In its three year existence Festival No.6 has carved an eye-catching niche, establishing itself as the hidden closing gem of the summer festival season. A penchant for iconic guests has certainly played its part in that rise, with New Order, Frankie Knuckles, My Bloody Valentine and Pet Shop Boys each gracing the North Wales coast since 2012. But this isn’t the recognised heritage bandwagon that No.6 rides, and as Grace Jones heads up this year’s bill, those making the trip to Portmeirion will once again be immersed in an experience difficult to come by anywhere else on the circuit.
These iconic names are little without the diversity of the No.6 undercard, which once again proves an exquisitely crafted array of chart toppers, upcoming names, esteemed DJs, poetry, film, discussions and quaint collaborations. The list could go on, and as this all takes place against the idyllic backdrop of the Mediterranean-inspired, estuary-lined Portmeirion village, its tagline – ‘A festival unlike any other, in a place like no other’ – proves as accurate as any. No.6 is sure to build upon its ever-growing reputation in this forthcoming fourth edition, and below we select our favourite picks from a handful of the many corners of this extensive bill.
Tempest’s rise to prominence was one of 2014’s biggest surprise stories, going from the golden girl of the spoken word community to the mercury nominated star of Big Dada Records. Her Friday evening set on No.6’s second stage is sure to draw a substantial crowd, but such is the charm of this event, Tempest will also be going back to her roots with a spoken word performance on the jewel of No.6’s crown, The Grand Central Piazza. Head in to the heart of Portmeirion village on Friday afternoon to witness Tempest in the stripped-back glory of her spoken word roots.
Amy – Mark Ronson and Asif Kapadia Q&A
The Amy Winehouse docu-film has already smashed box office records this summer and reignited the nation’s love for one of its greatest ever talents. No.6 will be offering an even closer look in to Amy’s story, from the film’s director Asif Kapadia and one of those closest to her, Mark Ronson. A film already considered vital viewing will be given a very personal and insightful edge that you’re unlikely to catch anywhere else again.
The No.6 tradition of bringing in some of Welsh music’s go-to promoters ensures that the nation’s own talents are well represented on the festival’s Clough Stage. It’s a sturdy nod to the talent and passion of Welsh music amid a line-up of international acclaim. Ifan Dafydd emerged from some time in the cold with the lush ‘Eclipse’ at the back end of last year, and a rare showcasing of the ghostly groove of Dafydd’s electronica is a nailed-on must-see from this year’s Welsh offerings.
Bernard Sumner in conversation with Irvine Welsh
Returning to Portmeirion after New Order headlined the inaugural edition of No.6, Bernard Sumner in conversation with Irvine Welsh stands out as one of the most captivating discussions to take place over the weekend. With New Order on the cusp of returning with a new record, it’s an opportunity to gain an insight in to the story behind two of Britain’s most important bands alongside the perspective of a fan and friend in the form of Irvine Welsh.
Motor City Drum Ensemble
To do justice to the weekend’s array of festivities in a closing set is always going to be difficult, but it couldn’t fall to much more capable hands than Danillo Plessow. Drawing inspiration from two motor city’s – his native Stuttgart and Detroit – the selector encapsulates the diversity of the weekend as well as any single DJ could, melting together the disco and funk cuts with a house and techno to produce a soulful exploration of dance. His special three hour set on Studio 6 will draw the perfect curtain on the weekend’s events.