A visit to Portmeirion is a bit trippy at any time of year. An exquisite Italianate coastal village is the last thing you’d expect to find on this forest-fringed inlet, with the mountains of Snowdonia as a backdrop. It made a suitably surreal setting for the cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner, and now it’s the barking mad location for Festival No.6, a long, lost September weekend of music, arts, culture and comedy. It bills itself, quite accurately, as ‘A festival unlike any other, in a place like no other.’
So what makes No.6 so different?
The location gives it a head start, obviously. When you walk into any festival, you kind of suspend reality and step into a little sovereign state, with its own laws of nature. And because Portmeirion is so jaw-droppingly, strangely beautiful, its otherworldly character seeps into the whole festival experience.
The main stage is the fantasy village itself. The sea, mountains and forests are the perimeter fences. The village, quay and woods become inspiring venues, hosting everything from intimate performances from iconic bands to amazing installations, surreal street theatre, pop-up parties, and impromptu interactive happenings. Honestly, it’s like walking around a fairy tale (one that has artisan ale on tap).
What kind of music can I expect?
The unexpected, basically. They’ve curated a line-up that’s every bit as eccentric (and tasteful) as the surroundings, with iconic artists alongside the best new talent and a stunning DJ line-up. Previous headliners have included New Order and Primal Scream, while in 2017 Mogwai, Bloc Party and The Flaming Lips rocked Stage No. 6.
Any other types of performance?
The arts & culture offering is equally eclectic, with a hand-picked selection of authors, poets, actors, filmmakers and artists.
Anything else on the menu?
Glad you asked. They’ve ousted the standard festival lager-and-burger in favour of proper real ale, multinational street food, and quality food stalls, with particular emphasis on local and organic produce. And if you feel you deserve it, drop into the pop-up champagne and oyster bar in the Portmeirion gardens.
The choice of places to kip is just as varied: luxury yurts, camper van pitches, castle suites, cottages in the village - or just bring your own tent. See you in September.