Victorious Festival: 'Homecoming' feeling for revellers as Southsea Common event kicks off
LIVE music, sea air, and lots of glitter – Victorious Festival is back, and it’s feel-good atmosphere has revellers forgetting a difficult 18 months.
Tens of thousands of festival goers have begun to pack out Southsea Common – with social distancing feeling like a distant memory - as the three day extravaganza kicks off, roaring back after the event’s cancellation due to Covid-19 last year.
With strict entry policies requiring proof of Covid-19 immunity or a negative test, huge crowds with next to no masks in sight made the event feel like a time travelling experience to a pre-pandemic world, according to some attendees.
Rosie Winslade, 25, said: ‘It’s like being back in 2019. It’s like a time machine.’
Portsmouth-based Carl Truscott agreed: ‘It feels very good to be back – we feel at home straight away.’
Our House by Madness is set for a loud and enthusiastic sing-a-long this evening as the ska band takes to the main stage, even if many will have felt they have spent far too much time indoors over the last 18 months.
But many traders reported appetites and an atmosphere less indulgent and raucous than could be expected following a year of restrictions.
Tom Clifford, co owner of the Glitter Makes You Fitter stand, said last year’s cancellation of Victorious left a ‘big hole’ in the business – and trade wasn’t matching pre-pandemic levels.
He said: ‘This year has been quieter than two years ago. But I’m tentatively optimistic. People that have come down have wanted anything and everything.’
But a buzz about the day’s headliners was unavoidable – just by scanning the Madness merchandise among the crowds, with the band’s logo stamped on red fezzes with a yellow trim.
Pete Kempster, from Surrey, had picked up one of the exotic hats and was looking forward to the first headliner of the weekend.
The 52-year-old said: ‘I think it was a bargain. This was was £10. I would have paid £15 for this. They were selling loads of them.’
His fez-less friend Chuck was less keen, saying: ‘You couldn’t pay me £100 to wear that.’
But he agreed with Pete who said: ‘They will be good - they are one of those bands where you just know all the songs.’