FAULT Magazine Attends Victorious Festival 2015

Victorious Flaming Lips
Flaming Lips

I have to confess, I’d never heard of Victorious Festival until a group of friends, all Portsmouth expats, begged me to join them for the weekend in their hometown, so I was pleasantly surprised to find some top names on the line up. I was even more pleasantly surprised to find out this is not a camping festival. Given the torrential downpour for the majority of Saturday, my fellow festival goers were happier for it too.

The festival takes place on Southsea Seafront, though unfortunately you won’t get to see much of the sea due to the walls of the festival and a large grass verge. However, they have nicely incorporated the local landmarks to make the festival feel more personalised; the ‘Castle Stage’ is named after Southsea Castle which is a few hundred yards away and offers free access to festival wristband wearers over the weekend and the Southsea war monument was lit up with poppy graphics. The Spinnaker Tower can also be spotted in the background.

Flaming Lips, who headlined on Saturday night, also paid their tributes to the naval town, although in a less conventional way, by waving a giant inflatable sign that read ‘FUCK YEAH PORTSMOUTH’ on stage. They sure know how to be the most Instagrammed show of the festival.

Flaming Lips Victorious Festival
Flaming Lips headlined Saturday

The Fratellis also put in a performance on Saturday that had everyone waving their umbrellas up and down with their feel good indie pop. It was much needed to bring some energy to the dampened affair.

The Fratellis Victorious Portsmouth
The Fratellis warm up a soggy crowd

The rain managed to stay away on Sunday, something that was also noticeable by the numbers that turned out in comparison to Saturday. However, though I’m informed this year’s Victorious was almost double the size of previous years, it never felt overcrowded and, most importantly, the queue for the bar was never long enough to require buying five drinks at a time that inevitably get spilt all over the person standing in front of your enthusiastic clapping.

Sunday had some great throwback vibes, from the naughties indie hay day with The Sunshine Underground and We Are Scientists, to so-90s-it-hurts Texas to the golden oldies of Johnny Marr from The Smiths and Ray Davies of The Kinks. Something for everyone to relive some part of their youth.

Sadly The Darkness appear to have lost some of their naughty, sexy, glam rock satire. Their performance wasn’t the fun soaked set I’d hoped for. Not least because they refused to play ‘Christmas Time’ at the request of the crowd and instead used the opportunity to plug their gigs at the end of the year.

Basement Jaxx Victorious
Basement Jaxx drew a huge crowd for the last set at Victorious

The FAULTless award of the weekend though has to go to Basement Jaxx. Club classic after club classic and a visually stunning performance was the only show of the whole festival that had the entire crowd really moving. From glowing neon costumes to breakdancers and even a ballet dancer, it really reminded that Basement Jaxx are a band who haven’t surrounded themselves with huge hype but have always stayed true to their creative vision. It reminded me of all the good times I’ve had to their music, which fuses gospel, jungle and various sub-genres of EDM. It was the party to end the festival and sent everyone home buzzing.

Victorious certainly feels like ‘a local festival, for local people’. The crowd was almost exclusively from Portsmouth or neighbouring cities and unfortunately that left the atmosphere a little lacking. People were there because it was something to do in their city during the bank holiday, not necessarily because they’re big fans of the artists and that was noticeable by the fact that we were one of the few groups of people jumping around, singing along and generally making fools of ourselves.

However, it’s a very clean and well-organised event, and at £30 for a day ticket, if you’re interested in seeing some great bands and don’t rely on mass mentality to get your vibe going, it’s incredible value for money.

Johnny Marr Victorious