Walking toward the festival site, the weather is gorgeous, the atmosphere is buzzing and we are excited to see what Victorious Festival has to offer.
As we collect our passes we are greeted by a lovely woman who asks us
“What's a Whimbiscuit? We were all wondering.”
“It’s a whimsical treat” I explained, “a treat you give yourself that you don’t necessarily need but would very much enjoy, like getting a pack of your favourite biscuits to dunk in your tea, or, if you like, great furniture, or indeed a bank holiday festival. We review all those type of luxuries for our readers”.
She laughs and we enter the festival to be instantly amazed as to how the Victorious guys have transformed Southsea seafront into a not so little festival village. There are food stalls lining the streets, a kids area (one of two) in front of the beautiful Southsea Tennis Pavillion, and a cocktail bar, all within the first 100 metres of entering.
Following the one way system- all tailored to kept fluidity within the crowds, we end up at the ‘Seaside Stage’. Grabbing ourselves a beer, we meet up with some friends and find a spot to watch our first band of the weekend.
One of great things about Victorious Festival is they have loads of local bands on the line up, one of which is the first band we watch. The Exits are an electronic, indie, rock band that have been together for a number of years, and this really shows in their music and live show. We were completely captivated by the awesome anthems they were booming out, and their lead singer Roy has all the characteristics of a great rock n roll front man, with the voice to match. I can’t help thinking they would have benefitted from playing later in the day though, with a great light show and evening crowd to dance to their rhythmic beats.
After they finished we went for a wander around the site to see what else it had to offer. Walking to the ‘Castle Stage’ area, we get our first view of what will be one of the most photographed sights of the weekend. On top of the hill with a view over the festival, is a huge lit up ‘Victorious’ sign with flags flying high.
It’s a sign that stands it’s ground and says “we are here, and we are staying”.
As Max Stone and his band play their soulful tunes in the background, we stroll over to the acoustic stage to grab a drink from the many accessible bars. Although with average cost of £4.50 a pint, it’s hefty, yet certainly consistent with other festival's prices, and like many, no food or unsealed soft drinks are to be brought by visitors from outside. Soft drinks on the other hand, were very reasonably priced (free to drivers who had a car-park pass).
Sitting on a bale of hay, we enjoy some acoustic delights from a number of artists that include- Sam McCarthy, Secret Smile and a few tunes in between by Southsea Alternative Choir. Filling us with joy, we spend the rest of the afternoon meandering around the huge market area, and more food stalls (somewhat limited vegetarian/vegan options however perhaps).
With a little stop at the Real Ale tent to experience what it has to offer, we return back to the castle arena, for a good old Southsea sing along to Razorlight.
The crowd is huge and Razorlight smash it out of the park, its safe to say they were a massive triumph.
As we take a seat on the hill, with the sign shining bright above us, Dizzee Rascal takes to the stage. The atmosphere is jumping and there isn’t a single face without a beaming smile on it. We jump to our feet and dance our little socks off with thousands of others there. Dizzee knows exactly what he’s doing, playing all of his hits, none better than Bonkers (obviously), and finishes his set with the crowd shouting for more.
Mrs Biscuit and I didn’t finish our Saturday there though, and we head over to the LJRs Silent Disco Big Top to dance the night away to the sounds of Southsea’s It’s A Sin vs Chaos DJs. Later on we find leaving the festival was easy with its methodical system, yet getting a taxi was not. Prior preparation it seems, wins the day.
Sunday morning, we make our way back to the festival site. We pop into Southsea Skatepark to watch some the skate, bmx and scooter displays, then to the Strong Island Tent, the Beats and Swing Tent, and the Casemates Showcase to explore as much as we can of this impressive festival. It’s hard to believe it is only three years old, and that this is the first year at the seafront location. There is so much to see and do, and there really is something for everyone.
Local band Kassassin Street, is another that has obviously worked on their craft, with their melodic, atmospheric, psychedelic rock, and a singer with quite a hauntingly beautiful voice, we would highly recommend everyone takes a listen. Shed-7 followed by bringing back their 90’s rock, and as we sang our little hearts out with friends, one of my personal favourite moments of the weekend was when they ended their set with Chasing Rainbows.
Ocean Colour Scene over by the sea (how fitting) really didn’t disappoint, with an arena full to the brim. They took full advantage, and had every single person belting out their songs back to them. So much so, everyone was still singing ‘The Day We Caught The Train’ long after they’d left the stage.
The crowd quickly moved over to watch the daddy of dirty blues, Seasick Steve himself, showcasing the ease of drifting between stages at this well designed festival. With just two people performing, the intensity that they created was phenomenal, further extended by an energetic set from 2Manydjs. Grooving tunes also filled the 'secret disco' from Justin Robertson who brought the end of the night over at the ‘Civilisation Of The Rough’ tent.
With only few murmurings of epic queues at the bars, and perhaps not enough toilets, these issues are minimal, and as you might expect at a festival. All we can say at team Biscuit however- with our extraordinarily priced £20 a day tickets- is long may Victorious Festival continue. With 2015 early bird tickets already on sale, we recommend getting them quick. If they can pull off such a triumphant weekend in only it’s third year, just imagine what they can do in their fourth.
Victory to Victorious!
(Pics- by Whim Biscuit).