Festival preview: Festival No. 6

Lizzie Wood

Festival No. 6 returns to the Welsh fantasy village of Portmeirion for a second year of live music and performance.

Last September, Portmeirion was transformed into a one-stop shop for music, art and literature as Festival No. 6 opened its doors for the very first time. The pseudo-Mediterranean buildings and lush vegetation of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’ purpose built tourist village provided a surreal backdrop for the bijou festival, and will be enlisted again this year as Festival No. 6 returns in September. With reasonably priced tickets and a strong line-up to boot, Festival No. 6 is on its way to becoming a late summer high on the festival circuit.

Portmeirion provides an apt – and surreal – backdrop for this bijou festival

This year’s performers include Manic Street Preachers, James Blake, Everything Everything and AlunaGeorge, as well as DJs Frankie Knuckles and Daddy G from Massive Attack. But event producers, Ear to the Ground aren’t relying on big names alone to draw in punters. An impressive programme of literature talks livens up the Piazza stage in the centre of the village. Secret gigs and impromptu poetry performances occur in forest glades. Boat rides across the lake, giant chess boards and characters on stilts do it for the kids (and their long-suffering parentals). It’s a line-up that will inevitably be described as “quirky”, much like the peculiar village-on-a-hill that hosts it. With 2013 promising to be a stellar year for festivals in the North West (Kendal Calling and the music and beer festival Cloudspotting are both shifting tickets fast), Festival No. 6 proves it can more than hold its own. And with the inaugural festival gathering up a host of awards and critical acclaim from the national press last year, Portmeirion’s weekend of art and music festivities is becoming a less of a secret already.

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