Summer ends with a festival
The sun glitters over the sea, the music plays and we enter the fray once again. Victorious festival brings a buoyant conclusion to the Summer season in Portsmouth this year.
Working hard behind the scenes for a Victorious weekend
The Festival empties out and hordes of revellers depart peaceably to their short term rentals. It is undoubtedly our 'big weekend'. Just a few of my own observations from both inside and outside the gates of Victorious this year:
The Common was kept notably cleaner than in previous years, the bars were quieter and the guests more chilled out, this was reflected in their treatment of guest accommodation. This bank holiday Monday all guests left on time and there were no 'party houses' to clear up. This is in contrast to the outpouring of social energy that we saw after lockdown when the behaviour of guests was a bit more adventurous.
Price of accommodation has also mellowed, down about 25% from the peak 2 years ago. This represents a return to a more normal level, still eye-watering prices, by Portsmouth standards. An average uplift of 400% compared to the summer base rate, for the 3 nights of the festival brings a welcome boost to the landlords of these places. Still worthwhile for the effort of setting up a short term rental just for this weekend alone. The equivalent of a month's rent or more just for these 3 nights. The enormous boost to the local economy (an estimated £15M) and positive impact on the national profile of Portsmouth is huge.
Despite the usual grumbling of residents on facebook, the traffic management this year was a huge improvement on previous years. The festival has banished all parking (other than disabled spaces) to a park and ride at Lakeside, with regular buses ferrying to and fro. There was pressure from guests to provide multiple additional permits for the central Southsea zones. I declined these as I knew that finding a space would be an extremely limiting factor, only leading to complaints, as the guests would circle for hours with no space available in Central Southsea. The decrease in traffic was a godsend for us, meaning that we could continue unhindered for those mid-weekend changeovers. For the first time in years the City seemed to function around the festival, instead of being in a gridlocked lockdown of its own.
Just my opinion but I felt that Victorious was louder this year than previously, what had been a steady thrum at my own house, in previous years, had become a heftier beat with melodies clearly audible. Perhaps it was a change in wind direction, but I think that the sound systems are larger than before.
Our systems and planning had the weekend running like clockwork with no vehicles required but there is always that one guest….Thursday pm I get an email. The booking is for 3 days for 6 guests. The call requests 6 sets of parking permits (declined) and, oh, would we mind changing the sheets each day as it is a Company booking with a change of staff each day? Cue conjuring 12 sets of sheets, towels and daily cleaners out of thin air on a bank holiday with no notice. Some things never change!