Review: Festival No. 6, Portmeirion

Festival No. 6, Portmeirion
Festival No. 6, Portmeirion

Hurricane conditions and ankle deep mud failed to dampen spirits at Festival No. 6 in Portmeirion, North Wales.

From 14th to 16th September the boutique festival took over the fairytale village famous for being the setting for 1960s TV show The Prisoner.

Festival No. 6, Portmeirion

Festival No. 6, Portmeirion

Thousands of hardy revellers pitched up their tents just a stone’s throw from the coast for an altogether unusual experience.

Superstar acts Manic Street Preachers, My Bloody Valentine and Chic Featuring Nile Rodgers led the line-up alongside indie gods Johnny Marr, Tim Burgess and even Badly Drawn Boy.

Up and coming acts like Sheffield duo Slow Club, Sweet Baboo, Lianne La Havas, Everything Everything and Mercury Prize nominee James Blake charmed and mesmerised their audiences, proving themselves as ‘the ones to watch’.

The festival site itself comprised a scattering of quirky venues and stages in unexpected of places - deep in the woods, inside the town hall and on the sea front.

Festival No. 6, Portmeirion

Festival No. 6, Portmeirion

But it was the Italian inspired open air piazza in the centre of Portmeirion’s gardens, which saw some really spectacular performances.

Legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke clambered onto the colonnade to lead a string of comedy, literary and poetry performances.

And the rousing sounds of Oakley Brass Band and the 60-strong Brythoniaid Male Voice Choir drew massive crowds and brought a lump to the throat.

From real ale and pulled pork sandwiches to a champagne and oyster bar, festival goers sampled what was probably the best festival food in the country, and the most peaceful of campsites.

Festival No. 6 is a complete treat for the senses. Families, friends, festival-goers young and old claimed victory over mud and gales to enjoy a magical musical weekend.

When the weather turned sour and the rain started pouring, we just carried on smiling.

Even on Sunday when a handful of acts were cancelled due to the extreme elements, organisers worked to re-open the main arena and get the party started again.

Those who decided to hop on the next bus home as soon as the heavens opened will kick themselves for prematurely jumping ship.

For Sunday night was a hedonistic riot fuelled by Nile Rodgers and his funk band Chic performing their medley of classic disco hits.

Followed up by a spine tingling homecoming headline slot from Welsh rock royalty the Manic Street Preachers who blasted through their greatest hits with tracks off new album Rewind The Film sprinkled in between.

A welcome surprise was a guest appearance from Sheffield crooner Richard Hawley, whose vocals feature on the first single to be taken from the band’s album.

When frontman James Dean Bradfield hailed the Portmeirion gig as “a dream come true” I couldn’t help thinking the feeling from the audience was mutual.

By Hayley Gallimore