This years Victorious Festival began on Friday 25th August with “Madness”. The Castle Stage arena was packed to the rim to see this iconic band – who performed most of the hits from years gone by. Including Mr Apples, which is their new single.
Madness are from Camden Town, London, and formed in 1976. They were one of the most prominent bands of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and are still going and sounding as strong as ever.
The evening was warmed up by other acts such as The Racketeers, Silver Beatles, Sundara Karma and The Charlatans – rounding up the first night of the festival. The many music lovers were not disappointed throughout the rest of the weekend.
On Saturday, the Common Stage proceeded with China Bears, followed by a charismatic local band which I had never heard of before and was very impressed with, called Blackfoot Circle.
Another local artist, Frank Turner, entertained the crowds for 45 minutes. This is someone I had not heard of, to be honest most of the lesser well known bands or artists I have not had the pleasure of hearing about. Perhaps I should put that down to my age or a misspent youth, I not quite sure, however Frank Turner was extremely good.
Whilst my team and I sat in the VIP/Media area having lunch, we were listening to The Bog Rolling Stones (who sounded almost like the Stones). However, I had to have a little laugh because one of the band members was attempting to sound like Mick Jagger when he spoke, he did not pull it off which was rather amusing.
After the quick lunch break we strolled over to the Castle Stage in time to see the end of Will Joseph Cook, it was then decided that I would stay at the Castle Stage for Rita Ora while the rest of the team went back to cover Stereophonics.
The crowds at the Castle Stage were increasing by the minute. Which made me grateful I camped out at the front of the stage, but at times I regretted it because Lady Leshurr came on. All I can say is my age went strongly against me.
What can I say about this artist? Well, she was entertaining, but I am going to criticise a little because at times it looked like she had no sense of health and safety. She was getting a packed crowd to jump four paces to the left, then four paces to the right, this was a little stupid but I suppose that’s the stuff they do! I found it a bit crushing and over-powering, the whole crowd seemed to move forward pinning the front row including myself against the railings. I am a big guy but I felt the metal railings pushing on my ribs. Although this occurrence was displeasing, Lady Leshurr certainly entertained the audience.
British Sea Power and Frightened Rabbit were excellent acts and Band of Skulls took us up to Rita Ora. I hadn’t seen her perform before, yet I was not disappointed with her. She was energetic and played to her audience very well, even though I did not recognise any of her songs, I really enjoyed myself, as did all the crowd. For the money the music lovers paid they certainly got value for the pound, lets not hope ticket prices increase much for next year! We all went home very exhausted and deaf with all the screaming and shouting.
Sunday was soon upon us at the final day of Victorious and once again Portsmouth was bathed with sunshine. I got to the festival later in the afternoon around five fifteen, again I made my way over to the Castle Stage to see Slaves, Franz Ferdinand and Elbow.
I was not as lucky in getting the same place as I did on Saturday, however I managed to get to the front. Although more to the left of the stage, the camera man was also right in my field of view for taking some good photos. Meaning I had to rely on the artists to come over to my side of the stage.
The line up on the Castle Stage in my opinion was not as great as Saturday, on the other hand Raye and KT Tunstall were a great listen. As for Temples, they sounded mediocre but their stage presence and energy to get the crowd moving were some what lack lustre. Only appearing on stage to say “Hello Portsmouth”.
The final act was almost upon us and the crowd stretched from the front of the stage right back to the castle hill, there must have been thousands to see Olly Murs perform.
Everyone counted down from ten to one before Olly Murs appeared out of the darkness with a single spotlight on him, all I could say was “OMG”. My ear drums felt like they were going to explode, I had never experienced such noise in my life.
Fortunately I did recognise a lot of his songs, and the thing I like about him was that he covered genres from the sixties all through to 2017, I even found myself singing along with the crowd rather than taking photos. He is a true entertainer and a better production from the X Factor factory. The Essex boy done good for himself. Olly was on stage for an hour and it was his last gig of his tour, he said he had not played Portsmouth for several years and will not stay away for too long next time. The crowds were going absolutely crazy and I saw a few teenagers being taking away by medical staff, I suppose they got overwhelmed by it all. Olly sure knows how to work an audience!
He slowed things down for a while and sang ‘Dear Darlin’ whilst everyone joined in, including myself as this is my favourite song by him! The hour long show was almost over, but before he ended his energetic performance he had a parting show piece for all his lady fans. He ripped his shirt off and threw it into the crowd. All in all, Olly Murs and Rita Ora owned the Castle Stage at Victorious Festival 2017. What we all want to know now is how are the organisers are going to top this years fantastic event.
Article by Dave Taylor