What’s It Like To Work As A Festival Steward At Victorious?

By Tommy Baird

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I hadn’t worked as a Steward since Blondie and the Australian Pink Floyd headlined Guilfest in 2008. When I received a phone call offering me the job at Victorious, I immediately agreed

I thought it would be better getting paid to be there rather than paying to get in. Just as long as I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to watch the Bands/Artists of my choosing (if any at all) but that wouldn’t matter; a festival is all about the atmosphere. Right?

Did it really matter if I was in a uniform? I knew that wearing a high visibility jacket wouldn’t give me authority to belittle the public, I highly doubt anyone is looking at us like we are above them, but I can’t speak on the behalf of the almost 120,000 people that attended victorious this year.  Surely the one thing that has bought everyone together, was, (in fact is!) the music. Even if one is just desperately trying to get even the littlest bit of work, you still cannot argue with the fact that without the music, there would be no festival; and without the festival, there would be no work. Being a resident of Portsmouth my entire life, I felt at ease with the layout. Familiar as it was, I was reminded of the summers I had spent when much younger. I might even have the chance to see other locals I’ve lost touch with over the years. 

My first task was to make sure no one jumped over a railing that lead to the edge of the water, for the publics’ safety’s sake of course. My position was perfect listening distance to hear a sound-check-off between the Common (main) stage, against the Castle stage. After a few hours into my shift I had a clear view of the sea and had the sun beating down on me. After some shuffling my next task was to stop people gaining free entry. Pedestrians could do this is if they walked along the beach, avoiding the entrance barriers, and then back up using the already blocked of set of stairways we were to keep secure. The second location is where I stayed for almost the entire event. Although there wasn’t a clear view of the common stage, the sound I was hearing from it was sublime; being far louder and clearer than any other part of the festival.

Where Victorious Festival has that family feel to it, we almost had no troublemakers to deal with throughout the event. All apart from a dog walker dropping his trousers to a colleague; fortunately I did not get to witness this as it happened far further up the beach from where I was, and was immediately greeted by police officers. My shift included talking to and helping the festival go-ers, finding out how near or far people have travelled from. Anybody I spotted snapping picture’s, I offered to take the picture for them, giving people an opt-out of the selfie if wanted. 

I had my heart set on seeing Basement Jaxx, but seeing as I was there to do a job I thought I should do that rather than walk off and do my own thing. I am a professional. Instead I had the pleasure of hearing the entire set from Ray Davies. How I let his name slip by me, unaware he had been behind some really inspirational songs, I do not know.

After he belted out some classics, my mood was perfect. Not at all bothered about the weathers encore, (including natures strobe light: lightening). The music had finished for now, but it brings lots of people together as a community. I was completely exhausted but enjoyed a huge feeling of achievement. So the weather could do what it wanted.

Check out Tommy’s brand new tracks on the links below

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