Day #98: Festival #14
This weekend, Music Festival Wizard checks in from our first ever coverage of Wales. The fantastic Festival No. 6 is one of the best in the region, and a fitting capper to the end of the UK summer. Named after the lead character in the classic television show, “The Prisoner”, Festival No. 6 delivers a weekend full of surprises.
Running the Numbers
Festival No 6 Stats:
Dates: September 7-10, 2017
MFW Beer Index: €6.14
Lowest Temperature: 10C (50F)
14th Festival Stop 2015: Amsterdam Woods Festival
14th Festival Stop 2016: Electric Picnic
100 Nights of Summer Stats:
Days on the Road: 99
Countries Visited: 16
Festivals Attended: 14
Festival Days: 44
Festival Days w/Rain: 9
Days Camping: 26
Welcome to the Fairytale
Festival No. 6 takes place in and around the small tourist town of Portmeirion, a fever dream recreation of a typical Italian fishing village. In a summer of wildly unique venues, this architectural wonder of fancy stands out as one of the more surreal stops for 100 Nights of Summer. The communal town center hosts a variety of poets, authors, speakers, and bands, while the surrounding brightly colored buildings feature in depth-talks and movie screenings. At the end of town, festies gather over the scenic (and occasionally rainbow boasting) estuary of the River Dwyryd to dance their way into the night.
The Secret of the Woods
Just outside the village, dozens of hiking trails through the gloomy forest give way to hidden stages, all representing different genres. You may find yourself on a floating platform on a tiny pond, or overlooking an indie rock act from a mysterious vantage point, or wandering past a tiny acoustic set. If you go too far, you may even pop out of the trees into one of the many jaw-dropping overlooks that highlight the dramatic beauty of the Wales countryside.
The Festival Proper
On the other side of the village are the campgrounds and the main festival field. This is where the musical draws like The Flaming Lips, Mogwaii, and Bloc Party, gathered to enchant the crowd. It’s your standard festival field setting with a main stage anchoring one end and a large party tent on the other, but even up here away from the village, you’re still treated to those epic views of the rolling hills around Snowdonia National Park.
When it Rains, Well, You Know the Rest…
It’s been a fairly dry summer for this traveling festie, and while I’ve come to expect a fair bit of rain in my UK adventures, Festival No 6 took it to the next level. Not since the deluges of Electric Castle 2016, have I seen this much moisture wringed out of the sky, with the main stage area transformed into a massive shoe-sucking mudbog. It’s not an uncommon occurrence here – Festival No. 6 saw a similar waterlogged weekend last year, so don’t forget your rain gear if you want to attend.
The (Musical) Highlights
This is one of the few festivals where I really leaned into all the various activities, and found myself transfixed, whether by a photography masterclass, or one my favorite authors, Irvine Welsh shooting the breeze in the town center, there’s really something happening at all hours of the days. The Flaming Lips capped off the weekend with a typical stellar show featuring unicorns, balloons, and confetti. Oh, and Jarvis Cocker showed up for a four hour DJ set underneath a castle.
Not going to lie, your loyal festival reporter has taken a beating over the last few weeks. My general exhaustion combined with the rain and a beautiful sunset smashing laptop incident, has led to a tough time keeping the energy levels high. But just take a look at the photos and the lineup, and tell me you’re not interested. Just make sure to bring your wellies.