Reviewed by Karen Bleakley
My husband and I are seasoned festival goers, but we haven’t been to any since having kids. Victorious sounded like the perfect opportunity to try out a family friendly festival as it was close to where we live and offered day tickets so you didn’t have to camp over.
We decided to travel to the venue by public transport as we thought it would be really busy driving in. We caught a bus and ferry over to Portsmouth from Gosport (which was quick, easy and quiet) and joined the line of people waiting to get into the Historic Dockyard. Considering how long the line was it moved really quickly and ten minutes later we were walking down the main walkway of the Historic Dockyard looking at all the stalls. It was a fantastic setting for an urban festival; everything was spread out with different branches that took you to the food stalls, stages, toilets and children’s area.
As we visited with three under fours we spent most of our time in what was known as the kids’ deck. We’d expected to pay extra for things like bouncy castles and rides, but everything was included in the price of the £15 ticket which was a refreshing surprise. There was a playbus, a big wheel, a Punch and Judy show (which was a huge hit with my boys), a plane you could sit in (another big hit), face painting and loads more. Peppa Pig and George made regular appearances too. The only downside was the queues got longer as the day wore on, so it would have been great to have a couple more rides like the big wheel to spread out the people a bit.
There were lots of families there, so unlike other festivals that are dominated by groups of young people drinking, most people here were pushing buggies around and mopping up ice cream just like us.
Our kids weren’t interested in seeing any of the bands which was a shame, but we didn’t feel like we missed out as we had plenty of other things to do as all of the Dockyard attractions were open too. We enjoyed seeing the Warrior and exploring Action Stations, so we’ll have to go back to visit the rest of the Dockyard another time when it’s a bit quieter as some of the queues during the event were much too long to tackle with young children.
In hindsight, I think it would have been better if we’d taken the kids during the day and then returned at night on our own to see some of the bands, but after a full day of chasing after the kids we were all exhausted anyway so I’m not sure we’d have had the energy left for it.
For the price, I’d say it was great value for money. There were plenty of well-known bands playing (Reef, Maximo Park, Charlotte Church) , there was lots to do for the kids and the event was really well organised.
I asked the kids to mark the event out of 10 and they gave it 10. I guess that means if it’s on again next year we’ll be going back! Maybe then we’ll be able to persuade them to watch the bands too.
For more information on the Victorious Festival visit www.victoriousfestival.co.uk