Big music festivals began in the 1960s. One of the most significant being a few miles away: the Isle of Wight Festival, its 1970 festival is still talked about today, as its line up included Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Joni Mitchell. It came with its own problems though: the sound system wasn’t great and the 600,000 festival goers, on an island with a population of less than 100,000, caused huge logistical problems, leading to its demise – until being revived in 2002. Today, virtually every UK town or city holds a music festival of some sort, featuring everything from bluegrass to hip hop, rock and jazz, attracting audiences large and small, you may even have been to one or two this year already.
From modest beginnings, just 5 years ago, Victorious has become one of the south coast’s major festivals, with some 120,000 people attending last year. But as much as it has grown, there is still something very special about a music festival that so many of us can get to simply by walking to the common, or hopping on a bus or train.
As ever the line up contains a broad mix of artists and genres. Headliners include Stereophonics, (Sat.) Elbow and Olly Murs (Sun.), along with other quality bands, including Southampton’s best music export since Craig David – Band of Skulls. Or the tight sounds of the Glasgow five piece, Franz Ferdinand, with a new line up since the departure of founding member Nick McCarthy last year. Also look out for British Sea Power, who played Victorious in 2015.
Let’s not forget all our local talent Kassassin Street and Jerry Williams, Southsea Lifestyle favourites, are playing again this year, while Nick Courtney will be presenting some of Portsmouth’s finest on the Seaside Stage, with more artists to check out at the Strong Island and Acoustic Stages.
A few new additions to mention, this year the festival starts on the Friday at 4-11pm with an opening party and if you have friends or family who’d like to come, but you’d rather not have them stay with you, there’s offsite camping available at Farlington Fields. Plus there’s a coach service that’s picking up revellers across the UK, from Birmingham to Plymouth. Busterfest, a no alcohol/drugs festival near Petersfield has teamed up with Victorious to create a new stage, metal fans will want to see Sikth and Pulled Apart by Horses. Happy’s Circus is also new, with acrobats, sword acts and lots of magic, plus children can move onto the Kids Arena for a variety of acts and interactive entertainment.
With the Real Ale Village and Market Way for quirky market stalls and tasty food, it all promises to be a fascinating, fun weekend – who knows, maybe we will be talking about Victorious 2017 in the same breath as the 1970 Isle of Wight festival!
Look out for some Surface Tension from Aspex gallery in partnership with Strong Island, University of Portsmouth , (UoP) and Victorious. Three artists have been commissioned to produce new artworks, supported by creative industries from the UoP. Located at the festival, the artworks will form ‘creative surfaces’ from recycled materials. A trail map will direct visitors to each artwork, promoting interaction in various ways, from arts activities to uploading photos and comments on social media. In September, the work will be shown at Aspex gallery.
The commissioned artists are Paul Gonella and Tristan Savage (Strong Island), Rainatu Habib, (UoP), Illustration graduate, who will be Aspex’s artist-in-residence, throughout August and Megan Humphries (see p.51), who will create a community artwork and engage the public through participatory workshops, leading up to the festival. Look out for a screen printed poster to promote the Surface Tension project, by UoP illustration graduate, John Lihou. The project is supported by Gibson Whitter, Gunwharf Quays, and the Faculty of Creative & Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth.
#SurfaceTensionUK on social media to connect with the project.
If you see someone painting to the rhythm of the music it is probably the artist/designer Kevin Dean, who will be attempting to record as much of the festival as he can, from the construction of the site, to festival goers and the bands on stage. He will be joined by the artist/photographer Derek Rodgers – they aim for a joint show later in the year.
For a festive celebration of our city’s global community, head to the Victorious Fesival 2017’s World Music Village on Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th August, curated by the local charity, Arms Around the Child. The award winning Neneh Cherry returns to the festival on Saturday afternoon after her foot stomping set last year. For a Bhangra fuelled Saturday night, look out for Des-C, who follows the innovative folk rock band Sasha Ilyukevich and the Highly Skilled Migrants. If you enjoy the steel pan sound, then don’t miss the Pan Jazz International Ensemble, (Saturday afternoon). You can catch African beats with Fellowship of Groove, and reggae with Emiliyah and the MightyZ All Stars, (Sunday). For more great reggae, seek out legends Macka B, (pictured right) and Black Slate, each performing Sunday evening.
Elsewhere, the bill boasts Afrobeat and Urban Funk from Matuki, (Saturday evening), plus Latin dance vibes from Duke Rossa, (Sunday afternoon).
The World Music Village also hosts The People’s Lounge tent again this year, a cultural collective of artists, musicians, activists, poets and cooks. This alternative enclave will feature Portsmouth’s diverse creative talent, live music, spoken word poetry, visual art, Tai Chi and various workshops throughout the weekend, plus DJ sets and live music, including Shakara Soul, Nan Breddaz and the Southsea Groove Collective.