A huge range of artists wowed at Portsmouth's premier music festival.
The final day of Victorious Festival 2017 was by far the best day of the weekend. By lunch time, the Common stage was already filled with fans eager to hear the Dandy Warhols and their biggest hit, ‘Bohemian Like You’. Often bands with one very big hit are a little disappointing until the very end, but the Dandy Warhols were surprisingly brilliant. They clearly pleased the fans who knew every song, but they also kept the attention of the rest of the crowd with their 90s indie beats and atmospheric guitar. The music paired perfectly with the atmosphere of Victorious on that incredibly hot and sunny day.
Victorious, with its huge number of different performance areas, should be well regarded for its support of local and up and coming artists. The Sunday line up made sure that this was consistent throughout the weekend, saving some of the best until last. Crows and Kassassin Street, the latter of whom has frequented Portsmouth and Southampton for the last few years, rocked up the Castle Stage, sending heavy guitar riffs echoing off the walls of Southsea Castle. Smaller artists were also given their chance to shine – Sean McGowan, a singer/songwriter for fans of Frank Turner and Jamie T, was given a mid-afternoon slot in the Beats and Swing tent, attracting to his acknowledged amazement a larger crowd than he expected. In the late afternoon, Rationale’s soulful sound soothed sunbathers around the castle stage, while Southampton University’s very own ten-piece funk-rock band, Nine Ace Deck (self-described as having ‘a big sound and an even bigger horn section’) owned the Seaside Stage.
A very chilled out schedule to the afternoon allowed festival-goers to enjoy the unique entertainment the Victorious arena had to offer. Whether that meant taking a stroll along the sea-front or taking a break from the sun’s extreme heat by wondering around Southsea Castle’s interactive exhibition documenting its use by Henry VIII; Victorious isn’t just about the music.
Back on the Castle Stage, RAYE re-ignited the energy with an upbeat set that got people back up on their feet. The budding popstar’s set included ‘Hotbox’, a song she wrote at 14 years old, and her latest single ‘The Line’. Raye also performed throwback cover of ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ by Daniel Bedingfield and ended on her biggest hit to date, ‘You Don’t Know Me’, her collaboration with Jax Jones. It seemed to me this was the first time over the weekend that any artist had the entire audience dancing and singing along to the chorus.
However, when it came to stage presence, Slaves could not be beat. Not for the faint-hearted, the crowd went crazy during every single song. Fans at the front ranged from young teenagers to middle-aged, reflecting the festival’s extraordinary ability to bring a variety of different types of fans together. Unfortunately, during the set, a man had brought his dog into the very centre of the mosh pit, prompting the concern of myself and others around me. Where Victorious succeeded at one thing, perhaps the festival should more seriously consider regulations on animal safety next year.
Franz Ferdinand were next to the Common stage, playing hit after hit alongside the extraordinary light up back drop displaying ‘Franz Ferdinand’ in an array of colour. Lastly, the headliners took to the stage. Depending on music taste, festival-goers flocked to the Castle stage to see Olly Murs or the Common Stage to see Elbow.
In typical Elbow fashion, lead singer Guy Garvey characteristically owned the stage and interacted with the audience, asking them to repeat the words ‘Love’ and ‘Beautiful’ back to him, predictably building up throughout the entire set to ‘One Day Like This’. If any song could end a festival, this was perfection. The only disappointment of the set was the fact Elbow never played ‘Grounds For Divorce’, which – according to Spotify – is their second most streamed song.
Overall, Victorious is one of the best affordable day festivals in the south of England, especially accessible to students living in Southampton. The line up, although mainly consisting of white men (my only criticism), was impressive and the festival expertly attracted families, young adults and groups of teenagers, appealing to both young and old. The beautiful weather just made this year even better than the last.
It’s certainly important to note the impressive range of entertainment, aided by the location of the arena. The additions of the seaside, the castle and crazy golf meant festival-goers were never bored. But the best thing about Victorious is its continued support of local artists, allowing these smaller performances to open up their music to more than their usual crowd. If anything, I’ll be sure to return next ye http://gty.im/604136998 ar.