By Ollie Tunmore
Beginning in 2013 as a one-day affair in Portsmouth’s historic dockyards, Victorious Festival has been on quite the journey to grow into the now 60,000-strong multi-stage phenomenon that it is today in 2019.
Growing from strength to strength year on year, the line-up now spans three days, attracting a vast array of musical talent.
Comprising this year of James Bay, Two Door Cinema Club, Plan B, Lewis Capaldi, The Vaccines, Clean Bandit and more, fans were well and truly spoiled for choice.
Lapping up the scorching sun in 30-degree heat, tens of thousands of festival goers presented the usual sightings – glitter beards, fairy wings, sequins jackets and can-can dancing across the field.
What really makes Victorious stand out, however, is the incredible attention to detail and lengths organisers go to, in order to support the local community, charities and the environment.
Here, we reflect on the top five things we learned from a weekend at Portsmouth’s greatest music event:
1- Victorious Festival really, really cares: There is a real sense of community spirit, being environmentally sensitive and ethical/charitable support. The organisation has donated more than £180,000 to local charities since it began, for example, as displayed on the stage screens in between acts.
2- No room for waste here: With giant iron sculptures ready to be filled with plastic bottles as part of the ‘Pompey Against Plastic’ campaign, paper straws at all bars and water refill points all over the site, there is a clear effort being made to better the festival’s environmental impact.
3- Victorious makes its own kind of music: As with any festival, there are always the safe-bet bookings that will keep mass-audiences happy. In this instance, it was the likes of James Bay, The Vaccines and Two Door Cinema Club who really stole the show. But thankfully, there are always a few lesser-expected bookings that make for an interesting watch, such as Plan B,
Bloc Party and the local music stages.
4- It is totally possible to host an established, leading festival, inside a city: Think of the key festivals in the UK – Latitude, Reading, Glasto – they are predominantly all created in the middle of no-where, out of town, with miles of fields to play with. With Victorious, however, they cram in the entirety of the festival into Southsea common, and create its own wonderful little city within the fenced walls. (But at no point does it ever feel unsafe, over-crowded or messy – which is remarkable for a festival of this size).
5- Finally, Victorious wants to give back: The festival is built by local people, for local people. It is a celebration of the local spirit of Portsmouth, Hampshire and the south coast – whilst simultaneously nodding to the incredible musical talent of the country. The local music stages are always packed with supporters and two separate bands on the main stage made points of thanking organisers for inviting them back to play their hometown – which felt humbling to say the least.
Year after year, Victorious Festival continues to grow, develop and challenge itself to get bigger, better and provide even more to festival goers.
With the event catapulting itself to national acclaim in just seven years, I expect Victorious to become a household name across not just the south coast but also the rest of the country in years to come.
As one of the leading festivals to attend – with something for everyone, a loving atmosphere and authentic community spirit – what more could a festival-goer want?
Article by Ollie Tunmore