With its biggest lineup to date, Victorious Festival was back, taking place over the usual August bank holiday weekend. Boasting the massive Southsea Common as its home, the festival attracted people of all ages to enjoy a weekend of great music, a huge variety of entertainment and fantastic local attractions.
Firstly, it goes without saying that the site is truly massive. The site not only includes Southsea Common, but also Southsea seafront, containing the Blue Reef Aquarium and D-Day Museum. This did, however, make it quite a task to travel between the two main stages, particularly when the mud was at its thickest. Nevertheless, festival goers were treated to a weekend of music covering all genres and eras.
The first act I saw on the Saturday was Michele Stodart on the Nevada Music Acoustic Stage. Best known as a member of The Magic Numbers, who also played at the festival, Michele recently started a solo project which she showcased on the Acoustic Stage. She performed brilliantly both with and without her backing band, but, unfortunately, introduced the rain for the first time over the weekend. I then headed over to the Castle Stage to see upcoming rap-star Isaiah Dreads. As rappers go, he was quite good but him and his backing DJ didn’t really have much of a stage presence. He even explained to the crowd the story behind his song If I Was Rich– “It’s a song about what I would do if I was rich”.
I then trekked over to the Common Stage to see soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula. Having missed her at the Isle of Wight Festival back in 2012, I was eager to see what I had missed out on. Although the heavens opened once more, the mesmerising voice of Laura had the crowd captivated throughout. Her hits Like The Morning Dew and Green Garden went down a treat with fans but, for some reason unknown to me, she finished her set 10 minutes before she was scheduled to. Next up was former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook & the Light. His rocking set was very well received by the older members of the crowd with people reliving their youth by singing along to hits like Blue Monday.
As the rain continued to crash down, The Magic Numbers and The Fratellis were next to perform on the Common Stage. Both acts were popular, more or less, around the same time, but their latest material hasn’t been anywhere near as successful. The Fratellis were the stand-out act of the two, probably because their performance was far more livelier. Their hits Whistle For The Choir and Chelsea Dagger were resounding throughout the crowd, justifying their longer 45 minute set. My favourite performance of the day came from Primal Scream, who were the penultimate act on the Common Stage. With Bobby Gillespie strutting around the stage in his usual-strange style, the band performed hits Jailbird, Movin’ On Up, Loaded and Rocks, amongst many others during their 50 minute set.
For the final act of the day it was a straight choice between The Flaming Lips and Tinie Tempah. I chose the latter. It was clear a lot of people had chosen him as well. In fact, the large size of the crowd suggested that Tinie should have really been playing on the Common Stage. I enjoyed him from afar, up the hill, surrounding the arena. His set was accompanied by fire and smoke effects and he played all of his mega hits to the delight of the fans. These included Miami 2 Ibiza, Written In The Stars, Pass Out and his most recent number 1, Not Letting Go. The perfect end to a wet, but very enjoyable day.
Very special guests Texas were the first major act to play on the Sunday of the festival. The Scottish band, who celebrated their 25th anniversary recently, played hits Summer Son and Say What You Want to a very sizeable crowd. It seemed the perfect start to the day and an example that would be difficult to follow. The following act was former Zutons’ frontman Dave McCabe & the Ramifications playing to a crowd that had reduced noticeably in size. It was clear that the band were having a few technical difficulties on stage, with lots of hand signals exchanged with the crew, but they still put on a great show.
The next band I saw was three-piece The Wytches on the Castle Stage. I’d heard a lot of exciting things about these guys before-hand, but wasn’t too sure what to expect. Lead singer Kristian Bell boldly declared that “This has a much better lineup than Reading”, which was followed by a huge cheer from the crowd. I was a little distracted from their set, however, because a small group of teenagers were ‘moshing’ at the front of the stage; a concerned member of security even had to intervene at one point. I then headed back to the Common Stage to see Hayseed Dixie. The four blokes, all dressed appropriately for the country genre they were representing, drew a huge crowd and their covers and original songs were absolutely fantastic. In fact, I even recorded one of the songs, Corn Liquor, to show you what they’re all about. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3miIVy4JF8
I then headed over to the Castle Stage, again, to see American rockers We Are Scientists. I didn’t think their performance was spectacular, but it was clear to see that the band have a huge fan-base, with a lot of late-teens rocking out to them. I then remained where I was to see Ella Eyre, who I enjoyed earlier in the year at the Isle of Wight Festival. She was welcomed onto the stage by hundreds of screaming girls; it was quite a noise. She talked about her debut album Feline, which was released on Friday, and played hits from that, including Good Times and Together, as well as her number 1 hit as a featured artist, Waiting All Night. She only played for half an hour, which seemed a little short, as there were a few popular songs that she didn’t play.
The weekend was brought to a spectacular close by Kinks’ frontman Ray Davieson the Common Stage and electronica legends Basement Jaxxon the Castle Stage. It was a very affordable weekend enjoyed by people of all ages. Southsea was transformed into a festival paradise for two days and I wouldn’t be surprised if the lineup was even bigger next year.
Thanks to the fantastic team at Victorious Festival for letting us come along!
Make sure you check out our ‘gallery’ page for all of our pictures from the weekend: http://iowfestivalsfansite.blogspot.co.uk/p/gallery.html
Make sure you take of advantage of the £20 earlybird ticket offer for Victorious Festival 2016!