Rave Level 3/5
Family Friendly 4/5
Location : Portmeirion
Size : 15,000
After a never ending 5 hour journey from London which concluded with 2 hours of breathtaking scenery across Snowdonia, we arrived at nightfall. My 4x4 was rammed full with my bell tent, carpet, cusions, duvet, pillows, sound system, rum, vodka, red wine and multiple clothes changes at which point we were told it was a park and ride system. Waves of horror flooded my body. The parking being 7 miles away from the festival entrance. This would be my final and ultimate festival logistics test of the summer and wow it was a big one.
Instead of dragging everything onto the buses provided, we found the biggest taxi imaginable with a jolly local welshman driver who was probably the only thing who prevented me from crying. He got us to the taxi rank but there was still a walk to the camp site which we managed with the 3 trolleys we'd luckily brought and help from a security guy we tipped.
By the time we got set up it was around 10.30pm and we marched into the festival like heroic warriors. We headed to House of Rum to meet some friends, this turned out to be our late night base for the rest of the festival. Homoelectric were playing a set which I would describe as largely disco with a bit of pop, house and techno thrown in.
Saturday was torrential rain until 2/3pm. We hid out in the bell tent before bravely heading out for some food. Disgruntled food trucks were friendly but disappointed that the weather meant they weren't having a very fruitful weekend. I had fresh pasta and an honest burger (why not) and then we headed into Port Merion. This was the most special moment of the weekend. As we left the soggy field by the castle we'd become so accustomed to, we entered the colourful village of Port Meirion which really was quite magical, the sun came out of and as we sauntered down towards the sea I finally realised what this festival was all about.
We headed down towards the pool by the waters edge and enjoyed refreshing cocktails and oysters. Children were splashing around in the pool, people were dancing by the sea to a funky house set. It was all very surreal but spectacular. The colours of all the different buildings and cottages made it feel like some sort of dream world, no I hadn't taken acid. This really was something special. I now got it.
We'd had a tip off to go and check out the 'Tangeld Woods' a hidden stage deep in the woods run by Gottwood. We trecked up a steep hill behind the village passing other woodland stages on the way with an air of desperation in our walk. We hadn't heard any music that had quite hit the spot, this would have to be it. It was. The small stage was set under a group of tangled trees. Jive Talk, Kryward amd Farrer (aka The Gottwood Allstars) were playing a lively feel good set.
At this time the day was ending and everyone was at their most spangled. We joined a group of friends and danced on chopped tree logs feeling wonky and happy. As darkness quickly fell we all firmly linked arms and set back into the village down pitch dark muddy tracks with only the sounds of the Welsh Male Voice Choir singing in the central piazza to guide us back - very surreal. We went from grooving in the woods to sipping a gin in tonic blurry eyed in front of the Brythoniad Choir, pure genuis. Festival no6 really will keep you on your toes.
That night there wasn't really too much to report. The village eventually closes at night and one heads back to the field where the main stage is and dance tents. We trudged from tent to tent, notably Jarvis Cocker played a hugely offensive set in the castle garden. The Bauer and Wilkins sound system so powerful and crystal clear that each dud choice of track resinated to my core. The Late Night Pavillion where Hercules and The Love Affair played a late night set was now too much of a mud bath so we ended up back in the House of Rum which had a proper floor laid down and bopped to some house and disco.
So....we were really unlucky with the weather but walking through that village and dancing in the woods was one of my all time festival highlights. The struggle was real but it was worth it. So please do go, just stay off site or in Boutique don't take your own bell tent for gods sake!! Can't wait for next year!!
Photography: Fanatic/Festival No.6