Festival Number 6 is set in a simply idyllic location and you’d be completely forgiven if you thought you were in Naples rather than North Wales at times. A festival which is in relative infancy compared to some of the more established names on the calendar, the way in which it differentiates itself from the mainstream impresses; balancing out culture, music and arts perfectly.
Portmei rion was put on the map by 60s spy thriller The Prisoner and there are elements of the vintage feel that remain today, the Italian characteristics are surrounded by the glorious mountainous views that make for scenery that compliments the vibe of the festival perfectly. Unfortunately for me and the person I’d gone down with we was only there for the Saturday and doing the two hour journey along the winding Snowdonia roads, I quickly came to a conclusion that this was festival that I needed to be attending every year.
Festival Number 6 contains a number of majestic forests that contain hidden stages such as the floating dance floor and Lost in The Woods stage that could wet the appetite for the biggest dance music fan. The DJs that played this year had as much as an appeal if not more than the bands who headlined the main stage, Bicep have consistently been one of the biggest names on the scene for the best part of two years and to book DJ Harvey is also an impressive feat, the only disappointing part was that they closed this part of the site down at 8pm. An all night rave inside the woods was very much craved once the lights came down inside the main arena.
Taking centre stage on the Saturday night were Everything Everything, Catfish and the Bottle and Belle and Sebastian. I’m the first to admit that I find indie music a bit drab and mundane, hearing the same tones on a guitar and listening to tales of scraps in queues for night clubs is a bit 90s for my liking and don’t get me wrong there are elements of the indie scene that will always be like this, however, I didn’t find this Leeds/Reading attitude with the music on offer here. The music here was tight, emotive whilst having enough about it to work a festival crowd and keep them entertained, even more refreshing was there was not a winner of a TV talent show in site.
The criticism of some major festivals is that apart from the odd silent disco and treehouse rave, after11pm everyone is left to their own devices to run riot in the campsites and set fire to everything in sight. Craig Charles brought his funk and soul extravaganza to one of the outside tents, which helped to reduce the risk of a inebriated 19 year old in a North Face jacket burning his eyebrows off. Playing in a tent entirely dedicated to rum coupled with the fact that he was playing tunes from one of the best eras of music made for an unforgettable end to my time at the festival.
Due to the lower capacity of Festival Number 6, everything is in close proximity to each other and the atmosphere does not suffer because of a lack of numbers, there is a family feel to the festival and without doubt it will get bigger over time as it gets more successful and my hope is that it won’t lost that welcoming feeling.
A mini Glastonbury with a northern feel is the best phrase I can use to fully describe it, If you are yet to make the visit to down to Portmeirion I would highly recommend that you give it a try in 2016.
Review by Joe Alexander
Images courtesy of Jenna Foxton, Scott Salt and Derek Bremner.