Review: Festival No.6 delivers an unforgettable weekend.
When they told us Festival No.6 is a festival like no other, we thought we’d heard it all before – but nothing could have prepared us for the incredible weekend we’ve just experienced in Portmeirion.
We arrived on Thursday evening and could not believe how stunning the place is. It genuinely felt like we had been transported to a Disney style town, overseas on the Italian Riverera. There’s nothing quite like it and only our images below can give you a real idea of what it’s like. Having pitched our tent, we broke ourselves in gently with some rum, champagne and vodka… and then headed back down to the picturesque town centre where we enjoyed more champagne and a selection of beers, at the various pop-up bars and in the main hotel bar.
We knew early on that FN6 had a special vibe and we could see that a certain kind of crowd was starting to build. By that, we mean an unusual kind of festival crowd – one that’s here for the music, the arts, the magic and not just to get ridiculously drunk and lairy. This is not your normal festival.
I can’t remember much else of what happened on Thursday evening, other than us making friends with just about any steward or bar person we came in contact with, and finishing the night on a couple of pies. Yes!
Friday morning and we were good to go. Shorts, t-shirts and sunnies at the ready, the sun was out and we were raring to go. It quickly transpired that we’d been a little over ambitious with our dress code, it was flippin’ cold but we didn’t really care because we were a) too excited and b) completely hungover. By lunchtime we felt a bit more normal and we headed down to the stunning promenade, ready for a banquet. Great food and a lush G&T did a good job of making us feel more normal, but I won’t lie, it took two fingers down the throat to get us back on the right planet.
It was time to see some music. We checked out Slow Club who were performing on the main stage and did an awesome job. This duo were made for this festival.
Later, we found ourselves up high into woods, sat amongst the leaves watching Badly Drawn Boy. “F*ck Glastonbury!” he said, declaring his love for FN6. BDB performed his set in a casual mood, stopping half way through songs “that was a perfect middle eight I’m going to play it again a few times before I continue” he said, before doing just that. He also forgot the words two one or two songs but didn’t seem to care and to be fair, nor did the audience before him.
By now it was early evening and we were still feeling the effects of the night before but it didn’t take long for our spirits to be raised (or indeed, for us to start drinking more spirits) and so before we knew it, we were dancing to Mark Ronson’s brilliant set on the main stage. Mark seemed to be loving it and told the crowd he was having the best birthday ever. Thanks for inviting us to the party Mark, it was sick!
Straight after Mark Ronson came Metronomy. I’m not going to lie, I’d genuinely never heard of these guys before this weekend and knew nothing of their music. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to think, but their entire set was slick from start to finish and it sounded amazing. It turns out this was a special gig for them, with lead singer Joseph Mount announcing that this was to be their last gig “for quite a while”. Well, sad as that may be, at least they went out with a bang.
Next, to the dance tent for a nice set from Crazy P complete with some rather special dancing which topped the evening off nicely. I have no memory of what happened after that.
Saturday, the sun was out again and this time the weather was hot, our heads weren’t too bad and we were ready to party. And my god did we party. Up in the woods we came across the fantastic floating dancefloor. We were among the lucky ones who got on to the dance floor before the queue got too big and the vibes were unreal. Beers, beauties, sunshine, a floating dance floor and sick tunes. Talk about loving life, we didn’t want to get off (but we did because we needed more beers and a p*ss).
…But we did, and we ventured further up into the woods were we found a secluded spot with an old bench and incredible views across the bay. This could only ever happen at FN6 and we soaked it up good and proper.
After a rest, we went back down to the main plaza and after wishing Mark Ronson a happy a birthday (yes, he was still here the next day, loving life) we watched the first few minutes of an interview with Steve Coogan alongside the massive crowd who had come to see him. Again, the setting for this was unreal and he went down a storm.
We caught our viewing off short though to go and watch James Bay perform on the main stage, and he did not disappoint. Whilst watching James, we bumped into Dan off of Bastille was here not to perform a secret set, but because he wanted to be. “This is my favourite festival” he told us. “I want to perform here, this is immense” before telling us that he was heading back into the studio this week to begin working on the next Bastille album but that he had “no clue” about when it would be released. Let’s just hope it’s around next summer, so you can get on that stage mate.
After James Bay came Catfish and the Bottlemen who equally deserve to be headlining next year. They smashed it, belting out their tunes to an eclectic and usual audience for them, but one that couldn’t get enough of it.
Our memories of what happened next are long gone, we definitely experienced more music and we definitely had a great time but that’s about as much as we can recall.
On to Sunday and highlights included 808 State, James Morrison, Gaz Coombes and of course the eclectic Grace Jones who was everything you’d expect her to be.
Alas, it was then time for our tents to go back in the bags, our wellies to come off, and our car to be found (eventually) as Festival Number 6 2015 came to a close. Words can barely express how special a place Portmeirion is and how incredible this festival experience is. There really is nothing else like it.
Festival No. 6 2016? We’ll be seeing you…