Review by David Stone with Photography by Jessica Stone

Over the last few years we’ve watched Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival go from strength to strength, bringing some huge acts to the Southsea coastline for the August bank holiday.

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2019’s was no different, featuring New Order, Lewis Capaldi, Two Door Cinema Club, Rudimental, Bloc Party, The Hives, Professor Green, Tom Grennan and stacks more across well over a dozen stages and performance areas.

It’s a line up that reaches out to you, enthusiastically beckoning ‘Come along! Bring your parents. And your kids! Heck, grandma’s not busy right? Get her a ticket too. Hold your family reunion here.’ Not just in the acts gracing the main Common and Castle stages, but also those appearing across the various tents and arenas dotted around the site too. Have a wander around and you’ll discover everything from your expected rock, pop and indie to booze-n-beats parties, world music, stand-up comedy, cover bands and kids entertainers.

crowd for LC

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Day one took place in the Common stage arena, an upgrade from the smaller Castle stage pre-show of years gone by. Headlined by a colourful performance from Irish indie-rockers Two Door Cinema Club, the opening day’s highlights included a fantastic set from early 00’s favourites The Zutons (how could I forget they had SO MANY bangers!?) and a rousing evening jaunt from The Specials.

The Zutons

Two door cinema Club (2)

The special

Alongside the Common stage sits the premium upgrade area – a crisp £50 per day gets you a somewhat quieter space with a VIP-only bar, food trucks, a water point and toilets that more closely approximate something you’d have in your house. On top of that, you get access to a viewing platform that overlooks the stage itself – which proves incredibly popular as a spot to peer over the gathered masses and catch the show from a distance.

With the gates fully open to the rest of the site, Saturday saw the numbers in attendance multiply to fill the available space – at times to its absolute limits. Lewis Capaldi’s set that evening completely filled the smaller Castle stage arena, with an estimated 50,000 choosing to squeeze in and catch the Scottish superstar’s performance over main stage act Ocean Colour Scene.

Lewis Capaldi

Ocean Colour Scene

The Victorious site’s cleverly organised to guide and funnel everyone through a market street between the two stages, and watching the river of humanity flow through to catch the Scottish crooner had us a little in awe. On a star-studded day, Capaldi was without a doubt the act that caught the most love.

Other day two highlights included high-energy performances from 90s pop rockers Republica (Saffron’s pill-covered jumpsuit was by far my favourite fashion display of the weekend!), and The Hives (who somehow managed to make Brexit actually funny again).

Rupublica

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The Hives

Ending the night on the Castle stage, indie legends Bloc Party brought their UK Silent Alarm Tour to an end with an incredible headline set – the last in the UK for a ‘very long time’ according to frontman Kele, who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the last of a long stretch of shows here celebrating their debut album.

With Portsmouth hitting the ‘glorious sunshine’ hat-trick, day three provided 00’s indie-rock fans a chance to really prove their dedication to the cause. With stage times overlapping for The Futureheads & Razorlight, and later The Vaccines and Ash, if you wanted to catch both it was a sweaty 5 minute jog across the common and through the market (or vice-versa) to catch as much as you could of your faves.

Bloc Party

Thr futureheads

Razorlight

The vaccines

Ash

Effort returns rewards though, and frankly there’s nothing in the world that captures the pure, unfiltered essence of ‘festival’ more than standing in the sunshine watching Razorlight jangle their way through ‘America’.

The final evening saw another big crowd on the Castle stage for the talented Tom Grennan (who wins most amusing festival fashion choice. 15 year old me would’ve been in AWE of that shirt!), and a closing set from Sunday headliners New Order, which picked up steam towards the end as the weekend closed to Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Tom Grennham

New Order (2)

Victorious continues to be a total steal for the price – Early birds for next year’s event can be snapped up at sub-£100 for the entire weekend (including booking fees!), and at those prices it’s got to be in the conversation for the best value festival around.

See the full photoset from Victorious Festival 2019 here.

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One Response to “Victorious Festival, Southsea Seafront, Portsmouth, UK – 23rd – 25th August 2019”

  1. Victorious Festival 2019 Says:

    […] We spent the August bank holiday weekend down at Victorious Festival for Gig Junkies – you can read our review for them here… […]

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