Festival No. 6


Let me introduce you to a magical place. I realise that sounds a little like I'm taking you to Disneyland... but I'm not. It's better than Disneyland. Well, that depends on how big a fan you are of Disneyland I suppose... What was I saying?

Oh yes! Festival No. 6.


Cast your minds back to April. We got up first thing on a Sunday (this was hard work, believe me) in order to have one last fight at getting Glastonbury tickets. The re-sale started at 9am. By 9:10, they were all gone and all we'd done in those ten minutes was re-fresh the same page until it crashed. Needless to say, it had not been a success. Once we'd had a tantrum and gone back to bed for a few hours, we decided to have a look at other possibilities out there. Which is how we came across this relatively new festival. It looked different and quirky and seemed to have a whole host of weird and wonderful stuff going on.

So we booked it and five months later, with the summer nearly over, we packed up and head to Wales. Three days was enough for me to fall in love with this festival, and I already want to book tickets for next year. So let me share some of my highlights with you lovely people.

Portmeirion 

Welcome to Portmeirion, an Italian-style village built on a peninsula on the coast of Snowdonia, Wales in the 1920s by architect Sir Clough Williams Ellis.


Portmeirion was the setting for a famous TV show in the 1970s called The Prisoner, which I was unaware of until I told my Dad where I was going and he suddenly got all excited. I was naively unaware that the name of the festival, the various sayings associated with it ('be seeing you') and the pictures of people being attacked by giant white balls were all a reference to this show (although I figured it out pretty quickly once I arrived).


Portmeirion was beautifully weird and wonderful. Imagine you're in an Italian village, just chilling in the central piazza; only there's Welsh mountains, you're wearing a fleece and you keep getting hit in the face by a giant white ball....

Here’s one of the giant white ball bits from the original show. No, I don’t really get it either.



The Gwylit Woods




The Gwylit woods surrounded the village and they were magical. These were the kind of woods you could properly get lost in; and that was really the only way to experience them.



 In a clearing at the entrance, there was a cute little stage decorated with mirrors and bunting and lampshades swinging from the trees.



Delve further in and there were people dancing on the lake, DJs blasting out their tunes from a tree stump and acrobats swinging from the branches. Oh and THE TREES! They were so, so beautiful.






Mountains!

I'm getting dangerously close to saying things like 'being at one with nature' but I'm going to plough ahead anyway. I've always had a bit of an obsession with mountains so I spent a lot of the weekend staring upwards in wonder, and attempting to capture these majestic things through a camera lens. I loved that they were the first thing I saw when stepping out of the tent in the morning.



Music



Yes, so, trees and mountains aside, we were actually at a festival and there was plenty of stuff going on. Including some pretty darn good music.

I was pleasantly surprised to be taken to see a really great performance by Badly Drawn Boy in the woods; he wrote the score from one of my all time favourite films, About A Boy. We also caught a performance by Everything Everything which I absolutely loved. I'm desperate to check them out some more.

Belle & Sebastian were a brilliant Saturday night headliner (although I'd say this either way; they're my boyfriend's favourite band so I'm not allowed to say bad things about them), James Morrison gave a chilled Sunday afternoon performance and Grace Jones hula hooped her way through the Sunday night finale.

Steve Coogan

The legend that is Steve Coogan gave an interview to a jam-packed piazza. He was funny, political and intelligent; all at the same time. Very fascinating to listen to even if you don't know much about him. Check out this interview with him here.



Steve Coogan and Elaine Constantine

Seen the film Northern Soul?  Nope me neither, but I want to after seeing this talk between Steve Coogan and Elaine Constantine. It was really interesting to hear about how this film came together. Elaine Constantine is not a director nor writer but she learned how to be both because she was so passionate about the Northern Soul genre, and had to tell a story about it through this film. It sounds like nothing but love and hard work went into telling this story and it’s brilliant that, through the power of social media, this film become a success.



Comedy



There’s nothing like an afternoon in a comedy tent to make your cheeks ache and mood lift.
Above is my poor quality photo of Shappi Khorsandi, who I always think is brilliant. Her comedy jumps between her ordinary life experiences of London and her extraordinary experiences of life as a refugee. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend reading her book.

We also discovered Andrew Maxwell, whose political rants and audience-mocking were hilarious and terrifying in equal measure.


Welsh Choir

How good were these guys?! Classics, chart music... they can do it all. They had people dancing one minute and crying the next!



The Estuary stage




In the space of a couple of hours, I saw two people on this stage that I desperately want to know more about.

The first was JB Barrington, a performance poet from Salford. He had 15 minutes on the stage and he totally won me over. Very observant and very funny. I think my favourite was his poem about people who wear sunglasses inside.


The second was Howard Marks; who went from a boy from South Wales, to Oxford graduate to the most sophisticated drugs baron of all time. As you do. Naturally, he was incredibly interesting to listen to and I'm eager to read his books.


The coffee shop

For a lot of festival goers, night time means party time. We, however, were perfectly happy to set up camp in this cute little teashop tent. As the music pounded next door, we sat with hot chocolate and nattered the night away. Hardcore kids.



The views 

Because; look at them!





Until next year then Festival No. 6.

Be seeing you...




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