road North End, offering sound equipment at first and then branching out into supplying artistes, such as the The South Entertainments Orchestra. The proprietors were ,... Ifill

STAR, Charlotte Street above Smith & Vospers cake shop! in 1961
Apparently run by Jack Freeman, who had a number of other businesses in Portsmouth with the 'Star' name, ie, Star Tailors, Star Fish Shop, and above Burtons in Commercial Road on the corner of Spring Street, The Star Ballroom. Jack lived at 25, Inhurst Road, North End from 1961 to to about 1980 with 'Winifred', and then on his own to about 1987? He was also a song writer. A waltz called 'Faith' from Star Publications, 5, Fawcett Road, Southsea and a price 2/6d. Avenue Artistes The Avenue Southampton
Len Canham was the oiriginal boss here, with Bob James, who went to a smart London Agency. Phil Blake replaced him, and later Terry Rolph joined, and now runs the agency from his home in Southampton.

John Angel Eastleigh in early 1960's

Les Hart in Southampton

Denis Sims, Southsea Entertainments. 49 Festing Road Southsea.

John Bedford, came from London where he had recording studio auditions with HMV Records, singing Hank Willimas type of songs. He moved to Portsmouth and was briefly a singer with the J Crow Combo in about 1963, but turned to managing groups and running venues. Noteably the Waterside at Woolston about 1965/66, and was first to book The Who outside of London. and then ran from 1976 an agency for until he retired in 2009. Firstly from his home in Laburnham Avenue, then his home in Fifth Street, then Stubbington Avenue, and then from Kirby Road. Later his son Ben took over and now runs the agency from his home at Whiteley.

Sally Neal was an agent with an office in Charlotte Street, and the company named Tip Top Enteretainments. She was also an accomplised organist.
Chris Lynn, Lancing Sussex
even though Chris was based in Sussex, many Portsmouth bands did gigs for him, and he booked into several Portsmouth venues including the South Parade Pier.

Lyndor Martin, This was an agency run from a corner house office of Campbell Road and Lawrence Road in Southsea. The 'Lyn' part of the name was Chris Lynn, and the 'Martin' was Dave Martin who was married to ?? she who ran the office.

Brian James Agency, from his home at Segensworth.

George Quintana, real name George Orzabal de la Quintana from Paris, France, of Spanish-Basque descent married an English woman Milita/Margaret, and they lived at Leigh Park. George ran a string of strippers and his wife booked groups in venues through the late 1960's and into the early 1980's. They had three children Carlos Orzabal, Julian Orzabal and Roland Orzabal. The later went on to be part of the group Tears for Fears, and became a millionaire. George's father Arturo Orzabal de la Quintana, was from Buenos Aires, Argentina and son of emigrants from the Basque Country.

Topspot Management, 34 Roseberry Ave, Cosham,

Mike Sullivan,

Les Osman Agency,was based in Botley in the early 70's,

Jock Campbell was based in Bognor,

Mardell Promotions,

Alan Walters,

Mick Cartmell in Leigh Park,

Malcolm Thomas from Gosport,

TAB Entertainments, 99 Juniper Square Havant.

Trend Enterprises.

The CBS Group, Havant, Alpha Connection and others


robin robin robin

ricky martin
Jack the Hat left, Ricky Martin right

MMF partners were,
Ricky Martin, Alan Mathews, Robin Ford, Ann Luckett

They had a two offices, firstly in Gosport. That later changed to Stage One, with the office based in the Tricorn. I believe Alan Matthews left and Nigel Harker, a silent partner entered. Later still Ann Luckett, Robin Ford and Shep 'John' Woolley ran an agency called ARJ.

(from the Music Business Weekly 21st March 1970 page 11 "Music for Britian")
Our Motto? Service is good, says MMF.

