Victorious Festival is a three day music event that takes place in Portsmouth, on the south coast of England, over the August Bank Holiday weekend. I attended on the Sunday, hoping to enjoy a summers day watching the likes of Reverend & the Makers, Lucy Spraggon, Embrace, plus many more.
Instead, me and my friend landed ourselves in continuous rainfall, 23mph winds, a muddy field and only one choice of stages to watch bands perform on.
Arriving at Victorious Festival
We drove to Southsea Common in Portsmouth and went to find the Blue Badge parking bays. A steward directed us to park near the war memorial statue. We got out the car, the wind and rain already beginning to batter us. It wasn’t very clear at all where we were supposed to go but we found a gate with a steward. He asked if I had a standard ticket. I said yes and he told us to go a different way. We then had a 10 minute or so walk around the field. The journey was horrendous; the walkways were narrow, ramps were steep and there were even rocks to negotiate, all while being drenched in rain and battling against the wind. We later discovered the original gate was the VIP section but with such bad weather and an electric wheelchair, they could’ve escorted us through rather than go the long, dangerous route. I remember when I attended Glastonbury 2015, disabled guests had special access through the VIP sections to make it safer for us. Unfortunately we didn’t receive any VIP treatment or meet any stars but at least we were safer walking the site. I don’t understand why the Victorious organisers could not have allowed that too. Luckily when we left, we managed to get permission from another steward to exit through the VIP section.
At the festival site
Once we arrived at the festival site, we went in search for the Castle Stage where Reverend & the Makers were due to perform. We did a full circuit of the site and couldn’t find this stage anywhere. We approached the main stage and heard Dermit O’Leary (yes the TV presenter) announce the other stages had to be taken down due to the poor weather and that there would be a small number of acts still aiming to perform on the main stage. He continued with a DJ set that included “Singing in the Rain”.
After hearing that announcement, we went to find the disabled viewing platform for the main stage. We initially found a viewing platform that also had a roof covering people from the rain. We thought great, then as we got closer, we noticed it wasn’t for disabled guests. We did another loop of the field and found the viewing platform at the far right back of the field, which had no covering!
We got a spot at the front of the viewing platform where we remained for the rest of the evening. It was continuously wet, windy and cold, but we tried to not make it dampen our spirits.
Following our adventerous journey into the festival, we could finally enjoy the music. We only got to watch 4 artists perform in the evening. The first live act we saw was alternative rock band, The Amazons. They played a majority of their tracks from their debut album including the singles Black Magic & Junk Food. They also surprised us with a cover of 20th Century Boy by T-Rex. I also enjoyed their drummers solo piece… trying to become the next Taylor Hawkins from Foo Fighters I think!
The next act, Sleaford Mods, was rather strange and quite annoying to be honest. The singer seemed to like saying “Fuck off” and “Shit hole” a lot and trying to make jokes that weren’t funny. Overall, their performance was a ‘fucking shit hole’!
This then followed with a performance from Friendly Fires. I’m not really a fan of them but their music is alright. They have a Bastille and Two Door Cinema Club vibe about them. I think at this point in time the cold got to me and I didn’t pay too much attention to them.
The night was closed by the headliners, The Prodigy. I’ve never been a big fan of them but like some of their singles. They opened with Breathe and played other singles I like; Firestarter, Omen & Take Me to the Hospital. They also played some tracks I never knew but enjoyed listening to, including Voodoo People, Wild Frontier & Need Some 1. I also liked the drum rhythm in Run With the Wolves. I was surprised they never performed Warriors Dance, despite they kept refering to their fans as “Warriors”. Plus I was disappointed they did not play Invaders Must Die even though it is another well known track by The Prodigy. I thought the music was great and had fun headbanging along. However I did not like the bands stage presence. They kept interacting with the front rows and people in VIP but seemed to ignore the rest of the crowd. It felt like everyone with standard tickets (and in our case those of us on the disabled platform) weren’t as importnt and shouldn’t get a mention.
Despite the weather and poor accessibility, it was a nice weekend, spending quality time with my partner in crime and enjoying some live music to close off the summer!
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