by Keith Sandys
Victorious Festival 2018 had got off to wet start on Friday night. Although things started to dry out on Saturday, Sunday was in danger of being a complete washout.
Sure enough, the British weather hit Southsea and tried it’s hardest to dampen spirits. Yet, the Victorious Festival organisers did well to keep things going. Despite several stages having to close altogether due to safety reasons, along with those being affected by limited power, the show went on regardless.
While having a festival on the seaside is a pretty special location, it is, however, open to the elements. As such even the main stages were suffering, Gomez ended up playing an acoustic stage under a makeshift gazebo and elsewhere stage times had gone out the window.
It was soon obvious many festival goers had decided to stay at home until the last minute. Gomez may have played to fewer people than expected, but the stripped down versions still came across really well on the big stage.
As the water was being swept from the stage, the wind and rain was showing no sign of letting up. It was getting to the point where the plug may have been pulled on the Dub Pistols altogether before they even started.
However, you can rely on Dub Pistols to bring the party to Portsmouth, whatever the weather. The musicians in the band may have had to huddle in a corner at the back of the stage, but that didn’t stop Seanie Tee and Barry Ashworth embracing the elements.
In fact, the pair were lapping it up, Seannie Tee in his waterproofs and umbrella, while Ashworth was getting as wet as the rest of us. The mud may have made it harder to dance, but one thing was certain, Dub Pistols yet again put on a show to remember.
It was soon time to give in and take shelter, which for some meant getting to see impromptu performances by the likes of Bang Bang Romeo play in nearby pubs. For others, it was to head to the Beats and Swing Tent. While local cover bands may have drawn in the crowds on smaller sages, Tuba Libres were putting their own take on familiar tunes. All with the help of a horn section and some rather unnecessary stage costumes.
Next up it was back under the rain clouds and into the mud bath of the Common Stage. The setup for Sleaford Mods is simple, Andrew Fearn provides repetitive electronic beats while Jason Williamson delivers the vocals.
Really, it was all about Williamson and his East Midlands accent. The beats were minimalistic and other than pressing play on a laptop, Fearn was more there as moral support. Visually, however, Williamson is an intriguing character. Part humble disco dancer, part working-class hero with a mouth like a sewer.
The World Music Stage was one arena that had to be rained off. Luckily, however, the Peoples Lounge were on hand to provide a last minute alternative. Simo Lagnawi performed some traditional Moroccan music with his bandmates on percussion, the hypnotic sounds the perfect warm-up for what followed.
While everyone may have been excited about the headliners, it was the Turbans that were being promoted among the smaller stages. Despite the change in performance time and having moved to an even smaller setup, the band soon lived up to the hype.
Although a traditional mix of instruments, this was musical fusion at it’s finest. It also summed up the vibes of the World Village. The Turbans come from all over Europe and beyond, resulting in a combination of Turkish folk and gypsy music, along with other Eastern flavours.
Clearly the biggest act on the Sunday of Victorious Festival 2018, the Prodigy were ready to play their only UK festival date of the year. The weather had cleared up and smoke and lasers engulfed the stage.
Opening with “Breathe” it was clear the Prodigy setlist was going to feature a number of classic dance tunes. That said, there were still a couple of more recent songs thrown in. Pretty much every track had the crowd dancing, with the really big ones spread out nicely throughout the set.
As a live act, the Prodigy have come a long way since the 1992 debut “Experience”. So while that release focussed very much on Liam Howlett as the main man, the Prodigy have gone on to grow into a full band. Keith Flint and Maxim Reality own every inch of the stage, but the live touring members are hardly hidden away.
During the encore, the Prodigy went old school with “No Good (Start the Dance)” and then ended the night with “Take me to the Hospital”. The whole show was superb, making a day out in the rain at Victorious Festival 2018 worth every moment.
As for Victorious Festival 2019, let’s just hope more bands are given tents, or at the very least that sunny Southsea lives up to its name!