After visiting Victorious Festival with kids for the last couple of years, I’ve put together a few tips to help you plan your family festival experience.
With Victorious 2019 done and dusted, tickets for Victorious Festival 2020 are already on sale! So if you’re thinking of taking the kids along to this popular family festival in Hampshire, I hope you find this post useful…
Ten tips for visiting Victorious Festival with kids
1. Arrive early
When the Victorious Festival gates first open in the morning, the site is a lot calmer and quieter than a little later on when the crowds start arriving for the main acts. There’s so much open space for the kids to run around, but there are also things going on in the Kids’ Arena right from the beginning of the day so there’s not much chance of them getting bored! There’s plenty to keep the kids active and engaged, from football skills and obstacle courses, to Jedi training! Early morning is an ideal time to join in with arts and crafts or have a go on the retro gaming consoles, while you’re not fighting for a seat. It’s also a good chance to catch a show or browse the market stalls, without all the hustle and bustle of the afternoon.
2. Pre-book car parking
If you’re local and can travel to Victorious without a car, great. If you need to drive, it’s a really good idea to book on-site parking in advance. This saves the stress of finding a parking space on the day and also saves tired little legs from having even further to walk at the end of a long day. Make a mental note of whereabouts you’ve parked in relation to the buildings/landmarks surrounding the car park. With no numbered sections it can be really difficult to locate your car once the rest of the car park has filled up around you!
3. Stay hydrated
You can take along an empty reusable water bottle to Victorious Festival and there are plenty of free drinking water refill stations around the site. You can also purchase a reusable slushie bottle from various stands and go back to get them refilled. This can end up costing a small fortune, but on a really hot day there’s nothing like an icy cold slushie for cooling the little people down.
4. Plan ahead
The Victorious Festival site is huge – and must feel even bigger when you’re small, so it’s really helpful to have an idea of where you want to be and when, rather than wondering around in circles trying to catch all your favourite acts. Take a look at the Victorious website a few days before the festival, as all the timings are announced ahead of the event, and make a note of any acts you don’t want to miss. Alternatively you can buy a programme on the day, which is conveniently attached to a lanyard, making it (almost) impossible to lose. Give yourselves plenty of time to get to the various stages as the kids are bound to find other things to see and do along the way and you wouldn’t want to almost miss a character meet and greet while something else is going on in the background (…oops!)
5. Stick to your budget
Work out your budget for the day and stick to it. If you’re worried about spending too much money at Victorious Festival, take some spending money and avoid reaching for the card unless absolutely necessary. Have a budget for food and drinks as you can’t take any in with you (with the exception of baby food) and this can be costly on-site. There are usually a few sweet treats being promoted and handed out around the site, so it’s worth making a beeline for these to save a few pennies on pudding! The seafront location means you can easily pop out to the local shops or restaurants to grab a bite to eat if you’re on a tight budget or just want to take some time out from the hustle and bustle. Alternatively, if you’re parking on site, you could pop a cool bag of food in the car and head out for a picnic to save some money.
6. Eat ‘off peak’
Having lunch on-site? If you don’t mind eating a little earlier or later than the normal lunchtime period, you’re more likely to avoid huge queues at the food stands and be able to find seating easily. There’s a wide range of food and drink available, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble with fussy eaters (I’m speaking from experience – we even managed to find one or two things the mega picky 8 year old would eat!)
7. Prepare for all weather
Invest in pac-a-macs or ponchos to pop in your bag, just in case. Victorious 2019 was a scorcher, but 2018 was a little bit soggy! Damp children + an all-day festival = uncomfortable and unhappy. Kids generally don’t care if it’s wet outdoors, just stick a poncho on them and they’ll happily carry on partying in the rain! It goes without saying, but make sure you also remember the suncream! Have a change of clothes handy too, as the kids are bound to make a beeline for the splash pool or the water fountains outside Southsea Castle.
8. Take time out
Lots of kids will have the time of their lives at Victorious, revelling in the festival atmosphere, while others might need to take time out from all the craziness now and again. There are quieter areas of the Victorious site where you wouldn’t think you were in the middle of a festival. Head over the top of the grassy banks surrounding the Castle Stage and take in the stunning sea views, or visit one of the permanent seafront attractions within the site, such as the Waterfront Garden Centre and enjoy watching the birds, butterflies and bees carrying on with their usual business.
9. Approach with caution
Bear in mind not everything the kids see and hear will be ‘family friendly’. Victorious is among the most family-orientated festivals around, but it is still primarily a music festival and you will inevitably encounter a bit of ‘grown up’ language and banter from both on and off the stage. If you have young children you might want to avoid some of the music acts, even the mid-afternoon ones. I decided to re-live my youth with a bit of Fun Lovin’ Criminals and took my teen along (she was one of many children in the crowd) and I’d forgotten quite how many m***** ******g swear words to expect. They were bleeping brilliant though!
10. Consider going premium
If you can manage to add a premium upgrade to your ticket, it really does make the festival experience a little easier for families. There’s a spacious VIP area with undercover seating and hammocks, a viewing platform for the main stage, plus ‘posh’ portaloos, a range of food vendors and bar, as well as a separate entrance gate – all with much shorter queues than the rest of the site. The premium area is also much quieter and less crowded than other areas, making it an ideal spot to head back to when you need to relax and recharge.
Victorious Festival returns to Southsea from 28-30 August 2020 – and we can’t wait!
SO Mum x