Last weekend in the blazing sun we headed to Southsea for the latest iteration of their annual festival, Victorious. Following on from our visit last year - read our Victorious Festival 2016 Review - we had high hopes for this year and by all accounts, those were well met in what was one of our favourite festivals of the summer. So without further ado, here are our ten top things about Victorious Festival 2017.
Considering the size and scale of the festival, Victorious has always been severely undercharging for entry to its festival - I heard from a long-time attendee that the for the first two years it was held in the Dockyard and was free to attend. With tickets on the day only costing £42 per day and advance options making it much cheaper still, there is no reason that you can't afford Victorious Festival. Super Early Bird tickets for 2018 are on sale now at just £20 for the Friday night and £25 for Saturday and Sunday. BUY TICKETS FOR VICTORIOUS 2018
By their nature, most music festivals are held in fields in the middle of nowhere, as this is practically the best way to hold a gathering of tens of thousands of people without disrupting the peace too much. The seafront location of Victorious makes it ideally situated for attendees to explore the local area before coming into the site each day. On Saturday morning, we played the pitch and putt at The 10th Hole nearby, as well as eating some of their incredible cakes and on Sunday morning, we had a drink on the beach right outside the festival site. Local accommodation fills up quickly so if you don't fancy the off-site camping option, you'd best get booking your hotel, BnB or Airbnb when you book your tickets.
Whatever your musical tastes, within reason, there is something for you at Victorious Festival. The headliners this year ranged from the ska legends Madness (Fri) to pop stars Rita Ora (Sat) and Olly Murs (Sun) to superstar rock groups Stereophonics (Sat) and Elbow (Sun). The Common Stage (main stage) and the Castle Stage both have plenty of room for the big acts and their fans, and when the sun sets for the final headline slots, the atmosphere is really electric.
Even if we take aside the headliners, the festival was filled with great performances throughout, whatever time of the day it was. From Frank Turner's powerhouse solo set at 1:15pm on Saturday to Rhythm of the 90s classics set in the early afternoon on Sunday, the audience were all really up for having a great time and the artists were really buzzing from it. Some of our favourites this year include Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park, British Sea Power and Benjamin Francis Leftwich. It's always worth checking the full line-up to see if there may be any hidden gems, but also don't be afraid to just take a wander and see what you find!
One of the real bugbears that a lot of festival-goers have is unclean or insufficient toilet facilities. From our experience, this year neither concern was any real issue. For the gents, the urinals on site were always queueless and the cubicles, whilst usually with a bit of a wait, were found to be clean and well-stocked with loo roll and hand sanitiser. If you want to feel like you're really flying high, the VIP/Premium ticket upgrade allows you to use the super posh loos with real flushing toilets, posh hand soap and moisturiser and without a queue in sight. Just a thought!
Long gone are the days when all of the food at festivals was greasy burger and chips type affairs. That said, most of the stalls did serve chips, but there was a vast difference between those who served chips and those who specialised in it. One of our favourite dishes was 'The Marmighty' from Pimp My Fries - fries, cheese sauce, marmite glaze, grated cheddar and more marmite glaze. For just a fiver, we did go back more than once over the weekend! The churros stand on the corner of the main stage area, near the squid stand, served the best churros I've ever had in my life, with a thick tasty chocolate sauce, unlike the watery choco-goop which you sometimes get at festivals. And with £4 for 6 or £6 for 9 churros, the price was right too.
The festival site at Victorious is quite large, which gives each of the stages their own space without having to compete with its neighbours. Unfortunately, the sound of the DJs playing in the Strongbow Yard did cross over into the fringes of the main stage, but aside for this there were no problems. Aside from the main stages, the Rhino AV Acoustic Stage was very popular during the daytime, with its hay bale offering, as was the Seaside Stage, where people could sit on the hills around it, looking at the sea behind the stage. It's quite unlike any stage at another festival and is well worth checking out if you are at the festival.
The Premium/VIP/Press area at Victorious has a number of treats including comfy sofas in a canopied lounge area, hammocks, dedicated food stalls and a bar without any queues and a viewing platform for the main stage. And as I mentioned before, super posh toilets. If you fancy a bit of luxury to go with your festival experience, a little extra goes a long way in the Premium area.
Not something that you would plan on doing whilst at a festival, but this year there was a games tent which featured a number of games by Big Potato Games. We played a tile-based word/quiz game called Qwordie which was great fun. There was also a competition to win a free game so fingers crossed that will be us, although it was a busy area throughout the weekend so there may well be some competition.
Finally, it would be rude to not give a big thanks to the sun for working double-shifts throughout the weekend to keep everybody beaming with serotonin and vitamin D. With not a drop of rain all weekend, next year's festival has a lot to live up to - and we can't wait to see if it does!
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