Dizzee Rascal heads Victorious Festival line-up

Dizzee Rascal ''Picture: Ian West/PA Wire
Dizzee Rascal ''Picture: Ian West/PA Wire
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CHART-TOPPER Dizzee Rascal leads a star-studded line-up for this year’s all new and improved Victorious Festival.

The event is moving from its base at the Historic Dockyard to Southsea Common and nearly doubling its capacity to 80,000.

Dizzee, famous for number one hits such as Bonkers and Holiday, will perform over the August Bank Holiday.

American blues musician Seasick Steve will also headline, and other big names appearing include Sophie-Ellis-Bextor, 90s indie stars Shed Seven, Naughty Boy, The Pigeon Detectives and Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip.

Two extra headliners and other high-profile artists are still to be added.

Festival organiser James Ralls said it was an honour to clinch such a top-class line-up – and was inspired to pursue Dizzee after watching him perform.

‘Dizzee Rascal is a huge name for us to attract to play at Victorious Festival,’ he said.

‘I’m very happy to have him after seeing his awesome show at the Olympic opening ceremony,’ he said.

‘I’m excited about the prospect of watching all of the bands we have on our line-up so far.

‘We have got a great group of artists and have something for everyone, and of course we will be adding many more acts to the bill. It’s an exciting time for the city.

‘We have never really had a proper festival in Portsmouth.’

It’s hoped 80,000 visitors will head to the festival, to be held on August 23 and 24.

It comes on the back of Victorious Festival’s success last summer, which was headlined by Charlotte Church, Maximo Park and The Cribs.

As reported, Mr Ralls and his business partners Ben Miles and Andy Marsh decided the event had reached the peak of its success at the dockyard, and sought permission from Portsmouth City Council to move to the seafront.

An agreement has been reached whereby the event can be held on the common for the next five years – enabling it to grow each year.

Mr Miles said: ‘We are very excited about seeing big names like this in Portsmouth.

‘Although we had a good selection of headline bands last year, we have gone a bit further this time.’

Early-bird day tickets cost £15 and the price will rise to £20 nearer the time.

As part of the deal, festival-goers get free entry to the D-Day Museum and the Blue Reef Aquarium.

Included in the package is a free children’s arena with entertainment, face painting, a laser game, Punch and Judy and cake decorating.

Ale lovers will be treated to a beer festival at The Pyramids Centre and families can use the pools for free.

A skateboarding and BMX event will be held at Southsea Skatepark, which could attract performers from around the world. And a silent disco – where people listen to the music through earphones – will be held for up to 3,000 revellers.

The Southsea Alternative Choir is one of scores of local acts which will also take to the stage this year.

Trumpet player Tom Edwards, 32, said: ‘It will be a chance for us to perform alongside big names and touring bands

‘It’s a great platform for us and helps to raise awareness of the work we are doing.

‘A lot of us in the band have played to larger numbers of people before, it’s always nice to do that.’

Mr Ralls said: ‘We have been working on this for several months now.

‘We have a good team of people working behind the scenes ensuring will happen.’

Steve Pitt, of Portsmouth Cultural Partnership, tried setting up a seafront music festival about five years ago.

He said: ‘Being able to develop a large music festival on Southsea seafront is something that has been long, long wanted.

‘It’s absolutely crucial in developing the city as a cultural destination.

‘Last year’s Southsea Show proved there is big demand for big events on the seafront.’

Tickets are available now on a first-come, first-served basis from The Belle Isle bars in Southsea and Chichester and Little Johnny Russell’s in Albert Road.

Alternatively, go to the Victorious Festival or seetickets.com.

COMMUNITY leaders are looking forward to reaping the benefits from this year’s revamped Victorious Festival.

Vince Faithfull, chairman of The Southsea Association, said the bank holiday event will make great use of a fantastic location, and will help to boost the local economy and give businesses the confidence they need.

‘I think it’s fantastic,’ he said.

‘It will put Portsmouth on the map and will bring revenue and a fantastic feel to the city.

‘This is what should be happening in cities where they have the facilities to provide this sort of thing.

‘I hope the people of Portsmouth will get behind it.

‘It will help our economy, increase short-term jobs, in areas like security or in bars.

‘The businesses will get a short upturn in trade.’

Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold Tavern, in Albert Road, Southsea, said: ‘If there’s going to be 40,000 visitors each day, it’s not just going to be the people of Portsmouth going to that.

‘There will be people travelling into the city.

‘They will want to try out the local restaurants, cafes and bars.

‘It’s good news for the local businesses.

‘It will be good for us because this year event is going to be more in central Southsea.

‘It’s going to get people into Portsmouth – that’s what the council has been trying to do for ages, and now a small bunch of entrepreneurial people are doing it. There are some people who say the seafront is not the right area for this, but it’s a magnificent space that should be put to good use.’

LAST year’s Victorious Festival pulled in 45,000 visitors over two days.

But this year, that number will almost double.

More than 100 bands will perform, with 80 per cent coming from the local area.

And though a similar number played last time, the names are bigger now, and a larger range of activities is being held for families.

Organisers are also encouraging shops and artists to take stalls at a reduced rate.

It’s estimated the festival will generate the equivalent of 36 full-time jobs locally, and bring in more than £2m for the economy.

Festival organiser James Ralls said: ‘This year we will concentrate on better acts , more seating and chill-out areas, eliminate queuing and improve the standards of all of our infrastructure

The last music festival held on a grand scale on the seafront was The Heineken Big Top Festival, which was discontinued in the mid-90s.