Festival Number 6, preview: A bespoke beauty

Emma Nuttall

We preview Festival No.6 – an award-winning, bespoke festival, with a stunning line-up in a beautiful setting.

Step into Portmeirion’s sleepy cobbled streets, Italianate piazza, sandy shorelines and pastel-coloured buildings as it makes its annual transformation to play host from 1-4 September to the 10,000 strong boutique Festival No.6. Now in it’s fifth year, Festival No.6 was a risky upstart in the already saturated boutique festival market; it’s done well to not just only afloat but to gain a reputation as one of the most imaginative summer season events – it’s even won some awards along the way.

As you’d expect from any self-respecting boutique festival, a truly eclectic line-up graces the festival posters. Heading up the bill are Bastille, set to kick off the show on Thursday night with their upbeat blend of indie-beats. Hot Chip bring their electro-pop party vibe for a Saturday night dance-off and on Sunday night Noel Gallagher’s new band High Flying Birds play some of the most iconic tunes of the last thirty years as the sun goes down, guaranteeing a nostalgic sway as the festival draws to a close.

A truly eclectic line-up graces the festival posters

A special mention also goes to the newly commissioned composer-in-residence Joe Duddell who, alongside Manchester Camerata Chamber Orchestra, will perform David Bowie Reimagined: a set of newly arranged songs from David Bowies iconic career, with a special guest vocalist on each track. The festival has also announced the line-up for its Lost in the Woods stage; this beautiful platform (you guessed it) up in the woods behind Portmeirion is sponsored by PRS for Music, which has also slotted talent including avant-garde jazz experimentalists Melt Yourself Down, dreamy Brighton popsters Fickle Friends, and dance-rock fusionists Pumarosa (all of whom have been supported by the PRS for Music Foundation) into the programme between noon and 3pm daily.

There’s loads more lined up here, but we also had to give a nod to our friends at Hey! Manchester, who step to the plate on the Saturday with alt-rockers Wave Pictures heading the bill supported by garage veterans The Lovely Eggs, the folk-rock Trembling Bells, singer-songwriter Laura J. Martin and the feted Mother.

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However, music is only part of the Festival No.6 package. The organisers have thrown some more left field entertainment into the mix, from Q&As to film screenings, classes, walks, dinners, parades and craft sessions. poetry, literary readings, political debates, brass bands and all kinds of arts and crafts, and created a celebration of everything artistic and expressive.

You can forget your standard, watered down, warm festival lager and soggy chips too; everything has a touch of luxury here. The most downmarket meal you’re likely to find will be a pint of proper craft ale and a pulled pork ciabatta. Diners are spoiled for choice at The Portmeirion Hotel and Castell Brasserie, or alternatively you can join the foodie showstopper: a long table banquet at Dinner At Clough’s, devised and cooked especially for you this year by chef and food writer Gizzi Erskine, Michelin star Head Chef of Bubbledogs and Kitchen Table James Knappett and Michelin star Aiden Byrne of Manchester House. Just be sure to pack your wellies – and check out the full daily line-ups here.

Culture Guides

Cinema

Cinemas might be closed but independent venues and distributors need any help they can get. We look at some films you can stream and places to donate.

Phoebe Davies: Points of Rupture at Site Gallery in Sheffield

Exhibitions

Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

The elves and the shoemaker. Two green puppets with a male and female actor either side of them.

Families

Need some inspiration for fun and creative family days out? Look no further than our top picks for families across Manchester and the north.

Carcanet exhibition: Carcanet poets Michael Schmidt and Michael Symmons Roberts.

Literature

News of books just out and books worth revisiting, even if you can’t get to the events yourself. Plus a fabulous new exhibition about independent publisher Carcanet, on for the next six months…

Music

Discover the best live music coming up in Manchester and the north this spring and, dare we say it, summer!

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

Bringing opera, dance, fierce experimental performance and new writing, there’s much to enjoy in our guide to the best theatre in Manchester and the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

It’s time to find the best restaurants for the weeks ahead. Here’s our guide to the best Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Expect thrills, informative discussion, politically charged tours and wobbly towns in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.

Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.

Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.

Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.