Festival No.6 returned for its sixth year last weekend with a packed music, arts and cultural feast in the picturesque Welsh village of Portmeirion.
It’s a festival that brings something refreshing to the festival scene with the unique surroundings of the village, Castell Park and Gardens, seafront and woodlands, there’s something to discover around every turn.
The Castell Gardens could be described as the most typical part of the festival, home to the main stage and The Grand Pavillion where most of the biggest artists of the weekend were playing. From here you wander through to find the village and discover every nook and cranny that it has to offer and it’s also easy to sit back and enjoy the surroundings on the nearest bench and catch a breather. There’s plenty more to discover down at the seafront and the most fun we had was literally getting lost in the woods (well, after all there is a Lost In The Woods stage!).
Within the depths of the woodland the Virgin Trains Village Limits floating stage is another standout highlight of the festival, complete with disco ball above of course! The whole festival is like a wonderland.
Firstly, let’s talk music as this would obviously be the focal point of any music festival and No.6 doesn’t disappoint. The approach is to fill the bill with solid acts who are slightly off the mainstream route with the likes of wordsmith Kate Tempest who headlined the Grand Pavilion stage on Saturday Night. Tempest’s performance engaged the crowd with thought provoking content and she had the festival crowd captivated with tracks from her new album Let Them Eat Chaos.
Other stand out performances come from Rag’n’Bone Man, with soulful, powerful, vocals and humble stage presence he was a crowd favourite and rightly so. The Cribs provided a energetic crowd with some of their best loved tracks for one of the liveliest sets of the weekend.
Folk singer Nick Mulvey opened Sunday’s main stage with tracks from his new album which was released over the festival weekend as well as performed tracks from his debut album including Fever To The Form. Mulvey feels very much like a Festival No6 artist and the crowd clearly appreciated his chilled out afternoon set.
Arguably one of the best sets of the weekend and one of our personal favourites, Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon draws a huge crowd into and spilling out of the Grand Pavilion stage. The set is a well thought out pop experiment with the likes of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name Of colliding with Destiny’s Child Bootylicious. It shouldn’t work, but it really does.
Headliners Mogwaii, Bloc Party and The Flaming Lips were all incredibly special in three very different ways. Mogwai’s vast cinematic sound felt right at home with the scenic mountain views on offer behind the main stage. Bloc Party brought so much energy to their show, the audience were more than happy to match the energy of the band and with The Flaming Lips this certainly continued into the finale of the festival. The band who are well known for their eccentric live shows had everything from an inflatable robot and a rideable unicorn.
The festival also has an extensive arts and culture line up, you can find anything from workshops on how to play the ukulele, yoga classes, hip hop karaoke and a live re-score of Moomins, which set it apart from most other experiences during festival season.
We also saw novelist Irvine Welsh during a live Q&A and book reading and headed to the The Gatehouse stage to check out comedians including the brilliant Lolly Adefobe and Brennan Reece. Over the three days we probably seen an equal split of music and alternative events which is a testament of just how diverse and accomplished the festival is.
Festival No.6 for us was something to tick off our Bucket List and is certainly a festival we will be returning to now that we have fallen hard in love with this pretty Welsh village.
For more information about the festival visit http://festivalnumber6.com