Festival No. 6, Portmeirion, Gwynedd, North Wales

5.00

 

Named after the 'not quite demobbed spy' character portrayed by Patrick McGoohan in the cult sixties TV series The Prisoner and held in and around The Village he could never escape from, Festival No. 6 lived up to expectations with crowd-pleasing sets by über indie acts Spiritualized and Primal Scream, appearances by and some of the brightest up and coming UK talent – Beth Jeans Houghton's red and black polka dot ensemble stood out as much her anti-folk – on the I stage and a dizzying array of art performances – Osadia's irresistible combination of street theatre and, ahem, hairdressing – in a variety of magical settings.

Lovingly designed by the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion formed not just a stunning backdrop to myriad activities but became an integral part of them, its trompe l'oeil features surprising and delighting the 7000+ who attended this inaugural event. The reenactments of iconic moments from the series – The Human Chess game from the Checkmate episode, the Dance Of The Dead procession, the Free For All election parade – organised by the Six of One society punctuated the three days while the Brythoniaid Male Voice Choir sent a nightly shivers down the spine with their stunning rendition of New Order's 'Blue Monday', emphasizing the nautical references befitting the estuary location.

I did indeed walk down to the beach to catch the beguiling madrigals of Stealing Sheep – who even managed to conjure up a rainbow on Saturday afternoon – and the motorik, hypnotic TOY, another Heavenly highlight. The Friday bill in the Alfresco Ballroom cleverly bridged the generation gap with the psych-folk of Meic Stevens and his natural heirs Gruff Rhys and Euros Childs as well as Cate Le Bon, all performing in Welsh.

The Central Piazza audience lounging in deckchairs joined BBC 6music presenter Stuart Maconie's fits of giggles while he interviewed Independent columnist Grace Dent and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey whose partner Emma Jane Unsworth read an hilarious excerpt from The Rogue, her second novel, that drew howls of recognition from the rowdier element.

The organisers also hit a bullseye with the inclusion of three acts whose Mercury nominations were announced last week: Jessie Ware, whose cover of the soul standard 'What You Won't Do For Love' matched the brilliance of her yearning signature song 'Wildest Moments', the twisting and turning Field Music, and Richard Hawley who seemed to be channelling his inner Jim Morrison as he ended his contrasting set with the apposite 'Down In The Woods'.

At times, the transcendental Death In Vegas and DJs like Andy Votel made Festival No. 6 feel like a British answer to Barcelona's Sonar, with the added bonus of the most bijou location of any music event I've ever attended.

By Sunday night, after the afternoon rain cleared, as the reinvigorated New Order – resplendent in their Prisoner blazers [and cape for keyboardist Gillian Gilbert] – added 'I Am Not A Number, I'm A Free Man' samples to their electro tour de force '586', everyone wished Festival No. 6 Many Happy Returns. Be seeing you!

 

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen