REVIEW: Festival No.6, Portmeirion

Published date: 21 September 2012 |
Published by: Tomos Hughes
Read more articles by Tomos Hughes


The stunning Central Piazza in Portmeirion village. (Photo by Andrew Whitton) 

Revellers enjoy bubble-blowing in the festivals' main arena. (Photo by Dafydd Glyn Roberts) 

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VISITORS TO Portmeirion’s Festival No.6 will have left with an unique snapshot of Wales imprinted in their minds for good.

The iconic village welcomed over 7,000 people for the inaugural edition of the festival, which promised, “a bespoke banquet of music, arts and culture.”

Festival-goers would agree that the event delivered on all fronts, offering quite literally, something for everyone; from coastal walks on the idyllic estuary, to daytime woodland raves; from poetry readings to popular comedians.

The festival had more than an air of exclusivity, with famous faces from the world of music, comedy and the arts casually mixing among the crowded bars and cafes.

Taking centre stage for the festival was the surrealist mediterraenean architecture that provided the inspiration for cult 1960’s TV series, ‘The Prisoner’.

Spiralling Sicilian-style towers, murals, villas adorning every conceivable colour, were transformed into a daytime play area for those lucky enough to attend this festival.

The transition from day into night was when the festival truly came alive.

The Brythoniad male voice choir proved a major highlight for many, following up a cover of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’, with a rousing rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, - enough to draw a gasp of awe from hundreds of mesmerised onlookers.

As darkness descended, the action, led by a flame-carrying procession, would make the transition to the main festival area, where bespoke food stalls, bustling bars and big- top pavillion tents would provide a more conventional festival feel.

Race Horses were in enchanting form, Primal Scream performed a set of career-defining hits, while New Order glossed over their legendary status with a combination of covers and classics.

The real beauty of the festival was its versatility; it offered a change from the usual period of daytime inactivity offered at festivals - you weren’t simply waiting for the bands start.

You could endlessly explore the village and it’s coastal and wooded surroundings, to help wash away any hangover.

There was more than enough to keep anyone occupied, whether you were more interested in the music or lounging around in Portmeirion’s grandiose central piazza.

Well organised and with a diverse billing of intruiging artists, the only shame was that Number 6 didn’t keep me imprisoned any longer.
 

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