THE organisers of Portsmouth’s premier music festival have unveiled their grand plan for the spectacle to become as big as Glastonbury.
The News can exclusively reveal Victorious bosses are working on introducing camping next year and extending the event over three days in a bid to bring extra millions into the local economy.
This gives people options, to stay in different areas. It would enable us to be up there with the really, really big festivals, like Glastonbury.Victorious Festival director Andy Marsh
Officials are working with organisations including Portsmouth City Council, the University of Portsmouth and the Ministry of Defence to open up sites in the city for people stay in tents.
Visitors would then be taken on shuttle buses to the Southsea Common festival arenas – which the Victorious team say will grow and go on to potentially hold up to 200,000 people a day, similar to the daily capacity at the world-famous Somerset mega attraction Glastonbury.
The major bid includes holding an opening Friday ‘party night’ on the Common, like the Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival, before the main action featuring major stars roars to life over the August bank holiday weekend.
And festival bosses anticipate the benefits to the region would surpass the £10m expected to be brought in on the back of this weekend’s Victorious spectacle, featuring Oasis legend Noel Gallagher, DJ Mark Ronson and Manic Street Preachers. Up to 120,000 music-lovers could pack out the common.
Victorious director Andy Marsh said: ‘This is all about bringing more people to Portsmouth, ensuring they stay and bring even more money into the local economy. It’s another way of letting people see what the city has to offer.
‘It’s exciting to explore that option of offering people the chance to camp; people of all ages. At the moment we can only get a certain number of people into Portsmouth, which could be a reason why there are still some people not coming at the moment.
‘This gives people options, to stay in different areas. It would enable us to be up there with the really, really big festivals, like Glastonbury.
‘We just want to keep growing, by adding a few thousand more to the capacity each year.’
Mr Marsh said the move would work well alongside the opportunity to stay in the region’s hotels – virtually fully booked for this summer’s America’s Cup World Series – and the university is also working on offering up more halls of residence for Victorious spectators to stay.
Victorious co-organiser James Ralls said: ‘I’m hoping we will provide more than a £10m bonus to the local economy this year, and maybe the council will allow us to host a Friday night as well next year to improve it more.
‘We have received great support from the council, and it has paid off, with the event now established and hope it will continue to bring in money to the local community and provide a good perception of Portsmouth to visitors for many years to come.
‘I am very proud of what the team has achieved so far and am looking forward to their ideas for the future.’
Council leader keen to help find suitable sites
THE leader of Portsmouth City Council says she plans to work with Victorious organisers to find suitable sites for festival-goers to camp.
But Tory councillor Donna Jones has stressed that no camping will be available on Southsea Common.
Cllr Jones said: ‘The plans for Victorious to expand, taking in an entire weekend with camping, is a fantastic idea, as a number of the big events like Isle of Wight Festival have a camping facility.
‘We just need to work with organisers to find suitable sites. Camping on the common is not an option, so we are looking at possible sites along the eastern and western corridors of the city and sites off the island.’
She added: ‘Victorious is one of the biggest events that happens in Portsmouth every year, drawing in thousands of people and pumping millions into the local economy.’
Festival director Andy Marsh said the camping experience is not geared towards ‘raucous kids’.
Mr Marsh says his event team want to give everyone of all ages the chance to stay and have a different experience during the occasion.
Mr Marsh said: ‘We want to give everyone the offer, so there would be family areas, it wouldn’t be about providing camping for raucous kids.
‘Victorious is a family festival, it attracts both young and older people.’
Meanwhile, police say talks will take place once a 2017 event plan is drawn up.
A Hampshire Constabulary spokeswoman said: ‘We are aware of the interest in expanding the festival.
‘Formal discussions will take place when the event organisers submit an operating plan as per usual protocol.’