It’s no secret that the majority of Southampton’s music and nightlife scene is focussed around the University student populations, and as such there’s a lot less going on during the student holidays (especially the over the summer). However, there are plenty of great goings on throughout June, July, August and September if you know where to look.
Some of the highest profile events in Southampton — as in events featuring headline DJs from around the world — are no doubt those organised by High Tide (with help from DBP, Orange Rooms, and others). High Tide, first and foremost, run relatively low capacity boat parties drawing on the world of house and tech house for their headline acts. The High Tide boat has been graced by the likes of James Zabiela, Scuba, Carl Cox, Justin Martin, and Steve Lawler (to name a few). High Tide (alongside DBP’s Warehouse brand and, in the past, JUNK) and TRiPP also run regular daytime garden parties. Previous acts featured at these garden parties (which are usually followed by an after-party elsewhere in the city) include DJ EZ, Waifs & Strays, Hot Since 82, and a decent selection of names from the Hot Creations roster.
Continuing with the daytime theme, venues such as Buddah Lounge and Revolution have excellent roof terraces complete with cocktail bars and BBQs, which are open most weekends depending on the weather. You’ll often find that local crews and DJ collectives (muddywellies, Future Garden, et al.) will run low-key events up on the terraces when the weather’s good. The Cellar and Orange Rooms are also well known for using their outside spaces, with the Headsessions Soundsystem becoming a regular outdoor installation at the former and BBQs-a-plenty at both venues.
TRiPP, on London road, is usually open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays throughout the summer. Their regular weekday nights range from urban, garage, and hip-hop themes, to student club nights with a mainstream appeal. Saturdays at TRiPP are usually reserved for house and techno (in the main room), with resident DJs from the venue and Junk Department spinning alongside special guests.
Of course, the other option for those in Southampton over the summer seeking their dose of interesting, underground, and/or live music can look to the many festivals that take place nearby. A hop across The Solent will land you on the Isle of Wight where Bestival and The Isle of Wight festival take place; towards Winchester there’s Blissfields Festival and BoomTown Fair; and if you venture further afield into Hampshire, Dorset, or Somerset, East across the South Coast, or indeed North towards London, then you’ll find more fantastic music festivals than you can shake a stick at.