Review: Festival Number 6, 2016.

Portmerion is perhaps one of the most unique towns in Britain. Known for being the setting of the iconic 1960’s tv series The Prisoner, the town was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village. There’s something magical about the place which is brilliantly surreal and beautiful at the same time, and it is primarily this that sets Festival Number 6 apart from other festivals of the same size and scale.

Each year, Festival Number 6 takes over the whole town, providing something unique for the mostly affluent and family friendly crowd which craves the kind of cultural mix you would only otherwise find at Glastonbury. The music is of course central to the event, but it isn’t everything. In fact, some of the most memorable moments are found where you’d least expect to find them. A floating dance floor hidden in the woods? An opportunity to go paddle boarding along the coast whilst you watch others dancing on the edge of the estuary. Torchlight processions, hidden vantage points high in the hills and a heated swimming pool…. All unique and joyous aspects to No.6, which create fantastic and unique memories. It’s fair to say that much of the joy of Number 6 comes outside of the main field, which is no bad thing especially when said field gets muddy!

In one corner of the main field lies the Merion Rouge. A tent, which you will probably have figured from its name, featuring diverse burlesque acts. We just happened to pop in whilst the wonderful Caberet Rouge did their thing dressed as nurses, which certainly warmed our cockles late at night. Just across from there, separated only by noodle bars and the like is the House of Rum, a dance tent featuring the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Reviveher and Fleetmac Wood; the latter being a DJ collective and party dedicated to re-edits and originals of Fleetwood Mac.

The main stage itself ticked all the boxes for the more mainstream crowd, with Kaiser Chiefs, Bastille, Noel Gallagher, Super Furry Animals and Blossoms among the biggest names here. That said, one of the more memorable performances came from Aurora, a Norwegian artist who effortlessly delivered a beautiful and memorable set to an adoring audience. Friday night headliners Bastille had the luxury of performing to huge crowd who by this point in the weekend hadn’t experienced any rain, wind or mud and were therefore in perfectly high spirits,
singing along with lead singer Dan who has taken his band to a new level with a headline slot in which he looked totally comfortable and certainly delivered the goods. Interspersed with tracks “from the new album which is out next week”, came the likes of “Things We Lost in the Fire” and “Pompeii” which have helped make Bastille the new Coldplay; this is pop-rock designed for the masses, with pretty much every song delivering a catchy hook and an opportunity to sing
along.

Staying with the main stage, Hot Chip delivered a strong set – although the main
talking point was a dancer in a skimpy outfit, who struggled rather a lot with
her underwear, whilst Sunday night headliner Noel Gallagher didn’t let the crowd
down, performing some Oasis classics including Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back in
Anger. A guest turn from Paul Weller topped things off, performing classic hits
Pretty Green and Town Called Malice.

Elsewhere, the festival provided an eclectic mix of entertainment… from the ever reliable Brythoniaid Male Voice Choir to a Q&A with Irvine Welsh, there’s no arguing that there wasn’t something for everybody here and no amount of rain or mud (there was a LOT of both on the Saturday) could dampen the spirit here.

Festival Number 6, 2017? Be seeing you...