When I reflected on Victorious a week after it had finished last year, the one thing that stood out was the local independent foodies that had been invited to trade there. I think partly because I know most of them well and have seen their journey, it was lovely to see them smiling and showing their skills to a nice crowd. So many people were talking about it and when I asked other bloggers what some of their highlights of the entire 3 days were, they all said seeing their favourite local foodies offering up their best culinary festival food!
Victorious has decided from the success of last year to introduce a scheme called 'Neighbourhood Eats' which aims to promote, support and highlight the incredible array of local eateries and food traders we have here in the city. The idea is to offer a street dedicated to local food traders that will get subsidised fees and help them to grow as well as highlight their artisan abilities of what makes them stand out as a business. This new area will be situated alongside the lively Street Food Way units, these pitches are exclusively available for local, small/independent food eateries and pop-ups and allow local businesses to make the most of the festival trading opportunity on their doorstep. Please note, this area is only available for Portsmouth City Council local authority registered businesses.
Chatting to Siobhan Corte-Real, Head of Concessions at Victorious, she said “As a home-grown team ourselves, supporting our community has always been important – we love our City and feel there's lots to be celebrated! We’ve always included local eateries within the festival, but Neighbourhood Eats is a new area dedicated to not only honour our vibrant food scene but also give these Portsmouth registered businesses subsidised fees so to help them to grow and succeed further. It fills us with joy to hear success stories, such as family business Natty's Jerk – our ‘Neighbourhood Eats Award’ 2022 winner, whose well-deserved loyal following has grown and blossomed from their first trading opportunity in our bustling World Music Village, back in 2018. That’s really special!"
I couldn't agree more and love that an award has been given to Natty's Jerk for all their efforts last year! Natty said “We are a family business and our mission is to inject the joys of Jamaican flavours into people's everyday lives. The push to start our business came after spending an amazing weekend at The Victorious Festival in 2017. We searched high and low for Jerk chicken as we knew it would perfectly round off our festival experience…
On our Sunday at the festival, we obsessively scanned and studied the food stands desperately trying to meet our desires. We were so focused on this we didn’t hear any of the music! Since we stepped foot in that festival we realised it was the place for us and only a few months after starting up the overwhelming urge to make our dream a reality took over, we needed to do it and we could not wait another year. So at midnight in 2018, during a rush of adrenaline, I sent an email to the Victorious trader's team, asking if there was a pitch available at such short notice. Honestly, we expected a “Sorry, you’re too late.” reply and the feeling of ‘At least we tried.’ The reply to our email landed at 9 am the next morning and it was opposite to our expectations. Not only an acceptance, but the team even went a step further, offering some advice as they knew that our business was still so fresh and we had yet to experience the type of popularity that we would find at Victorious.
Trading at Victorious was beyond anything we could have ever imagined and the support provided was amazing. It lit a fire in Natty’s that was at best just sparking and today that fire is roaring! We have so many loyal customers who first met us at Victorious and they fondly share their memories of their first Natty’s. In 2021 we returned and what was most noticeable for us was the support from the whole Victorious team, even down to an individual level, their efforts to smooth out uncertainties and ease us back into the fun weekend of trade meant so much to us. “
One thing I have loved while attending this local festival on my doorstep is the innovation and forward-thinking of the team at Victorious. From introducing the very first blind trail and pushing the boundaries even further, creating a fun experience for people with disabilities to the ever-growing Kids Arena and the new Neighbourhood Eats project, it really does give a sense of pride for our city and what can be achieved when ideas flow and flourish.
The fact that it has been announced that the Victorious festival managed to draw in over £15 million pounds to the local economy and attract over 70 thousand new visitors last year means this is a great achievement, especially considering the enormous impact the pandemic had on the music industry for such a long period of time.
If you would like to be a local trader pushing your food delights to the crowd this year then please contact https://www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/trading-at-victorious/
Tickets are still available and with the fact you can buy day tickets and also spread the cost, it is a great local event to attend. Please see below for more links to the website and socials.