PORTSMOUTH has hit the jackpot to the tune of at least £58m after Victorious Festival was given the green light to stay for the next 10 years.
The city is bracing itself to pocket a small fortune after council bosses signed off plans to allow the music spectacle to be staged in Southsea until 2027.
In ten years time we could see the world’s biggest stars appear at Victorious, because it will become such an important part of the UK events calendar, and people will want to perform here.Portsmouth culture boss Linda Symes
The new deal comes after £5.8m was brought into the economy from visitors on the back of last year’s Victorious, with more expected to have been raked in this summer after 110,000 spectators packed out the seafront.
And cultural leaders say should similar benefits be replicated year on year over the next decade – not taking into account upcoming expansion plans – Portsmouth will secure £58m in total in a boost for the region.
Festival boss James Ralls said the move was a big moment for the city.
He said: ‘This was already a great week for Victorious Festival with the nomination for best major festival and best family festival at the UK Festival Awards.
‘Now with this level of commitment from Portsmouth City Council and Portsmouth residents, I’m sure we can invest in and build on an event to make the city proud.
‘Victorious Festival has always been an event I am very proud to be part of and to manage it while contributing to a falling council budget makes me glad that we can help maintain vital services.
‘Thank you as always to everyone involved in the event, and hopefully we can now contribute to the city’s culture in a positive way for many years to come.’
A new contract will now be drawn up with Victorious officials and the council to confirm the deal.
The event will be locked in to staying in Portsmouth until at least 2025, and bosses will then have the option of extending that until 2027 before a decision is made whether to carry on.
Portsmouth Tory culture boss, Councillor Linda Symes, who approved the plans and predicted at least £58m would come to the region in the next 10 years, said: ‘This is hugely important for Portsmouth.
‘In 10 years’ time we could see the world’s biggest stars appear at Victorious, because it will become such an important part of the UK events calendar and people will want to perform here.
‘You can’t imagine the benefits that would bring.
‘What we want to make sure of, is that it remains a festival where everyone can be involved of all ages.
‘It will always be a family festival and that’s the secret of its success.’
The News can reveal camping will definitely be introduced at next year’s August Bank Holiday bonanza, after event bosses revealed fields behind the Peter Ashley Activity Centre on Portsdown Hill will be used for festival-goers.
Spectators who take up the camping offer will be sent on shuttle buses down to Southsea Common.
New to next year is a party night on the Friday, and a host of stars are expected to pack out the bill.
This year’s line-up featured Oasis legend Noel Gallagher with his band The High Flying Birds, DJs Mark Ronson and Annie Mac, as well as the Editors, The Levellers, Ash and Travis.
City council Labour culture spokesman Cllr Stephen Morgan said: ‘I’m a fan of Victorious and what it does for Portsmouth.
‘It creates excitement and a real buzz in the city we all want to see.
‘Not only does it bring economic benefits to Portsmouth estimated at £5.8m, it also has real social value helping local voluntary groups to succeed and community projects to flourish.
‘With assurance that organisers and officers involved take residents’ complaints seriously and take on board feedback to improve the event’s planning, I’m in full support of efforts to secure Victorious’ future in our great city.’
COMMUNITY WELCOMES DEAL
COMMUNITY leaders have welcomed the extension of Victorious Festival’s deal and the prospect of the benefits to come.
Tony Brown, chairman of Southsea Association, said: ‘It’s money which is always important in huge amounts to a city.
‘It encourages prosperity, and when you take into account inflation, it will be a lot more. It’s civilised and well-organised, draws huge crowds and yet it’s not intrusive. I’m retired and I don’t have anything bad to say about it. I’ve been and had a great time.’
It was said at a meeting over the plans that a number of businesses in Albert Road had been harmed by the popularity of Victorious, as more visitors are now being drawn to the seafront.
But Jenni Catlow, chairwoman of Albert Road Traders’ Association, said: ‘This year was great, because people came for the whole weekend.
‘They had day tickets, so they could go to see the bands they wanted to see, and went out into the city afterwards. They stayed in the guest houses and gave them money they probably wouldn’t get at the moment with the way tourism is. The benefit from that is, the people in the guest houses had a bit more money in their pocket and they were able to spend more in the city.’
Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold Tavern in Albert Road, said: ‘We are busier on the Friday, when the guest houses are full. On Saturday it goes quiet, then we are very busy on Sunday afternoon.’
SHOULD LOCAL VENUES SELL TICKETS INSTEAD?
CALLS have been made for local venues to manage Victorious ticket sales so they get the cash boost and not an external company.
Fans currently have to go to UK ticketing firm See Tickets to buy passes, which includes a £3 booking fee.
But Portsmouth Lib Dem culture spokesman Councillor Lee Hunt, believes the Kings Theatre, the Guildhall and the New Theatre Royal should take on ticketing responsibilities – so the money made from bookings can go back into their pockets to improve the city’s economy.
But the Tory in charge of the council’s cultural duties, Cllr Linda Symes, dismissed the idea and said it would be too big a task for local venues to take on.
Cllr Hunt said: ‘Our cultural venues need all the support they can get. If you work out the number of tickets sold, about £150,000 is made from just the booking fee alone.
‘It would be better if that money went to the cultural venues in our city, and not paid to a private company.
‘We want all of Portsmouth to benefit from Victorious.
‘It’s making a lot of money now. The company running it is very valuable and by approving this contract extension it’s going to prove even more lucrative. It’s a top notch company now in the festival industry.’
Cllr Hunt also hopes local organisations like the D-Day Museum will continue to benefit and get cash contributions from organisers.