REVIEW: Victorious Festival 2018

The stages are down, the crowds have gone home and all of Portsmouth is left with lovely memories of Victorious Festival 2018.

Despite the weather that threatened to ruin proceedings at a couple of points over the weekend, the festival came off as an absolute success.

Across the course of the Bank Holiday weekend festival-goers were treated to amazing sets from the likes of Paul “The Modfather” Weller, The Libertines, Paloma Faith, Kaiser Chiefs and, of course, The Prodigy.

Paul Weller Victorious Festival
Kaiser Chiefs. Victorious Festival
crowds-victorious festival

For those who braved the torrential rain and howling winds on Friday, they were treated to a sneaky cameo of BBC Radio 1 veteran turned Radio X DJ, Chris Moyles who came on the Common Stage to introduce his friends, The Kaiser Chiefs, to an excited (if a bit soggy) audience. 

Following Ricky and the Chief’s stellar performance Pete Doherty, Carl Barât and co descended to the stage, playing all The Libertines classics, plus an excellent cover of Say A Little Prayer in homage to the late Aretha Franklin. 

Saturday was blessed not only with glorious sunshine, but the first full-day line-up. With the kid’s arena open the youngsters of Portsmouth were able to catch their favourite Disney princesses (complete with their own spangled version of Uptown Funk) and a special slot with Andy Day from CBeebies with his band The Odd Socks.

Andy said about Victorious “It’s brilliant, we didn’t realise how good it was actually!”

Returning to the festival were Pompey favourites, The Pigeon Detectives, whose athletic hijinks and passion for the crowd always makes them popular when visiting Pompey. Team Locals chatted to them about their thoughts on the festival, “It’s a nice day out! It’s a sunny day on the beach…. We’ve had so many great nights out in Portsmouth… We tried to go to the war museum (The D-Day Story Museum) last time but it was closed for refurbishment”. Thankfully, it’s now open and fully refurbished for them to visit! 

As the sun set over the Solent, Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame, came out and charmed the crowd with tunes like Good Vibrations, Surfing USA and Wouldn’t It Be Nice. He was then followed by Paul Weller who played a range of hits from his huge back catalogue including songs from his Style Council days and the epic anthem Town Called Malice from The Jam era.

Meanwhile, over on the Castle Stage, Paloma Faith serenaded the Victorious crowd with her powerful tunes, candid thoughts on life and society and was the epitome of glam in her trademark quirky wardrobe. 

paloma faith victorious festival
Brian Wilson-victorious festival

Sunday started as grey, windy and rainy with many concerned for the fate of the day because of impending weather conditions. Hammocks were removed from the VIP area, flags were taken down and everybody was ready for heavy rain. Despite this, the mood was good, people were pushing through and even though there were major changes, with stages such as the Seaside Stage being closed, and the Castle Stage temporarily suspended, Victorious did not shut down.

One band that weren’t going to let the bad weather get them down was Bang Bang Romeo. The Yorkshire four-piece were due to play the Castle Stage in the early afternoon, but it was announced on social media, due to weather conditions, their performance was cancelled. 

Bang Bang Romeo
Credit: Chris Tomlins

Credit: Chris Tomlins

Not wanting to disappoint fans ahead of their album release the following week, they put on the alert on social media and managed to secure an impromptu gig at Three Cocktail Bar on nearby Palmerston Road:

“We knew the weather was bad, but when we got to the stage to set up and the whole thing was a giant puddle with rain smashing down into it... We were a little concerned... Even as we got on the stage they were taking down the lighting rigs and screen they'd set up. We hung around to see if they'd have the stage ready, but our set time passed, and it still wasn't suitable. The stage manager said he couldn’t guarantee our safety, and that if it was his band, it would be a straight "No, within ten seconds.

“So yeah, we were gutted, we'd been looking forward to the show but there was no way we were going to drive 4/5 hours to Portsmouth and not play that day. We knew quite a few people had actually travelled to come see us at the festival, so we put out a couple of videos online and our fans were the ones that sorted the gig.

“…it was full to capacity before we even played, and we had one of our favourite shows of festival season.

“We can't wait to come back to Portsmouth and we can't thank everyone enough for their support and help getting it all arranged. The staff at Victorious were all great and looked after us whilst we waited…We were just happy we managed to sort an alternative."

The Castle stage thankfully reopened later on and Reverend and the Makers came on and gave a blinding performance for the loyal and hardy fans that had stuck around through the cold and rain. Speaking exclusively to Team Locals they said: “We loved it. Thought it might be a write off given the weather, but it was triumphant! Was blown away by the size of the crowd that came to see us!”

As the Sunday drew to a close, the rain stopped, and the crowds descended for some of the most hotly tipped headliners the festival has ever had. Example and DJ Wire got the crowd going ready for the synth-pop stylings of Years & Years on the Castle Stage. Whilst over on the Common Stage St Alban’s indie rockers Friendly Fires opened for The Prodigy.

prodigy victorious festival
Years & Years Victorious Festival

The brave and the soggy were rewarded for their grit and patience as the Kings of Big Beat blasted the crowd with spectacular light shows and classic 90s tunes that had the whole place jumping in their wellies. With hits like Firestarter, Breathe and Smack My Bitch Up ringing in everybody’s ears, Victorious Festival 2018 came to a close- cementing another year as one of the most diverse, and best loved, festivals in the UK. 

WORDS: Danielle Jones

Picture Credit: Tom Langford

Picture Credit: Becca Egertstrom of Paloma Faith