It’s Sunday night and we are stood on a jam packed viewing platform for the Common Stage waiting for Noel Gallagher. Before the main man appears, I take a moment to fully embrace what I am witnessing. This is Southsea Common, in the lovely little seaside island of Portsmouth, and there are thousands of people all gathered together, having the most amazing time. The lights from stage shine over this sea of people, the music starts, and I am covered in goosebumps.
Noel and his High Flying Birds are the perfect end to what has been an epic weekend. His set is full of what he does best, rock n roll, with a few Oasis classics thrown in for good measure. He tops this off with the sing along classic Don’t Look Back in Anger, which the crowd belted out at the top of their lungs… us included.
The rest of the weekend was equally great. The line up this year was Victorious Festival’s best yet. A personal favourite of mine was The Editors on the Castle Stage on Saturday night, They were clearly really up for having as much fun as we were, playing the perfect set to keep the crowd dancing.
Other stand out bands were Ash, Wolfmother, The Horrors, Raleigh Ritchie, Rat boy and of course Manic Street Preachers, who started their breathtaking set with the legendary tune 'Motorcycle Emptiness', and ended it with 'Design For Life'. Those two songs alone would have made our day complete, yet they threw in classic after classic in making this the perfect end to the first night of the festival.
Victorious Festival isn’t all about big named bands however, they are also a great supporter of local/unsigned bands.
The Mayfield Studios Real Ale Stage was in a different location this year, and had a fantastic selection of local bands play. The Southsea Alternative Choir played two of their six shows that weekend on this stage, and others such as The Silhouettes, Hometown Show, Smiley Campbell Band, and Calaveres absolutely smashed it!
The stage with arguably the best location of the whole festival is the Casemates Seaside Stage, overlooking the coast and the soft blue peaks of the ocean. Once again, the line up was purely brilliant, but those that stood out to me were local legends Kassassin Street, and also Rhythm of the 90s playing an impressive 2 hour long set. I say set, but it was a two hour dance party! Think of a classic 90s tune, and without a doubt they will blow you away with their own lively, energetic fun version of it.
New this year was the World Music Stage, and it did exactly as advertised. The line up was an amazing diverse mix of all cultures and artists from all around the world. Learn to dance Latin, sing along with a gospel choir or join in with a Bhangra dance party. It had everything, all mixed in with some of the best artists the world has to offer.
Victorious has so much more to offer than live music, the real ale bar had some outstanding beers to choose from, and the food and markets stalls had a ridiculous amount of variation this year. From traditional pork sandwiches and toasties, to hearty meals from many local restaurants who set up stall for the weekend. Yes it is a tad pricey, expect to pay anything from £6-9 for a gourmet burger, an average of £5 for a cup of beer, and £2.50 for a soft drink. Whilst steep, the prices are comparable to most UK festivals, and there are a few cheeky bargains to be had. Sadly no picnics or food brought from home are allowed on site, but those with youngsters, or intolerances can ask to bring their own snacks.
I took a nice stroll around the kids-arena with friends and family, well I say stroll, it was more like take three steps and the little’uns would find something else fun to do. It's huge, and a marvel for the family. It has a stage that has all their favourite performers, a mini funfair, arts and crafts, and the obviously popular Happy’s Circus.
There is still so much the festival has to offer. There were loads more stages and bands, some hidden in little nooks and crannies, as well as the ever crammed Silent Disco, plus the Skate Park and so on.
All in all, once again the guys and gals that work so hard to put this festival on, deserve all the praise they are getting, it’s quite simply a fantastic, fun, amazing festival, that is a credit to the local community.
Early bird tickets for 2017 are already on sale here, my advice to you would be to go and get them while you can.
We’ll see you there!
Pics by whimbiscuit2016.