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Portmeirion : Festival No. 6 shines through the rain for another spectacular year

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09/12/2017 | 06:00am CEST

The weather is something that we Brits love talking about, and it's unpredictability means putting on a festival in early September and in Wales is a risky thing.

But you can't fault a festival experience because of the weather as it's so uncontrollable, and the delights and hidden treasures of Festival No. 6 are too good to feel any dissapointment.

Early Friday afternoon was kicked off in the sunshine by local indie-pop group Campfire Social as crowds began to get lost in the woods as soon as they could, whilst a little way down the hill Low Life were taking over the floating stage for their first of an eight hour set.

The DJs are often conspicuous about their sets, choosing to rely on word-of-mouth as opposed to mainstream venues so it was a perfect fit for the fairy-tale like setting of Portmeirion's woods.

As the sun shone on revellers in the Central Piazza who were enjoying beers and prosecco on the deck chairs, entertainment was provided by Kitsch & Sync , a retro performance collective who donned old Hollywood movie theatre worker costumes.

Their skits see the Cardiff group interact with crowds for some alternative fun. They are quickly followed by one of many patriotic moments of the weekend as the Commonwealth Baton Parade makes its way through the village on its journey to the Gold Coast of Australia, whilst the crowds wave them off with their Welsh flags.

The Central Piazza is a beautiful backdrop for a needed escape and quiet moment from the hectic main arena. There's plenty going on for all ages and tastes and one highlight which has become an iconic part of the festival, now in its sixth year, is the Brythoniad Weslh Male Voice Choir who play to huge crowds each night. On Friday evening they played classics including the Welsh National Anthem as well as a cover of Rag N' Bone Man's Human.

Meanwhile over at The Grand Pavillion sets came from indie group Palace who showcased their stellar debut So Long Forever which still sounds fresh almost a year on. They were followed by Charlotte Church's Pop Dungeon which has found itself as a must-see on any festival timetable.

The former classical singer plays covers of huge pop songs by Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Sugababes, En Vogue and Destiny's Child to name a few and even a track by Rage Against the Machine, with support from her incredible live band and aplty-dressed backing vocalists for a loud and proud pop experience which kicks starts the evening proceedings in the main arena.

After the colourful set from Charlotte Church it's inevitable to head to the House of Rum for Homoelectric a Manchester disco institution for queers and their straight peers. The much-buzzed about club night is transported to Festival No.6 where it fits right in for a set of house, techno, pop and garage until the early hours of Saturday morning, finishing off an exciting first full day in Portmeirion.

After a packed first day revellers wake up to top up their glitter and head to the nearest breakfast stalls to perk up for another unpredictable day in the village.

Wandering through the Village Green festival goers are enjoying the eclectic food on offer as well as the disco bar, Birra Morretti tent and Meirion Rogue which is constantly packed out with people watching everything from the Moomins to burlesque.

Ahead of the heavy rain on Saturday afternoon poet Salena Godden delivers a funny yet powerful set. Described as the Daily Mail's worst nightmare the British writer proved why as she unashamedly read graphics poems The Good C**k and Give T**s a Chance which explore female sexuality to the cheering crowd, who join in and celebrate the topics which are often taboo.

A wander through the village and down to the sea front takes you to The Stoneboat which hosts DJs throughout the day with once again another breathtaking backdrop of Portmeirion including the Welsh mountains and the sandy golden beaches, before the unpredictable British weather forces some to hideaway and others to dance in the rain at Down To The Sea & Back .

As the rain slowly calms down and the crowds come out from under cover Superfood kick off an indie heavy evening at the Main Arena, setting the tone of Saturday against a sunny backdrop. They're followed by the soulful James Vincent McMorrow on Stage No. 6 and indie rock group Wild Beasts who showcase a snapshot of their five studio albums.

Meanwhile over in The Grand Pavilion psych trio Jagwar Ma play an epic set, accompanied by a light show perfect for the indoor venue. The already pumped crowd are ready for indie rock group The Cribs straight after, who provide some noughties nostalgia as they are currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of Men's Needs, Women's Needs Whatever. From the first track the audience really get involved as they prove their cult status as being ahead of the 2000's 'indie revolution' pack as many have now been and gone.

The night is finished up with a headline set from Bloc Party , another group from that era with a slightly more dance and punk influenced sound. It was a welcomed return for Kele Okereke and co who, after solo projects released their fifth studio album last year. Highlights of the packed set are mostly the group's classic hits like Flux and Helicopter, but their 17-strong set proves why they should be headlining a festival like this and why Festival No. 6 often champions British and Irish acts on its bill.

For those looking to continue on into the night Joe Goddard , who headlined last year's festival as part of Hot Chip is playing at The Late Night Pavillion drawing a big crowd for his live DJ set as he is sandwiched in between Horse Meat Disco another popular queer club night and later followed by Hercules & Love Affair , as the busy crowd don't get a chance – and don't want to – stop.

The final day, Sunday, has something looming over its fate, and that's the weather forecast.

As crowds gather in The Central Piazza for a Sgt. Pepper's Themed Carnival in celebration of The Beatles album's 50th anniversary, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Bootleg Beatles setup on the main stage for a tribute to that very album.

The colourful crowd, complete with brass band and plenty of fancy dress costumes replicating the fab four's famous military jackets, all head through the village to the main stage, passing a metaphoric baton for the orchestra to kick off Sunday's proceedings.

The sun and rain battle with each other as The Bootleg Beatles perform tracks including Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Getting Better and more the group tells the crowd how the original fab four were never able to tour the record due to their huge levels of fame, so they attempt to and succeed in transporting the crowd to 50 years earlier.

As the day continues more acclaimed British singer songwriters including Nick Mulvey , Laura Mvula and Rag N' Bone Man take to the main stage in the ever-changing weather. Mulvey and his band play tracks from his two acclaimed LPs for a relaxing afternoon set which includes a break from the rain.

Mvula showcases her incredible voice and talents, backed by as she puts it, the 'best band in the world', the stunning set begs the question of why her record label decided to let her go earlier this year. However the set is triumphant as she beams throughout and the crowd bops along to the likes of Green Garden and a Nina Simone cover, whom she regularly pays tribute to during live sets.

Rag N' Bone Man pulls in one of the biggest crowds, as he plays tracks from his big selling debut album, telling the crowd there was a rumour he wasn't showing up at Festival No. 6 but that definitely isn't the case - and the crowd are relieved to know.

The final set of the day from The Flaming Lips couldn't be more suited to Festival No. 6. They provide a feast for the eyes and ears as they come with all the props you could possibly think of. A giant unicorn, disco ball, smoke machines, confetti canons and balloons are just some of the tricks they have up their sleeves.

The bonkers set from the US alt-rock group includes a David Bowie cover, The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song and There Should Be Unicorns.

They definitely seem at home here as lead singer Wayne Coyne says himself that the band wandered through the quirky village earlier in the day and ponders over whether the 'crazy, rich, amazing dude' who created Portmeirion village ever wondered if a band like The Flaming Lips would be headlining it one day

When a rare triple rainbow appeared over the festival just a few hours before their headline set we say that's a sign that, yes, he did.

Go towww.festivalnumber6.comto find out more information about Festival No. 6.

© Copyright 2017 Surrey Advertiser (England), All Rights Reserved., source Newspapers

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