Victorious kicks off and is set to give Portsmouth a £10m windfall

Crowds at Victorious   Picture: Habibur Rahman
Crowds at Victorious Picture: Habibur Rahman
Melody in Commercial Road

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  • Victorious Festival expected to bring in £10m into Portsmouth’s economy
  • Madness bring the house of fun to Southsea seafront on opening Friday night party
  • Festival-goers complain about bar queues
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A BUMPER £10m windfall is estimated for Portsmouth from Victorious Festival this weekend.

The annual music spectacle on Southsea Common got under way in style last night as ska superstars Madness entertained 30,000 people on the seafront.

Victorious Festival is arguably the biggest event of the year in Portsmouth now. With the Friday night party bringing in an extra 30,000 people, the festival is expected to house 150,000 people over the course of the weekend.

Councillor Donna Jones

An additional 60,000 people are expected today and tomorrow with indie legends Stereophonics and Elbow headlining the Common Stage.

With the festival expanding to three nights this year and with the introduction of offsite camping in Farlington for the first time, city council leader Councillor Donna Jones is estimating a multi-million boost to the city’s economy.

The city previously scooped a £8.47m jackpot last year – which was then an increase of £2.5m on the year before – but Cllr Jones estimated that this year could be the biggest one to date.

She said: ‘Victorious Festival is arguably the biggest event of the year in Portsmouth now. With the Friday night party bringing in an extra 30,000 people, the festival is expected to house 150,000 people over the course of the weekend.

‘All the hotels and B&Bs across the city are all booked up and with the Friday night party and the introduction of camping, I think we can expect around a £10m boost to the city.’

Revellers from across the country headed down to get the party started last night.

Marty Graham, from Portsea, has been coming to the event every year since its first incarnation in the Historic Dockyard in 2012.

He said: ‘I love coming to Victorious every year. Every time I come, there’s a great atmosphere, quality music and lots of fun to be had.

‘The best thing about Victorious is that it’s a true homegrown festival, which makes it more special for the city. I hope it doesn’t get too big in the future.’

Close friends Andy Cockell and Matt Twigg headed to Southsea from Dorking and Reigate respectively.

Regular festival-goer Matt said Victorious had become his go-to event of the year.

He said: ‘Each year I come, it seems to get bigger and better. I’m a big fan of the city and Victorious is another great reason to come to Portsmouth.’

First-timer Andy added: ‘I love the vibe of it. You can really tell it is a community festival.’

With only big acts performing in the Castle Stage arena last night, queues for the large single bar took as long as 30 minutes, leading to criticism on social media.

@ianbaker411 tweeted: ‘Given up on getting a beer. You’ve got nowhere enough bar capacity for how many people you’ve got here.’

Fareham borough councillor Chris Wood tweeted a picture of the queue and said: ‘Absolute nonsense. Chaos. Organisation of a kid’s birthday party.’

However, some just labelled it ‘part of the festival experience’.

Charmaine Sprake, from Portsmouth, said: ‘Everybody here is having a good time and the atmosphere is brilliant.

‘People shouldn’t care about bar queues.’

A total of 3,600 people have been involved in the construction of the festival site over the past two weeks. It stretches from Portsmouth Naval Memorial across to Castle Field.

Cllr Jones added that the uniqueness of Victorious being a seafront festival was raising the profile of the event.

The home-grown festival has twice been nominated for the best major music festival and came runner-up on both occasions.

She said: ‘As a seafront festival, people have told me they are stunned when they arrive to be able to watch such fantastic acts and to see ferries passing in the background and the sun setting in Southsea.

‘People all across the UK are sitting up and taking notice of Victorious now.

‘With camping now available for diehard festival fans, it is becoming an even bigger asset to the city.’