Our second visit to Victorious Festival did not disappoint. We still maintain that this metropolitan festival, taking place across the late August Bank Holiday weekend, offers the best value for money, one of the most interesting settings, a fantastic line up and the best kids’ arena we have experienced.
Victorious is a medium-sized festival, so if the idea of trudging for an hour from your car or tent to the main arena doesn’t really appeal, then this size festival will suit you. There is a car park right behind the main stage, which costs just £10 per day, with cheaper deals if you are staying for the whole weekend. This is situated next to Clarence Parade, on the seafront, so you get an “away from it all” feel as soon as you arrive.
Despite being smaller than some of the household name festivals (and therefore more relaxed and manageable, we feel) the music line up at Victorious is not compromised. This year saw performances from Madness, Stereophonics, Elbow, Franz Ferdinand, Jake Bugg, Feeder and Slaves. Previous years have seen the likes of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, The Manic Street Preachers, Mark Ronson, Travis, The Coral, Levellers, Editors, Ash, Boomtown Rats, The Flaming Lips, Ray Davies, Basement Jaxx and Primal Scream. The list goes on and this selection emphasizes our point that you don’t need to go to bigger festivals, with heftier price tags in order to enjoy the best line ups.
This same principle applies to many other aspects of Victorious Festival: the atmosphere, cool-factor, the range of acts and stages, food and drink and last, but by no means least, the kids’ arena. The Victorious Festival organisers have fully embraced the mantra that happy kids make for happy parents and have gone all out with kids’ entertainment. Not only is the Victorious kids’ arena the best we have seen this year, but it is also one of the few that offers such a huge range of free entertainment and activities.
We unreservedly recommend this festival if you are perhaps a festival newbie or even if you have been around the festival block a few times. You’ll find a welcoming festival that still manages to capture all the excitement and edginess associated with bigger festivals, but avoids some of the aspects of festivals - such as long walks, long queues and mud - which, let’s be honest, we don’t always appreciate.
Value for Money
Victorious offers fantastic value for money in terms of ticket prices. In 2017, adult day tickets started from £25, 5-18 year old tickets started from £8 and under 5s went free. To get such a great line up and a huge kids’ arena with free activities at such a low price is just unheard of in the festival world. So, if you do want to try out a festival for the first time but don’t want to break the bank, Victorious would be a great place to start.
Food and drink in the arena is comparable to other festivals and events and you can’t take your own supplies in with you (full bag checks), so you would need to consider this cost. However, we feel that the amount of free stuff on offer, especially for kids, offsets this completely.
Car-parking is cheap at £10 per day and this year’s offsite camping options were also reasonably priced. Some festival-goers did say that the shuttle buses to and from the campsite were a bit of a pain, so if your funds will stretch that far, you may want to consider booking early at one of the local hotels. There is a Premier Inn right on the seafront, next to the festival arena.
We’ve already mentioned the kids’ arena plenty of times, but we simply can’t stress enough just how well-entertained your little ones will be. Where to begin? Firstly there are great facilities for babies and toddlers including a nappy changing area, with free nappies and other supplies. Then there’s a tented breast-feeding area, which was a welcome quiet, shaded area for many mothers. Kids could then choose to dive in and out of a man-made beach area, a whole host of inflatables, a play bus, numerous arts tents, theatre workshops, hula-hooping, a climbing wall and a jam-packed programme at the kids’ stage. Mr Bloom from BBC’s CBeebies was one of this year’s highlights. There were also a few fair-ground rides, with a very obvious sign saying “fee paying area” to make this clear to parents.
The space dedicated to all of this was more than ample, so it never felt over-crowded and there wasn’t too much queuing. It was clear that a lot of thoughtful organisation had gone into curating the kids’ installations. If you want to go to a festival with your little ones next year, then Victorious really is one of the best ones to head to.
This year saw the very first Friday night opening, with music across five stages: the Castle Stage, the Real Ale Stage, the Beats and Swing Tent, the Southsea Castle Champagne Bar and the Rhino AV Stage. Highlights for this inaugural Friday night were amazing performances from The Charlatans and Madness on The Castle Stage, with the crowd singing along to the familiar anthems as the sun set over the sea. Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club was another highlight with a great DJ set which really got the crowd in the Real Ale Bar going.
Saturday saw the opening of the Common Stage, with unforgettable performances from Stereophonics, Jake Bugg, Maximo Park, Feeder, Echobelly and the immensely popular The Hunna. Blessed with glorious weather and the iconic backdrop of twinkling sea and passing ships, this main stage area offered a truly memorable experience. The crowd was happy and chilled and everyone, from babies to grandparents, was clearly having a wonderful time. The Castle Stage played host to Rita Ora, Band of Skulls and many more and other highlights from the remaining twelve stages open on Saturday included performances from Deaf Havana, The Novatones and Dinosaur Pile-up. The World Music stage was a huge hit, with lively, luminous performances throughout the day to an equally lively and luminous crowd.
Sunday was another sun-drenched day, keeping the Victorious festival-goers in the mood for the final day’s line up of Elbow, Franz Ferdinand, Slaves, Pete Doherty, Olly Murs, KT Tunstall and many, many more across all 13 music areas.
Needless to say, the big headliners really made this festival, with lively, polished performances. Stereophonics, in particular, were amazing and the fireworks and confetti finale is something that I am sure the crowd will not forget in a hurry. The sound at Victorious is top quality and the main stage area has ample space to accommodate the large crowds with good views throughout.
There was a very wide variety of food on offer, with all tastes catered for. Sometimes queues were a little long, especially at tea-time, but generally, there was enough on offer, considering the size of the festival. It is a little disappointing that festival-goers are only permitted to take food and drink for babies into the festival. For most kids it seemed to be burger and chips all round, which is fine, but most kids also want snacks throughout the day and this can end up being costly and time consuming if you can’t bring these with you. However, if you park in the main car park, you could always pop back for supplies and perhaps even have a picnic on the beach.
The toilets were porta-loo style and they were kept relatively clean across the weekend. You had to queue, but the queues weren’t horrendous. The site is easily accessible, with wide paths running along the length of the kids’ area. The site is large enough to ensure nothing feels crammed in, yet small enough to wander from stage to stage with ease.
In conclusion, Victorious is simply one of our favourite festivals here at Festival Paradise. The line ups have been consistently amazing, the kids’ arena is superb and it’s a hassle free festival in a stunning location. All of this at one of the cheapest price tags on the festival market. We’re sure that our late August Bank Holidays will be spent in Southsea for the foreseeable future!
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