Victorious Festival accused of “negative impact” on tourism trade by Clarence Pier - as festival hits back

Barricades by Clarence Pier. Pic: Supplied
Barricades by Clarence Pier. Pic: Supplied

Those who run Clarence Pier were angered after Clarence Esplanade and Pier Road were closed off on Saturday. It comes as the pier operators say trading levels are “down significantly” due to the three-day music extravaganza that sees 170,000 people flock to the area.

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The organisers of Victorious hit back by saying the festival has a “huge economic boost to the local economy” and does what it can to help business next to Victorious to encourage festival-goers to visit nearby attractions and facilities and allows re-admission. The festival also urged the pier traders to work with them having “not been contacted by Clarence Pier for many years”.

Clarence Pier was described as “rather quiet today (Saturday)” by one local. The attraction site is not the only place that remains open with Blue Reef, The Pyramids Centre, South Parade Pier, Southsea Model Village, the Beach Club, Deep Blue, The Briny, Southsea Beach Cafe and the Gaiety Bar and more all still open. Meanwhile, D-Day Museum and Southsea Castle are both part of Victorious.

Clarence Pier on Saturday 26 August during Victorious Festival (Photo: kelly brown)
Clarence Pier on Saturday 26 August during Victorious Festival (Photo: kelly brown)

Speaking of their frustrations, a spokesperson for Clarence Pier said: “We would like to highlight the impact that holding the Victorious Festival has had on the seaside resort of Southsea’s economy. This event is held over what is nationally the last meaningful seasonal trading period before the long winter shut down for many seaside businesses.

“It not only shuts down the resort over a Bank Holiday weekend but has a negative impact on the resort's trade in the weeks leading up to the event and beyond, due to Southsea Common’s closure.

“We believe the negative impact that this event has should also be included within Victorious’ report, which highlights only the positives, of which we recognise there are many for city and its people.”

The statement continued: “It has a huge impact on revenue streams, with trading levels being down significantly. We believe there is more that both city council and the event organisers can do to mitigate the loss of revenue to the seafront's economy.

“We believe that it is totally unnecessary to close off and barricade the Esplanade. This could quite easily remain open for all, with suitable pedestrian crossings in place for the 2024 festival.

“Road closed signage that has been placed in and around Pier Road is totally unnecessary and the barriers erected in front of year-round businesses are a deterrent.

“We all employ local people all year round and all contribute to the success of the local economy, but unfortunately our considerations are being ignored by both Victorious organisers and Portsmouth City Council.

“We believe that the seafront can and should be opened alongside the Victorious Festival.”

A spokesperson for Victorious Festival, responding to the comments, said: “We try our best to help all local businesses, and providing a huge economic boost to the local economy each year is something we're extremely passionate and proud of.

“We work well with many of the businesses close to the event site, and encourage everyone to make the most out of the festival weekend whether that be bringing their business into the site as a trader, or offering festival-goers enticing incentives to attract customers outside of the site. We also offer a re-admission policy so that festival-goers can come and go to and from the festival and experience the local area.

“Furthermore, we are one of the only UK festivals that works very hard to keep the site open to the public during the majority of the build.

“We haven't been contacted by Clarence Pier directly for many years. Had contact been made we could have worked to address some of their concerns. In the past, we have worked with them on voucher schemes for example.”