Victory for Victorious
This bank holiday weekend saw the return of Victorious Festival in Portsmouth and it was bigger and better than the previous year in every sense. Last year it was hidden away in the Historic Dockyard, nestled between HMS Victory and the new Mary Rose Museum but this year it emerged from there and settled comfortably on Southsea Common.
There was a lot of improvement this year, from the space to the stages and even the organisation of the whole thing was noticeably better. There were two entrances so the queues were better looked after, although because of the change of location there’s no doubt that the capacity had increased. All the stages were spaced perfectly, and it was a nice touch that one of the entrances led past the Casemates Stage and the Nevada Acoustic stage, so a lot of local and lesser known artists would have gained a lot of attention from anybody walking by.
Despite the bigger space Victorious still managed to keep its intimate feel, it was undoubtedly family friendly and everybody was there for the music. The setting for the two main stages was ideal. The Seaside Stage was set up by the sea, the view was awesome and the bandstand in the area added character to the stage. the only downside was how unbelievably difficult it was to get to. All the stairs were blocked off and everyone had to go up the very steep slope, and if you left and needed to get back there you had to do all of it again.
The Castle Stage was very unique, Southsea Castle hosted it and saw artists like Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Dizzee Rascal and Seasick Steve gracing the stage. Of course it proved to be an exciting weekend, not just because of the big names but because of the upcoming talent that had been invited.
Victorious Festival was a fantastic display of names that you need to keep a look out for, the variety of stages catered for different tastes and each style of music had a chance in the spotlight. The Casemates Showcase Stage boasted artists like Katy Haymer and White Wolf Wandering, providing a perfect place for them to show off their music in an intimate setting.
Near to that was the Nevada Acoustic Stage, complete with hay bales for people to sit down and listen. It proved to be very popular and everyone who played received a warm applause. Local artist Jerry Williams certainly had a fantastic reception as did folk staple Beans On Toast. The Sunday headline act, Slow Club, was definitely one of the most exciting names on the line-up and lived up to the hype and expectation.
But if these intimate type of stages weren’t for you then there was always the Real Ale Stage, which was undoubtedly the liveliest of the weekend. With local bands like B of the Bang, The Day of The Rabblement and Hometown Show leading the charge there was no doubt about the frenzied excitement that ensued. Of course it was Hometown Show that curated the stage and they topped it off with the headline spot on the Sunday, giving an amazing performance, exactly as they did last year.
Coming away from the music you cannot help but praise the Victorious team for their organisation of the event. As well as focusing on music, local businesses were given the opportunity to show off their wares. The food was provided by many different stalls from all over the culinary map, there were market stalls that boasted many different products, alongside this was the mini-funfair for anyone who wanted something different in between artists, and there was also the kids arena that offered plenty for children to do.
Despite there being thousands of people in attendance on both days, it was kept exceptionally clean and the queues were never that long, wherever you were. There was enough of everything to keep everyone satisfied, and it’s not often you can say that about a festival.
All of this bodes well for the festival’s future. Not only did they get the big names but they also brought in the big crowds. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the city, and the best part is that it’s all for the love of music. Already looking forward to next year.