In the Pub with: Andy Marsh

February 20, 2018 1:23 PM

The Victorious festival director on the importance of strong line-ups, catering to families, and his favourite festivals

It's crazy to think that, with 79,000 people attending our festival, it is now ranked as one of the country's largest. We're talked about in the same breath as Bestival and Glastonbury.

The festival industry is still very much a business, and so it should be, but I'm always humbled by how the likes of John Giddings and Rob da Bank, who run festivals nearby, are happy to help out and share their knowledge.

The line-ups at Victorious tend to cater for a lot of tastes. There are often legacy acts we're keen to give a boost, like The Lightning Seeds and Dodgy, but, we are also always promoting local talent from the Portsmouth scene.

A real highlight act was Slaves, who played in 2017. There was a lot of buzz about the band, but you're still always apprehensive how they will go down. Luckily they absolutely killed it, and the crowd were singing along and dancing.

We're keen to keep the festival at a low price point. The prices for kids are very low, because as a parent myself, I realise how much these things can add up when you have a whole family to pay for. The event is during the students' holidays, so there is less of a student contingent, but many do stay in the area and attend.

Our pricing strategy is to offer bolt-on packages depending what people want. We made deals with the University of Portsmouth to use their halls of residences for people to stay in, and we have deals for local hotels too. There are value tickets for weekend camping nearby.

After the first year we took over, around five years ago, we started working with Ian Evans, who works in programming for Y Not Festival and Truck festival. He helped us to pool our resources, and he had a good black book of clients to widen our options.

I still think headliners and line-ups are very important for a festival. While there is a portion of people who go for the buzz and aren't fussed who is playing, you only have to look at the buzz on social media after a line-up act is announced to see that it still matters.

Spotify and other streaming sites get a lot of criticism, but I think they are great for exposure. I used to be in bands myself, and I'd have loved to have had that sort of reach.

Working with Broadwick Live has opened my eyes to a lot of great events, and has given me more insight into new models. Visiting Festival No.6, and experiencing the atmosphere there was great. Boardmasters and Kendal Calling are also favourites of mine.

Andy Marsh of Victorious worked in sectors including pubs and bars, focused on Portsmouth's Albert Road, before joining the festival industry where he specialises in artist management.

Tom Hall

Editor