On Friday, August 27th 2021, Baby Panna hosted The People’s Lounge stage at Victorious Festival in Portsmouth. Panna’s curated lineup brought names from the notorious Dockem to the neo-soulful Madison to the stage, and fought through some challenges to deliver a wholesome, funky, and engaging evening of awesome live music.
Upon entry to Victorious Festival, one may note that the World Music Village where The People’s Lounge is situated stands quite far from the main stage. This was fortunate, though, as music playing from various bars and tents closer to the main stage - such as the Strongbow Bar - was drowned out by the noise of the main stage, sounds clashing. From The People’s Lounge the main stage could not be heard, thankfully. Panna’s event was due to start at 8pm but, with all acts running around half an hour behind, it didn’t start until later on.
Panna took the stage at 8pm nonetheless as part of The People’s Lounge House Band + Guests act, which was preluded by a notable 40-minute performance from Daisy Vorakhanh. Panna, Vorakhanh, Madison, Apps and Lebbs of The Prospects, and Dark Star Graver all joined The People’s Lounge House Band for a jivey impromptu freestyle session where each vocalist took turns to go off on a bed anchored by Mac Miller’s What’s The Use bassline played by Matt Wilson, as well as some killer saxophone play from musicians Gary Plumley and Rich Muscat. The group also performed a rendition of Roy Ayers' Everybody Loves The Sunshine (video, below) which included a WTF verse from Genco - who performed alongside The Prospects on the day - where he rapped about eating ass and Halifax bank.
The host Panna himself was the first solo act to take the stage, the House Band still providing live instrumentals for Panna to spit over. Soon after welcoming Mads up to the stage for her vocals on a hook, Panna gave way to Stunner B who entered the stage wearing shades with sparkly rims and a tee that read “STUNNER” on the reverse. Where much of the acts earlier on in the day were relaxed, acoustic performances, the chilled vibe had led to most spectators sitting down. However, Panna’s so-called “hip hop takeover” changed all that. It’s hard to say at what point the vibe changed, but by the time R&B singer Nnaomi took the stage the audience had grown into a large crowd of people with the front row’s toes practically touching the speakers.
Nnaomi came out in a sleeveless black top, black track pants and white AF1s, and rocked the crowd with her original track Partys Over. Dockem followed in a red tracksuit, trucker cap and J1 hi’s, and fought through feedback to get the crowd moving to his afrobeat riddims. Dark Star Graver took over next and blessed the crowd with some unreleased material, shouting out the entire Portsmouth creative scene while he was at it. DSG rocked an all white fit, Dark Star tee and rose-tinted shades and interacted with the audience in style.
The rear end of the show was mostly dominated by afrobeats: Santana Black Diamond rocked the crowd before Kidcrayy brought some poise and energy to The People’s Lounge. Madison flexed the long braids that reach to her reconstructed jeans one last time before The Prospects dropped an emceeing masterclass on the crowd, which was starting to thin out as the night got late. S O Simple the Afropean King spun some afrobeats bangers to close out the night, and if you moved quickly enough you were able to catch the last few minutes of Falliey on the neighbouring World Music Stage.
Hosting The People’s Lounge at Victorious Festival required a lot of quick thinking, decision making, and on-the-spot problem solving from Panna - from MBA unfortunately having to drop out of the lineup due to illness, to battling feedback on one of the mics for the first portion of the show, to rearranging set times and dealing with everything rolling 30 minutes behind at no fault of his own. Nonetheless, the man making ‘it’ happen in the Portsmouth scene right now did well to keep everything orchestrated and running at least somewhat smoothly! There was a great atmosphere, even better music, and a supportive crowd who got behind the talented artists taking turns on the mic.
Highlights of the night: Lebbs of The Prospects’ vocal versatility; an impromptu funk jam from The People’s Lounge House Band with half the Portsmouth creative scene.
Lowlight of the night: missing Daisy Vorakhanh’s early set while stuck in a 40-minute queue for beer because of the 15-20 tills at the bar, only 2 were taking card payments.
Beware - despite the screens quoting “pay by card, queue less, enjoy more of the action” - the best course of action at Victorious Festival is to pay by cash. If you are attending next year, be sure to bring some with you because the card machines on-site charge £2.99 for cash withdrawals. By the end of the night, the bar(s) were taking cash payments only.
Credit goes to Panna for orchestrating the line-up, as much of the night was a showcase for some real talent. As far as the event put on at The People’s Lounge, the evening was practically flawless.