This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the Deep South Music Festival.

When the event was first held - at the 12-acre stone field in Port St Mary - it was the island’s only outdoor music festival.

The festival changed location and format over the years but one constant is the Deep South Festival (DSF) team’s passion to provide venues for live music.

Chris Carr told Island Life: ‘It has been an honour and a privilege to be involved with a music venture that relates to the Isle of Man and to still be here 10 years on from its debut back in 2013, is a testament to the DSF team and the wonderful Manx public, for which we will be eternally grateful.

‘If you had said at the time that within three years of our debut we would go from a cow field to a professional music show we would probably all have laughed but that is how quickly it all happened.’

Explaining how it started, Chris said: ‘The music scene on the Isle of Man back in 2013 was really busy, then as it is now, and we wanted an opportunity to show it off.’

The inaugural festival was held over three days and featured Manx bands who volunteered their services.

The line up included Post War Stories, Freaky Stiltskin and the Hot Rods, Broken Rooster, Shoh Slaynt, Clown Calls for War, Electric Tram, Clare Barker, Chris Gray, Nick Barlow, Soundcheck, Final Cut, Mr Eliminator and the Deadly Vipers.

He said the venue was ‘probably too big’ but fitted the vision of ‘mum and dad/grandparents coming with the children, throwing a blanket down and letting the children run free, while the parents enjoyed the wonderful music with a beer’.

Chris said they ‘begged, stole and borrowed’ to put it together, adding: ‘The first year without doubt was the hardest but it provided us with a vision that if we approach it slowly and took small steps we will realise our ambition of bringing an outdoor music festival to the Isle of Man, and one that we could be proud of.’

The festival developed at the stone field over the next two years.

In 2014, camping was introduced along with a second stage, a 100ft marquee and, with support from the Steam Packet, Liverpool’s Hung Gar Kung Fu Society and headline act Simon Townsend.

Chris said they were fully drilled by 2015.

‘As always Manx bands were at the forefront of the event and watching bands evolve was nothing new and we were always keen to provide a platform/stage to showcase this new look/sound,’ he said.

Headliners were 80s giants The Christians and China Crisis.

It also featured Sean Cannon of Dubliners fame and Ken Nicol off Steeleye Span.

In 2016 the festival moved to Colby Football Club as they tried to condense the event without affecting its now three stages. Headliners include Space, Real People and The Farm.

‘It worked perfectly and now had a real feel and look to our original model,’ Chris said.

The 2017 festival was the last over three days and went out with a bang with Dodgy and The Beat.

Chris said: ‘Other music events had developed on-island and we did not believe the island could sustain too many, without affecting each other and becoming saturated.’

He added: ‘The point was as long as someone was providing an outdoor music event and bands and artists were getting a chance to shine was our only concern.’

The team was approached to run the music offering on the Port Erin beach stage outside The Bay Hotel the following summer.

‘Obviously we jumped at the chance and have been there ever since,’ Chris said.

‘This point however did mean we would have to relax our position on promoting professional live music events on the Isle of Man, as it entailed four months of the calendar year and the schedule is very demanding.’

The Deep South Festival team has jumped at the chance to bring over professional shows when they opportunity has arisen though.

They include Toploader’s sell-out gig at Tower House, in Douglas, in 2021, and another sell-out gig, at Port St Mary town hall, with Space.

Chris said: ‘If the opportunity arises it is definitely something we will look at again, but in between all of this, the world was rocked by Covid-19 and this impact alone changed the whole music landscape.’

DSF is run as a not for profit outfit. Not including donations from this year, it has raised more than £13,000 for charities.

Chris thanked everyone who had made ‘this little dream possible’.