Review: Victorious Festival, Portsmouth

By Ellie Harradine

The thing about going to a festival is, people are so happy. So what is Victorious Festival, and why has no one heard of it? Well, unless you’re on the south coast of Hampshire, there is little reason for you to have known about it. The festival first opened its gates in 2012 at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, and then due to increased popularity, the festival expanded to Southsea seafront in 2014. Since its humble beginnings, artists such as Noel Gallagher, Travis, Tinie Tempah, The Fratellis, Basement Jaxx, Super Furry Animals, Manic Street Preachers, Annie Mac, Madness, The Libertines, and The Stereophonics have all performed. A unique mixture of pop, rock, indie and club music amalgamates at Victorious.

Victorious sits at the heart of Portsmouth, on its seafront. The festival stretches throughout the common, past the D-Day museum and castle, through the skate park and tennis club and onto the bandstand. It is a unique experience, to be at a festival, and see the Isle of Wight, and a cruise liner, sailing ships and the Hovercraft all sailing in the Solent. But that is the charm of Victorious; it offers more than just a muddy field at Glastonbury. The festival is comprised of two main stages, as well as an acoustic stage, Strongbow yard, seaside stage, world music village, kid’s area, beats and swing tent and so much more. If drinking is the only thing on your to-do list, Southsea Castle champagne bar opened its doors, as well as the real ale village. The world music village, in particular, is an attractive feature of the weekend event. The village aims to embrace all cultures and artistic influences from across the world and is a place for celebrating diversity. Here, you can try your hand at arts and crafts or a Thai Chi lesson.

This year, it was indie rock band The Pigeon Detectives that had one of the best performances. Frontman Matt Bowman captured the crowd with his eclectic moves, his falling over and a constant impulse to pour water through his hair and down his body. He started the show with the classic I Found Out, and ended with Take Her Back, whilst also paying tribute to local music venue The Wedgewood Rooms. The band, originally from Leeds had made a unique connection with this seaside city, miles away from their home, and said that the people of Portsmouth had responded to and loved their music.

After watching Everything Everything’s set at the castle stage, and weaving between the abundance of food and craft stalls, and past the psychedelic lights of the fairground rides, everyone headed to watch the headliners. Paloma Faith played summer anthem Lullaby and closed her set with Only Love Can Hurt Like This, two big crowd pleasers. Paul Weller excited the crowd with songs from his own album, and classics from his days in The Jam. He ended the night with A Town Called Malice, and there wasn’t a single person around me who wasn’t singing along. That’s what festivals are about – a sense of togetherness between strangers in a crowd who are unified by music.

Victorious is an up and coming festival, this year it opened its gates to more than 50,000 people and introduced camping. This is a festival to keep on your watch list.