Last weekend AfterDark Brighton attended the Victorious Festival in Southsea to see why around 100,000 people flock to the seaside resort for a day (or two) of live music. The festival boasted an impressive number of stages, covering a wide flat site which stretched across from Southsea Common to past Southsea Castle. When we arrived just before lunchtime on Saturday, the festival site was quite sparsely filled with people and we were beginning to wonder if the projected figures were slightly exaggerated, but within a couple of hours the festival site was teeming with families, children and adults all over the festival site. The site was so spread out that it was quite hard to understand its full scale until completing a circuit around it.
With the gates opening at 10am and the music coming to a close just before 11pm, the festival was a very long day, paricularly if you were there with a family of small children. However, there was a lot to do for the little ones, from circus acts to outdoor sports, face painting and plenty of food options that would appeal to everyone.
Due to the size of the festival site, there was no issue with sound bleeding from one stage to another. The acoustic stages were great for passersby who were moving from the Common Stage to the Castle Stage (the two main stages at the festival) and kept the people browsing the shops and buying food entertained without the music being too loud. The seaside location was beautiful and without camping, the festival site didn't turn into a sea of tents and muddy fields, as many larger festivals can do. The attitude at the festival was also really different from many festivals, with no obvious signs of people taking drugs or drinking too excess - just people having a good time.
With very modestly priced tickets, particularly for children (under 5s were just £1 per day) the festival had just the right price point to attract people to come along to pay for tickets on the day if they hadn't pre-booked tickets. Even at full price, £35 for each day is an absolute steal.
My festival highlights were great performances from Jack Francis, The Bootlegs, Travis and Editors, who should have definitely been on the main stage in my humble opinion. My favourite stage overall was the Rhino AV Acoustic Stage, which featured consistently good music throughout the weekend and haybales to take the weight off your feet whilst you were there. I also enjoyed seeing a lady in a wedding dress in the Premium area - I'm not sure if it was her wedding day or a hen do as there seemed to be no groom in sight. I also had some fantastic sweet potato chips from a pizza stall which were quite remarkable. The low point of the festival was hearing Bob Geldof effing and blinding through his set on the main stage. Fortunately most of the audience were not young ears, otherwise there would have been a lot of parents covering them up. Rule of thumb: if you're performing in the early afternoon at a family-friendly festival, reign it in a bit!
For next year's festival, they are talking about an opening night on the Friday and looking into camping options. I look forward to the first announcement of the line-up next year and seeing how the festival grows from the success of this year to bring something even better to its next audience.
Tickets for next year's festival are available now from just £25 per day from the Victorious Website.
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