A Game Changer for Portsmouth Festivities

The Festivities is Portsmouth’s flagship multi-disciplinary arts festival. Now in its 18th year, the programme continues to develop and grow, with a fantastic mix of concerts, art, exhibitions, lectures and outdoor events planned for 10 days in June 16-25th.

The theme for this year’s festival is PLAY. We should all make more time in our lives for play; therefore Festivities has granted audiences of Portsmouth and surrounding areas the opportunity to experience the imaginative use of play in a fantastic range of events and forms, including this year’s interactive city-wide experience, PLAY CODE CITY.

We are pleased to announce more details about a new and exciting form of eventing in the City of Portsmouth. Collaborating with Torchlight Heritage and the University of Portsmouth’s School of Creative Technologies. PLAY CODE CITY created by Portsmouth Festivities is a series of interactive live events that can be discovered by using a web based app. The player’s task is to join the game, find the happenings, and collect the codes. Players will face 10 days of live events via our web app where they will uncover interactions with game characters and performers and unusual installations around the city. 

“We would like to show the public that festivals can take you in all sorts of wonderful directions and by combining technology with live events this is a first for Festivities” states Festivities Director Erica Smith “This concept was inspired by my interest in Playable Cities and it has meant taking creative risks with our programming this year and involving technology in a new way. People can get involved in as much or as little as they want with the game, but we hope that PLAY CODE CITY will create a lively buzz across the City”

The adventure will start at 11.00am on the first day of the Festivities (16 June), and it will be live everyday 11am – 7pm until (25 June). Happenings will be featuring events such as Electric Eden, Circo Rum Ba Ba, B-Boys and Escape Rooms.

Dr Steve Hand (Head of the School of Creative Technologies at the University of Portsmouth) said “I am delighted that our students could get involved in such an exciting and challenging project working for the benefit of the City". Students have worked alongside Festivities and Torchlight Heritage to develop the web based app and student project manager Jason Gregory Lihou “Working with Festivities to produce their PLAY CODE CITY web app has been a great experience and a lot of fun designing it. Helping clients realise their ideas is extremely gratifying and a great way for students from the Faculty of Creative Technologies to learn their craft and showcase their skills."

All of the Happenings are free to access over the ten days and they are live between 11am and 7pm each day. Each Happening will be at its destination for two hours. You do not have to collect all of the codes to play along. You can join in at any time! Festivities will be giving clues through social media about where the live Happenings will be so everyone can benefit. “Find 15 or more Happenings by the end of the festival and you will be entered in to a prize draw, with a chance of winning one of three great prizes. Winners will be shown on the Big Screen in the Guildhall Square at 7.30pm.”

For those that really want to get truly immersed in the game then nothing is wasted in this concept, each code represents a significant date in Portsmouth’s History and each code will show a letter and when all 39 letters are found it will spell out the final destination of the very last Happening on day ten.

You can register for a user account free of charge at from June 2nd.

Discover more about events taking place during Portsmouth Festivities 2017 at


Prize Information

Prize One – A Drivers experience at Goodwood racing courtesy of Snows Motor Group

Prize Two – Pizza for a Year Courtesy of Domino’s Pizza

Prize Three - Gunwharf Quays gift card