Review: Festival No.6, the Most Beautiful of Them All

Last September, I tried for the first time No.6, a boutique festival set up in the unique setting of Portmeirion, an Italianate, fairytale-like village situated between sea and mountains in North Wales. And it was just -in one word- amazing, and by far the most magical, fun filled, beautiful and entertaining festival Chic-Londres ever went to, making Wilderness -until then favourite- looking slightly rough in comparison. In brief: a great and varied line up, the most beautiful and magical setting one can imagine, non stop quality entertainment and a friendly crowd, from young families to art buffs to party animals, having the time of their life. Tickets are now on sale for 2015, with a brilliant line up that included Grace Jones, Metronomy, Belle and Sebastian and DJ Mark Ronson at the desk for the late night partying: go for it, you won’t have any regret…

The Setting English festivals have a knack at setting up in the most beautiful surroundings. However, Festival No.6 goes one step further, taking over the entire village of Portmeirion, a whimsical Italianate “folly” built between 1925 and 1975 by the deliciously eccentric architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. Couched in the waters, mountains and forests of North Wales, overlooking sandy beaches and the rolling estuary waters of the Irish sea, its village, town hall, piazza, promenade -all Mediterranean yellows, pinks, blues and greens, and palm trees- have a unique, Mediterranean, magical charm -on the right side of kitsch- that wouldn’t be out of place in a Disney fairytale. On an anecdotical tangent, the village was home of cult TV series The Prisoner, whose hero, “Number 6”, gave his name to the festival.

The music Topping the bill with legendary disco diva Grace Jones and indie pop darlings Belle & Sebastian, Metronomy bring a whole new dimension to No.6’s best line-up to date. Also joining the bill is wunderkind Mark Ronson delivering a huge party DJ set, post-punk indie eccentrics British Sea Power, BBC Sound of 2015 Winners Years & Years and lauded ambient electronic trio Haelos. Said festival director Luke Huxham: “Metronomy strike a great balance with Grace Jones and Belle & Sebastian, it’s the perfect blend of genres and musical textures and more importantly it’s going to make for a fantastic party vibe every single day of the festival. And let’s not forget the fantastic Welsh Male Choir- their rendition of Muse’s Uprising was phenomenal!

The Arts Cultural highlights this year will include a talk with Trainspotting’s director Irvine Welsh and Trigger Happy TV’s comedian Dom Joly, actress Maxine Peake, who recently co-starred in The Theory of Everything,  poetess Kate Tempest, The The lead singerradio DJ Edith Bowman, comedian Simon Day and many may others, as well as a play directed by Kevin Allen.

The Rest There will a mermaid spa, paddle board yoga, sunset meditation, outlaws camps for the kids, amongst plenty of animations- if it’s anything like last year, pretty much non stop fairy-like entertainment and outdoors activities. Gourmets will enjoy a banquets curated by a Michelin-starred chefs, a champagne and oyster bar and prime quality street food stalls. Fun wise, there will be a Mirror Ball Disco Parade led by Grace Jones, plenty of circus, acrobats and dance acts, and plenty of raves in the woods for the naughtiest ones, with three party tents in the main site with top DJs playing until 3m. When it comes to accommodation, Portmeirion offers a wide range of choice, from the usual bring-your-own-tent and glamping, to luxurious rooms in the castle and in the village.

3rd– 6th September 2015, priced from £170 for entrance and camping site (plus booking fee) www.festivalnumber6.com

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