Victorious Festival 26 27 28 August 2022 at Southsea Common, Portsmouth UK: Day 1
This event has been a regular in my calendar since 2014. There was a break for Covid in 2020 and I haven’t always been on the Friday but otherwise I’ve always made it. It started in 2013 but that passed me by.
It’s only an hour and half drive from home; the urban location makes hotels – anything you can find (I have taken in a range) – an obvious way to do it if you don’t live local; it’s in a lovely seafront location and the selection of bands is sympathetic to a grey-haired gig goer, while also offering new bands, a wide range of stages and a chance for local bands to get a look in. It has always been great value. Invariably I have booked ‘early bird’ tickets without knowing who is playing and never been disappointed. 2023 early bird tickets total £145 for all three days. Camping is a separate and distant arrangement and there is a reasonably priced premium bolt-on to ease any festival negatives.
The food selection is good and varied (Paella👍Falafel wraps👍Stuffed Crepes👍 all winners…ok and the chips and curry sauce). Last year, queues got awful but all better this year. Bar queues not an issue this year either as the drinks were so bloody expensive it slowed people up a bit I guess. (£6.90 for a pint of my choice of Brixton Pale Ale. Same for Amstel or Strongbow. The ‘fast bars’ selling 330ml cans of Brixton Pale and larger cans of the rest for the same price. That’s my only negative from this year.)
The aim was to park and drop bags at our hotel near Southsea Common and get wristbands and in for the first band Primal Scream. A few delays sorting out parking and a later start meant I failed on that one. We lounged around in the shaded tent of the premier area with a few beers – well quite a few beers and bottles of wine, listening to the main stage (Common Stage) and emerged for James.
James are band I have seen supporting and at festivals and have a few CDs by, but have never gone out of my way to see. Hard not to like in the sun this afternoon.
Frontman Tim Booth ventures down the central fenced off divide that leads to the mixing desk, then goes over the top halfway along for a crowd surf. Impressive.
Ten songs, including Ring the Bells, Born of Frustration and naturally: Sit Down.
“This the last song we have… we have another 300 over the last 14 years” announces Tim before they play Sound to end – the megaphone is out.
I stayed out for Bombay Bicycle Club – sound – I don’t know their stuff much. I gather they’ve had hiatus and comeback so maybe that’s why I haven’t noticed them overly. One CD in the cupboard – it’s a big cupboard that one – and I saw them once at Reading Festival. Enjoyable and kept us on our feet – quite up the poppy end of indie rock.
There are a couple of the smaller stages open today but I haven’t made the most of what’s on offer. Easing myself in.
Next The Stereophonics. They always seem better than I expect and that’s the way tonight as they round up the evening as the Friday headliner.
I have seen them 5-10 times now: first time at Leeds V97 Festival and all these years later I am still punching the air tonight to The Bartender and The Thief – still my favourite track. So many to choose from these days. The set highlights include Mr Writer, Have a Nice Day, Maybe Tomorrow and those wonderful, chanted lines from A Thousand Trees:
“Picture gathers dust in the bar in the Lounge it takes one tree to make…
A thousand matches
Only takes one match to burn
A thousand trees
A thousand trees”
Kelly Jones never gets that excited – a few quiet words and he lets the songs do the business, yet again. Dakota to end, with a few fireworks. Ahhhh.
First day over. Taking it easy. Three bands. Poor show really – I can’t count the ones I heard from the bar tent – but caught up with friends and the Brixton Pale Ale. Legs saved for another day….two more days to come.