This was our third visit to this festival and Victorious 2022 did not disappoint. The headline acts and range of performances rival those of the more well established festivals. The backdrop of the English Channel made this already great event idyllic. Victorious is simply amazing for families with an inordinate amount of varied activities in the huge kids’ area THAT ARE ALL FREE!!!! It is so good that they are even making it longer for 2023.
Camping for Victorious was offsite at Farlingdon fields, about 30/40 minutes away from the festival on the free shuttle bus. The campsite was completely flat, with loads of space. There were hot showers, although they could have done with a few more as the queues in the morning were very long. The toilets also had long queues in the morning. To be fair, there were probably no fewer than at other festivals. The difference with Victorious was that with the campsite being separate from the festival, it was not so easy to just nip back in the afternoon for a shower when it is quieter.
There were a small number of food vendors in the camp site offering cakes, chips, hot drinks and a few other choices. I would have liked to see a larger selection. In particular I would have hoped for more breakfast options, as most people were opting for campsite food in the morning.
I’d say that the furthest anyone would have had to carry their tents from their cars to pitch would have been no more than ten minutes, with most having a shorter haul.
I was impressed to see that the signs for the campsite took us along a back route. This was clearly in response to issues in previous years, when the morning traffic had backed up, jamming the motorway exit.
We stayed in accessible camping, which had a separate car park right next to it. There was enough room for everyone, but I imagine will have to increase in size, as the festival continues to grow in popularity. There were separate showers and toilets for this field, and even the provision of the Mobiloo truck. This contained an accessible shower and toilet, as well as changing bed with hoist. The Mobiloo man cleaned it after every use, and couldn’t have been more helpful or supportive.
The welfare and first aid tents were for everyone, but conveniently positioned next to the accessible camping zone.
Victorious boasts a stellar line up every year, and Victorious 2022 did not disappoint. My son and I saw headliners Stereophonics, Bastille and Sam Fender. They were all amazing. Victorious had two main stages with acts running at roughly the same time. However, typically the Castle stage hosted more current acts, drawing younger crowds. The Common stage was slightly larger with more established acts on the bill. There were exceptions, but we didn’t find ourselves with many timetable clashes. I also loved watching 1993 Mercury award winners Suede, who were on stage before this year’s prize winner, Sam Fender.
There were several smaller stages featuring many less well known acts. Some stages were dedicated to showcasing unsigned bands and singers.
Victorious are increasing their comedy content and this year’s dazzling afternoon line up was made up of Katherine Ryan, Russell Kane, Rosie Jones, Suzi Ruffell, Joel Dommett and Milton Jones. Before 3pm were more up and coming comedians. In the evening the stage hosted a range of tribute bands. I heard that Rebel Heroes were a perfect homage to the late, great Bowie. The afternoon comedy sets were possibly more popular than the organisers predicted this year, with a massive crowd clamouring outside the tent.
The kids’ stage featured Big TV names – Fireman Sam and Octonauts. They were also both doing meet and greets along with Baby Shark, Go Jetters and Sleeping Beauty. There were also opportunities for children to showcase their own talents on stage. We saw one girl do a stunning rendition of the Abba classic, Dancing Queen.
I was pleased to see the return of the Piano Tree. This doubled as a venue for scheduled sporadic performances throughout the afternoon, with pianos encircling the tree for anyone to play in the gaps between shows.
Every activity in the kids area was free, and there was a ridiculous amount of fun on offer. We saw face painting and braiding; history shows; bouncy castles; crazy golf; colouring tent; bouncing boots; party entertainers. A massive feature was the skate school which is there year around, and offered taster sessions and discos. They also hosted a show of local talent.
Apart from when we were watching bands, my son spent most time in the Game Over tent. Whilst festivals a a wonderful chance to distract from screen time for most of the weekend, he does love gaming! This tent had a wealth of retro arcade machines, such as Space Invaders; Mortal Kombat and Golden Eye. It was hugely popular! He also loved Pompey in the Community’s area which included goal scoring practice and am opportunity to take a photo with their FA Cup replica. (Portsmouth were 2008 cup winners.)
Food and Drink
No food or drink could be brought into the arena, and this was checked with the security bag checks. However there was plenty of choice inside for all diets. a portion of chips was £5 near the main stages or £4 in the kids’ field. A margarita pizza was around a tenner, which is pretty standard for most festivals. The queues for food near the main stages were long in the evenings, so I headed to the outlets in the World Music Area, and managed to get a lovely chick pea tagine in a few minutes. I had been in a rush to get back to my 14 year old who was waiting for Bastille at the top of the hill.
A pint of cider or lager cost £6.50.
Following feedback that there were not enough toilets last year, there were more than enough for Victorious 2022. There were also sanitising stations outside each block.
The premium area offered lovely flushing toilets. Other benefits for this upgrade included a separate space with its own food outlets, bar and seating areas as well as hammocks. Patrons in the premium area could also pay for services such as hair braiding and massage in a string of huts that had much shorter queues than around the rest of the festival.
The main stage also had a separate viewing area available to premium guests.
Accessibility at Victorious 2022
Accessibility was clearly a huge consideration in the planning for Victorious 2022.
Each entrance to the site had an accessible lane. there was also a dedicated accessible drop off point. The car park was free to blue badge holders.
Every toilet block included accessibly facilities. In addition there were Mobiloo units in both the festival arena and the campsite.
Both main stages had accessible viewing platforms. These were an impressive size. However as the +1 carer limit was not always enforced, they did fill up quickly. Guests could obtain a wristband for these areas with proof of disability. The wristbands were sent out before the festival, along with an accessible guide to the festival. They were also available from the accessible accreditation hut just outside the main entrance.
Both platforms featured BSL interpreters. They were always cheery and animated, managing to encapsulate the energy of every song. The comedy stage also had an accessible area. Each of the main acts were joined by an interpreter on stage.
Hearing loops were also available on request.
The garden centre area within the festival was promoted as a quiet space/sensory area. We actually found that due to the location of Victorious, we did not need to access this area. When we needed to escape the crowds, we simply nipped out to the beach or a park. These were literally just outside the main gates.
What Kids Think
This was the only festival that my son asked to go to this year. I know this is largely as he loves watching trains from the campsite. The appeal of the festival itself lies predominantly with the line up. He describes it as , “having bands from my era.” I’m more than happy as there are also plenty from mine. It’s not just the music though. Even at fourteen, there were still plenty of attractions in the kids’ area that appealed to him.
To Sum Up
Victorious 22 was another hit. The location was stunning. I loved watching all the different boats going in and out as we listened to Bastille. The offsite camping meant we got some good downtime, so were thoroughly recharged for each visit to the arena. It also provided an incentive to visit Portsmouth’s famous historic dockyard. I would thoroughly recommend this to families with children of any age, as there really was so much on offer for everyone.