I was so incredibly honoured to be invited to Festival No6’s final year at Portmeirion, in the heart of Wales this past weekend. I crept on to the muddied field in my rose printed wellies which had taken a battering of rain the night before, so you could only imagine the slodging and splodging sounds every time I tried to step forward a few inches towards the press gate.
After receiving my wristbands, I boarded the shuttle bus and headed to the festival, where I jumped off the step like some giddy 11-year-old, off to high school for the first time. With an idiotic gleaming smile on my face, I pulled at the straps on my rucksack and headed up to the village.
Although the weather didn’t initially start on the brightest note, the buildings more than made up for it. The Portmeirion village was built in two phases, first in 1925 to 1939 and second, in 1954 to 1976 by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the style of an Italian village, full of beautiful details and colour. Originally called Aber Ia, Portmeirion felt a warmer, truer name for Clough in relation to the village being inspired by his love for Portofino, a village in Italy.
Now home to Festival No6, Portmeirion has expanded even further as a place of beauty, inviting families and groups of friends to experience a boutique festival like no other. It hosted chic shacks and tents for local businesses to provide festival-goers with vegan, traditional beef, sweet treats, a Hendricks gin and wine bar, and real ale tents as well as foods of the world.
The festival featured a huge circus tent called ‘The Grand Pavilion’, which offered a stage for artists to perform to an audience of over 1000 people, with large white balloons dangling above. Although they were all amazing, two bands, in particular were awesome for me, and they were Pale Honey and Goat Girl.
Pale Honey, who are made up of Nelly Daltrey and Tuva Lodmark, was formed after meeting at school.
The duo described as a minimalist rock band originated from Gothenburg, Sweden. With over 600,000 streams, Pale Honey, who released their latest album ‘Devotion’ in 2017, are about to head out on their European tour after their appearance at Festival No6 this past weekend.
The band, who played a full set to a jam-packed tent excited their audience with Nirvana-esque vibes with songs like, ”lay all your love on me’, and ‘why do I always feel this way.’
Next up, Goat Girl followed on the 90s vibe with their retro-style songs like, ‘The Man’ and ‘Scum’. The Brixton four-piece formed of Naima (bass and singer), Ellie (bass and singer), Lottie (drums) and Rosy (electric guitar and lead singer) are named in tribute to the legend, Bill Hicks and his alter ego ‘Goat Boy’.
The girls, who are signed to alternative/indie label Rough Trade Records and have released their self-titled album this year, have been featured in magazines such as Wonderland and NME are described as being “far from a one trick pony”.
The incredible setting of Portmeirion, the detail and creative thought process that goes into Festival No6 each year has definitely ingrained something in me that I don’t think another festival will quite get right. I’m so sad that this is their final year, maybe they’ll find another venue in the future because I thought it was particularly cool that they featured comedy clubs and ‘salons’ where female icons like three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Scilla Elworthy, who created the Oxford Research Group, a non-governmental organization set up to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics, was able to speak candidly on her career and what inspired her strive for world peace.
Festival No6 has not only brought together award-winning artists like Hurts and Franz Ferdinand but also, featured up and coming artists from a wide variety of genres that should please even families. The coastal festival will be sorely missed next year at the iconic venue of Portmeirion but we are looking forward to possible smaller gigs that they may well host in the future.
Check out Laurabeth Evans’ blog, What She Blogged here.