The Event

Over the past few years Drakefest has become an event the whole community looks forward to. It remains that no one has ever been paid to play or perform; the Bands and Performers have donated their time gladly. The team of Volunteers work tirelessly for the three days. The main PA has been provided and manned every year for free. The lighting is provided by an ex regular who drives all the way from Bradford every year for free. The Landlord and Landlady assist the team of volunteers and give up a great deal of their own time towards planning & making sure the festival is a success. There are so many people involved, face painters, holistic therapist, the tea stall folk, bouncy castle supervisors, t-shirt sellers, door staff, bar staff, cleaners, runners, inside stage crew, stage hands, sound men, overnight security guard and dog. It’s a real community pulling together to make a difference.

Since 2008, Drakefest has raised £101,500 for a variety of charities.

The History


Back in the summer of 2007, a regular at the Admiral Drake, Mandy Sharpe, was suffering with breast cancer. She asked if she could hold an event to raise awareness of the disease and maybe raise some money for Breast Cancer Care. As the pub already had live music every weekend, the idea of putting on a weekend of music and entertainment was suggested, and Mandy, along with friends and regulars from the Pub, started planning.

In July 2008 The Admiral Drake Community Festival Weekend began, staffed entirely by volunteers, there were two days of live music, with an inside and outside stage, playing host to 12 local bands and performers who all gave their time for free. There was a raffle, a lucky dip, tombola, face painting, tea and coffee stall and BBQ. The event raised £8,800. The money from the event was shared between four charities, Breast Cancer Care, Prostate Cancer Awareness, Macmillan Cancer Support and Naomi House Children’s Hospice. The charities were chosen by Mandy, her friends and family as they all helped people whose lives had been affected by cancer.


Following the success of The Admiral Drake Community Festival Weekend, another event was planned the following year, but the name was shortened to Drakefest. It supported the same four charities and followed the same format, except caterers were brought in to feed the masses. It started a day earlier on the Friday evening, and featured burlesque starlet Dolly Divine. The total raised that year was £9,200. Sadly, Mandy passed away at the end of 2009.


In Mandy’s memory Drakefest continue. Bigger and better this year the festival hosted more than 20 bands and performers on the two stages plus a Mod’s and Rocker’s ride-out; with over 50 motorbikes and scooters. £10,500 was raised that year, going to The Rowans Hospice (who had cared for Mandy in her last days), Macmillan Cancer Support , Breast Cancer Care and to Clic Sargent (a charity that supports children with cancer and their families) at the request of pub regular and Drakefest volunteer, who’s family had been helped by the charity.


Drakefest continued with many more people attending, more traders and more stall holders, all donating to the charity fund. The event was still entirely run by volunteers. The total raised was £14,000 which was shared between Macmillan Cancer Support, Breast Cancer Care, Clic Sargent, and a new charity requested by a pub regular & volunteer whose grandson had undergone a liver transplant, The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.


This was the first year Drakefest charged for entry on the Saturday and Sunday. With so many festival-goers, fencing and security were necessary, but this did not put off the crowds. Mr Jonas, the Major of Portsmouth, arrived by Motorcycle Escort to open the event. There was a fairground, several food stalls, holistic therapist, face painters, temporary tattoo artist, T-shirt stand and much more. The charities who shared the £17,200 raised were Macmillan Cancer Support , Breast Cancer Care and two new charities. Brain Tumour Research requested by a Drakefest volunteer in memory of her mum who had recently passed away, soon after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, and PSPA (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Association) by request of pub regular and Drakefest Volunteer, whose wife has suffered with the condition for many years.


This year entry was charged for all 3 days, but children under 13 still got in for free when accompanied by an adult. £18,000 was raised and split between Macmillan Cancer Support, Breast Cancer Care, Retts UK, Diabetes in Children’s Ward ( Q.A. Hospital ), Cystic Fibrosis Ward ( Southampton General Hospital ).


This was the first year it rained, but that didn’t stop the festival goers. £12,000 was raised and split between Breast Cancer Care, MacMillan Cancer Support, Sams Haven & Hannahs Holiday and The Patey Centre.


£11,800 was raised and split between Breast Cancer Care, MacMillan Cancer Support, Sams Haven and Hannahs Holiday.


This years charities will be Sams Haven, Hannahs Holiday, Stillbirth and Neonatal death and Working Age Parkinson’s Support Group Portsmouth.


The Charities

The charities years we’ve supported over the years:

  • Breast Cancer Care – Registered  Charity #1017658
  • Prostate Cancer Awareness
  • McMillan Cancer Care – Registered Charity #261017
  • Naomi House Children’s Hospice
  • Rowans Hospice
  • Clic Sargent
  • Brain Tumour Research
  • Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy Association
  • Retts UK
  • Diabetes in Children Ward
  • Cystic Fibrosis Ward
  • Sam’s Haven – Registered Charity #1155471
  • Hannah’s Holiday – Registered Charity #1124750
  • Patey Centre
  • Stillbirth and Neonatal death
  • Working Age Parkinson’s Support Group Portsmouth

How You Can Help

            You can help in a number of way, donating raffle prizes, advertising, spreading the word, sending volunteers & much more, it’s all for a good cause.

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