Our woman from Hackney, Annika Eade stepped into the breach last month when she attended the Victorious Festival on my behalf and here is what she had to say about it…
A good weather forecast for a bank holiday is about as rare as a music festival with accessible parking, or so I thought whilst preparing to attend Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival on Southsea seafront. Most music festivals have always been family friendly, yet I have never felt tempted to take my children along. The though of negotiating the crowds with a buggy, long toilet queues and over priced entertainment has continually put me off. So needless to say I was rather anxious as we headed down to Southsea in the car, packed up with children, buggy, raincoats and the ipad in case we really ran out of entertainment options.
It is with rapturous delight that I report that I couldn’t have been more wrong. I hadn’t thought to check what, if any, parking might be available yet we were able to park around a 10 minute walk from the festival site for the very reasonable fee of £5 for the day. Also we didn’t realise that to get to our destination we would walk through the jaw dropping events at the Kite Festival on Southsea Common, which included choreographed kite shows to music and kites in the shape of Batman, a variety of animals and a cowboy no less.
Once inside the festival we immediately headed to one of the two kids arenas populated with fairground rides, facepainting, bouncy castles, a soft play bus and creative area for little ones with artistic flair to name just a few of the free activities available. We could also have made use of the splashpool which was inside the festival site and open to paddlers and next to it was something I’ve never seen at a festival before; a designated area for breastfeeding. My boys were very happy to queue up to sit in the ex-Falklands Harrier Jump Jet brought along by the Navy who had also brought along a selection of disabled weapons. I couldn’t help raising an eyebrow and was quite pleased that as a result of complaints they had received they were actually putting them away and wouldn’t be bringing them back the following day.
I never thought I would get passionate about the layout of the festival, but Victorious was nothing short of genius. I had never considered the hillock on which Southsea Castle is perched as a natural amphitheatre and everything was a short walk away. There was a hugely varied selection of food available – we went with gormet frankenfurters followed by Malteaser icecream although would have really liked to have visited the Camp Cooks serving up burgers in full drag (couldn’t justify two dinners after all the ice cream). I must also say a huge thank you to the amazing people who stopped us to point out that, mortifyingly our iPad had dropeed out of the buggy, its loss would have made the day far less value for money! My son was also beyond ecstatic to be given a bubble gun, free of charge by a stall holder, as he was so captivated by all the bubbles emanating from her stall we could have just left him there for the afternoon.
The kids were having such a great time I was loathe to tear them away to the various music stages where the line up included Tom Odell and Dizzee Rascal. I attempted to amuse them by bopping around to Lucy Spraggan doing the Fresh Prince rap but of course this only attracted horrified stares, and I don’t think the kids liked it either! However, as my partner and I are die hard Shed 7 fans, we weren’t going to miss out and we all headed to the highest vantage point next to the castle overlooking the state. Never did I think I could attend an event where I would have the Solent to my left and Shed 7 to my right, not to mention all the child friendly entertainment to be had from the grassy banks to slide down. Amusingly I was forced to question at one point whether or not Mr Witter was possibly under the influence. I swiftly realised that I was actually hearing the dulcet tones of the delighted moshers in the front row to whom Rick was passing his microphone around. To coin the title of their biggest selling album we certainly ended the festival on a maximum high.
Victorious Festival is in it’s second year at its new location on Southsea Seafront, having debuted at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. If you didn’t manage to get tickets or you just had such a great time that you absolutely must go next year, then you’ll be pleased to know early bird tickets are already on sale and you can buy them through the Victorious Festival website. Next year’s festival will be held on the 29th and 30th August 2015 and early bird tickets are £18.