Music-lovers arrive for UK’s biggest metropolitan festival

Thousands of music-lovers have arrived for a weekend by the seaside at the UK’s biggest metropolitan festival.

Victorious Festival has opened its gates on Southsea Common in Portsmouth, Hampshire, with acts during the weekend including Madness, Nile Rodgers, Manic Street Preachers, The Streets and Royal Blood.

The event returns after last year’s was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those attending are this year being asked to provide a negative lateral flow test or proof of double vaccination or natural immunity to gain entry.

The requirement prompted ex-Verve singer Richard Ashcroft to pull out last month from the three-day festival.

The festival organisers posted on Twitter: “Following extensive discussions about the measures we have put in place to reduce risk for visitors, artists, and workers at this year’s festival, Richard Ashcroft will no longer perform at the event.”

Ashcroft had previously pulled out of Sheffield’s Tramlines festival saying he would not appear at any event with restrictions.

Sunday night headliner Nile Rodgers, with his band Chic, has written, produced and performed on albums that have sold more than 500 million units, with hits for stars including Michael Jackson, Madonna, David Bowie, Prince, Mick Jagger, Diana Ross, Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams.

Friday night is being headlined by ska-band Madness, famous for hits such as Our House, Baggy Trousers and It Must Be Love.