The unifying power of music is there for all to see at Victorious
The unifying power of music was certainly profound at Victorious Festival this weekend.
Families gathered, old friends reunited, new friendships were formed and strangers bonded over their love of great music.
The event certainly put Portsmouth firmly on the festival map as tens of thousands of people from around the world packed out the Southsea spectacle.
Top international acts drew strong crowds to the Common Stage and Castle Stage to listen to popular hits and newer material. But the festival’s local roots remained strong as a mass of lower profile and local bands were given a large platform to showcase their talent.
For 21-year-old Jonno Harris from Portsmouth, performing at the festival with his band Eyes To The Skies alongside renowned acts such as Noel Gallagher and Manic Street Preachers was a dream come true.
Shaking his head in disbelief, he said: ‘ It’s just crazy but really cool.
‘I was just warming up the crowds for Noel.’ he laughed.
The biggest buzz this year surrounded last night’s headliners Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and DJ and producer Mark Ronson. But some were left disappointed about the clash of the two big name closing acts.
Superstar Noel and his band certainly soared and roars of applause erupted from the crowd when the former Oasis frontman walked out on stage.
It felt like history repeating itself, more than 20 years after fresh-faced rising star Noel played an Oasis gig at the Wedgewood Rooms in 1994.
Brit Award-winning artist Mark Ronson certainly got the Castle Stage grooving and even the most reserved spectator couldn’t resist tapping their feet and singing along when he performed his number one hit Uptown Funk.
Avid music lover Andy Sweeney travelled down from Norfolk to listen to acts on Saturday and Sunday. He said: I’ve really enjoyed Victorious – it’s been brilliant, just brilliant.
‘It’s the best line-up they’ve had this year – everything about it seemed different and better.’
Saturday evening was taken over by Travis, who thankfully kept the weather dry until Sunday despite singing their classic Why Does It Always Rain On Me, Manic Street Preachers and Radio One DJ Annie Mac.
Two blonde ladies were seen sat on a step, laughing and chatting away. Deep in conversation, they’d be mistaken for best friends or even sisters. In fact, Sarah Thomas from Portchester and Ruth Nielsen from Havant had only just met.
That’s the Victorious effect.
Strangers in the outside world but under the almost- bubble of Victorious, the pair have found common ground over their passion for 90s bands.
For Sarah, the festival evoked a deep sense of nostalgia. She said: ‘I’d seen Manic back in the day and Oasis too so it’s really exciting for me, I feel like I’m reliving my youth and it brings back good memories.’
As the incredible action of the two-day musical spectacle drew to an end, the crowds slowly began to disperse. Boomtown Rats number one single I Don’t Like Mondays suddenly resonated with the mood - a reminder to those who never wanted this weekend to end.
Spectators left behind evidence of their presence and took away glorious and happy memories shared with loved ones that will last a lifetime.
Victorious you have been glorious. Until next year.