PORTSMOUTH'S MMF Managements has had a far from easy passage to its present entrenched position as one of the leading management agency businesses in the South. Formed in the summer 1968 by four promoters with a mutual wish to become more deeply involved in the business - Robin Ford, Ricky, Martin. Alan Matthews and Ann Luckett - they spent the first six months on the headline, working from a small one roomed office in Gosport, a two minute ferry crossing from Portsmouth.
We put money into it for nearly six months to get the agency on its feet, said Ford, 29, who promoted for a number of years in Surrey before switching his activities to the coast, And Ann, an attractive 21-year-old, who managed Portsmouth's Indigo Vat club for two years, added, "As a local agency, we had plenty of problems at first with other agencies; -- was the money all right and so on. There were times in the past when we doubted whether we could keep going, but whenever things were quiet and we were getting worried something always turned up.
Last summer, when there wasn't much work around here, we were lucky to be able to get several of our groups booked on educational cruises. This summer, even if things-are hard, we'll be okay because of the amount of work we've, had in recent months,' Strangely, there are no recording acts among MMF's groups, although their busiest progressive band Heaven have recorded an as yet unreleased album for Southern Music, and an American contemporary label is interested in the eight-piece Image.
Other acts booked regularly by the agency are. Paper, Horizon, Smiling Hard and a popular organ and-drums duo, the San Cella Sound. All are guaranteed a minimum of three nights work a week, and it says something for the agency's efficiency and ability to get work that all its acts have stayed with it. Heaven, managed by Martin, a former accountant, has been helping MMF to get dates further north. They have played more than l00 colleges and are constantly being booked back. But the growth of the agency to it s present level with its comfortable new offices in Stoke Road, Gosport and a staff of four, including secretary, has only been possible since last year when Ford persuaded the management of Portsmouth's Tricorn Club to let him put groups on one night a week.
The club, situated at the top of The city's unsuccessful Tricorn shopping centre, which has fewer than a dozen of its 60 shop units occupied, had a strict cabaret policy until MMF took its Monday night and built it up to a regular weekly crowd of 500. Now the agency puts in groups on three nights of the week, all drawing good crowds, and starts Tuesday night country sessions shortly. It was recently largely responsible for persuading BBC to bring Radio One Club to the Tricorn.
The agency books acts to Venues all along the South Coast and has been booking the Cobweb club; Hastings since it started. But Ford contributes its continued existence primarily to looking after promoters in the Portsmouth area. "We help the local youth clubs, put in what good cheap bands we can and occasionally let them have one of 35-40 bonus at a reduced fee, he said, They naturally do a fair amount of big name booking from London-based agencies, and have a couple of favourites with whom they like to us business. But generally they, like many other provincial agencies, are heartily sick of the inevitable comeback they get when a name acts fails to turn up. And some of the excuses are so pathetic," said Martin. Recently they have ventured into cabaret booking and now arrange all functions for the nearby Plessey factory, ranging from small group dances to big band and star cabaret functions. "We're trying to build up a reputation that our service is good," said Ford. And by all accounts they seem to be succeeding. *****************
The successor to MMF was at Stage One base in the Tricorn building.

KM Entertainments
was a partnership between Ricky Martin and Steve Kingsley, but Steve was a silent partner, and the DJ Pete Cross was in the office with Ricky in Chichester Road Portsmouth. Pete left and later Ricky ran the agency from his home in Eastney.

Pete Cross Agency
Pete later set up his own agency running from his home at Crookhorn.

robin obit2

died 30th March 1996..... service at St Marys Portchester. 4th April 1996 ..... burial at Roman Grove Cemetery......r i p.

Stage One Entertainments

Ann Luckett

After working for MMF and Stage One for many years, Ann started her own agency in the early 1980's and amongst other provided entertainment on the South Parade Pier.
summer 1981 ann11

john3 john2

John's dad Jack helping with paper work

john4 john1

Alan Johnstone, know to all as 'Alan Stone,' with John

johnbedford john5

John & Wendy

John Bedford Agency.

