Victorious Festival, Southsea Common, 23rd – 25th August 2019
Once again, Victorious Festival managed to entice a huge range of artists to play by the seaside at its late summer bank holiday weekend gathering. The line up is so varied that there really is something for everyone and it manages the family friendly tag with ease. As well as offering showcase spots to local emerging artists, Victorious pulls in some big players, both current and long established acts. Seemingly growing every year and now running across three days, this year’s headliners encompassed the eclectic bunch of Two Door Cinema Club, Rudimental and New Order. Across the myriad of stages and activities, no genre was left unturned and with a weekend filled with blazing sunshine, this looks to have been one of the busiest years ever. Here are our highlights from Saturday.
A long road trip from home, West Lothian indie four piece The Snuts have been much lauded as ones to watch and had some early singalongs going on, clearly a widespread fan base on their hands already. South coast blues pop trio Hooli graced the Seaside stage with a chilled set and plenty of local support; probably the only UK festival stage with passenger ferries running along the river on the other side of the wall.
Another rising young artist, Casey Lowry, brought his own brand of catchy trop pop tracks to the table. A suitably sunshine feel to the songs as he and his band breezed through their set, his initial suspicions that everyone would leave after ten minutes to see All Saints were soon allayed.
And so to a long established festival favourite and Victorious returner, the infectiously happy Tim Burgess. Having played here with The Charlatans two years ago, Tim returned for a solo set backed by his other bandmates The Anytime Minutes (also making waves in their own right as Average Sex). A mix of songs old and new put a smile on everybody’s face, I’ve never seen this man do a set that isn’t feel-good and full of energy – a sound booking for a show of any size.
Arriving onto the Common stage, Damon Gough aka Badly Drawn Boy looked slight bemused by the size of the crowd, asking if he was at the right festival. His performance is always understated but doesn’t take long to remind you exactly why he should be here. Over the years he’s written some beautiful songs and it was great to hear tracks from one of my favourite films and soundtracks About a Boy in amongst the set.
Considering the numbers there and the fairly intense heat, the atmosphere across the site was a happy one with areas for comedy and kids’ activities, a village sized merch and shopping square and a wide choice of reasonably priced food vendors. There was even space to dance by the castle in your wedding dress if you felt the urge…
Drawing one of the biggest crowds I have ever seen at any stage at Victorious (Castle stage is the second largest but must have outnumbered the main stage here), man of the moment Lewis Capaldi received a rapturous welcome from an all ages audience. His 7pm slot must surely have been booked some time ago; there’s no doubt he could have headlined and still had people watching him from as far as the eye could see. Capaldi’s self-disparaging songs of love and heartbreak combined with his imperturbable sense of humour look set to see him continue his rise to the top.
Difficult to follow… until you realise that next up is The Hives, Sweden’s incorrigibly wonderful rock ‘n’ rollers who hit the stage with such force that you knew the party had just moved to a different level. From Come On and Walk Idiot Walk to the inevitable closer Tick Tick Boom, it wasn’t hard at all to see why The Hives are still so popular, 20 years of mayhem and still going strong.
Headlining the Castle stage, Bloc Party provided the perfect way to end the evening, playing their landmark debut album Silent Alarm in full and no doubt creating waves of nostalgia for many of those present in the process. The tracks more than hold up over time, Bloc Party were never your bog standard indie band and the intricacy of the songs is clear to see, She’s Hearing Voices and Banquet personal favourites that it was an absolute pleasure to hear live again. Stunning.
The end of a long day but still these guys on security were having the best night, checking that everyone was ok while throwing synchronised dance moves to the sounds of Rudimental closing up the Common stage in the background – thanks to all involved for another memorable festival, see you next year.
No doubt Victorious 2020 will be even bigger and better – early bird tickets are already available here.
Words and photos by Siobhan
26th August 2019