John came to Portsmouth from London in the late 1960's and started his agency at first in Laburnam Grove in the mid 1960's, then moved to Firth Street, next to in Kirby Road, North End and finally a move to Whitley until the late 1990's. John was the main Portsmouth agent continuously for over forty years. So many local talented entertainers profited and enjoyed constant work from John and his agency. His son Ben became increasingly more involved and now runs John Bedford Entertainments Ltd.

Tip Top Charlotte Street Portsmouth.

Tip Top had an office above Smith & Vosper the bakery shop in Charlotte Street and ran from around 1962 for a few years.
Sally Neale and husband Ricky were accomplished musicians and performed around the area

sneale1 sneale2

John Roberts - Barking Spider

John Roberts Started in March 1997 singing with The celtic rock band - An Seisiun - and played every Tuesday in O Donnell s on Hampshire Terrace - formerly The Wig & Pen, alternating once a week with playing at The City Arms, that in those days was an Irish theme pub, with a Paddyfied name I can t actually recall. Incidentally, the old O Donnell s clock is now hanging up in the front bar of The R.M.A. Tavern! These sessions lasted a year or so until the Irish theme pub thing faded away
Sooty Broughton used to close The Railway Folk Club at The Alma Arms every summer, so in July 2002 - after The City Arms had returned to it s old name, John started promoting gigs in the upstairs room of The City Arms, rechristening it The Railway Sidings . It became quite successful for a while, and continued with it after Sooty re-convened The Railway Folk Club after the summer break. There were some great bands/artistes there, including Ron Trueman-Border, Andy White, King Rollo, Amazing Mr Smith, Jackie Leven, Mary Jane, Sid Griffin & The Coalporters, Jason Ringenburg (of Jason & the Scorchers) Gene Parsons (of The Byrds) - and a memorable total sellout night with Nick Harper (Roy s very talented son).
When Sooty retired from The Railway Folk Club John took over gigs at The Alma Arms in early 2007, and as well as folk gigs put on blues gigs as well. The first folk club gig was Julie Felix on February 12th and the first Barking Spider Presents Blues at The Alma gig was Aynsley Lister on February 21st.. Artistes who appeared at the Alma gigs included Paul Downes, Gary Fletcher (of The Blues Band) Mick Ryan & Pete Harris Claude Bourbon, King Rollo, Deb Sandland , Gwyn Ashton Barry Barnes of the top Rory Gallagher tribute band Sinnerboy, Kent Duchaine, Jon Amor and many more. It fizzled out towards the end of the year.
On 8th March 2001 John put on a joint blues gig featuring Aynsley Lister at The Wedgewood Rooms, with Dave Robinson of Reflex Records, who would promote occasional blues gigs there. The gig was a great opportunity to publicise the new venture, The Bullfrog Blues club, to run every Thursday. John started the following Thursday at The Frog On The Front, at The Pyramids. The first ever Bullfrog gig was on 15th March, and featured Worker s Playtime, one of Denis Reeve-Baker s fine bands. The following week was Andy Broad s Rhythm Kings and then Apicella (now known as The Jellyrollers). The charge of just 4, and the club quickly became quite popular. Initially the artistes were local bands, but they moved up a notch on May 29th and put on first big artiste - the late great Ben Andrews from Washington D.C. On June 20th the Frog closed and I moved it to The Caf Bar at The Pyramids to feature Dave Saunders and Harry Skinner , but this was a one off then relocated to South Parade Pier, a nice venue. John ran gigs there on an ad hoc basis from March 17th 2000, and put on Chris Farlowe, Aynsley Lister, Steeleye Span, Lindisfarne and John Otway to name but a few. He ran the Bullfrog at The Pier on a weekly basis until he moved to Ireland in 2006, when it became a monthly gig. Later they moved it to The Dockyard Club and continues to run there on the first Thursday of the month.


Reflex, 1990s


Flip Top, 1990s


Starlight, 1990s

Return to the previous page