There a few ways you can arrive to a festival; in a coach you’ve chipped £40 in for, a car that is highly unsuitable for parking in a field for 4 days & 4 nights or you can travel on numerous busses and trains.
Our journey begins with the first of many trains and buses so we stop at Boots to fuel up. It was one of those journeys where you watch the city life fade from your window and be replaced with fields of nothing; white lines of the road slowly disappear and curbs turn to mud. We travel from Liverpool, through Chester and on to Bangor.
We get the T2 bus, as it arrived I go to pull out my ticket and couldn’t find it. The bus driver could see were not locals and was nice enough to let me get on for free, if you ever see this I appreciate you fella. I told him about where I’m heading to and his words to me where “You have to see the Welsh Choir, remember the Welsh Choir” I replied with one of them polite nods and a “yeah mate.” I was more interested in to seeing some weird shit.
We get off the T2 literally on the side of the road in a muddy field, surrounded by mountains. To ask someone where the nearest shop is would be the dumbest possible question. There is a small cabin where you pick up your festival pass, a line of coaches and a field full of cars that are highly unsuitable for parking in a field for 4 days & 4 nights.
We take our final coach to the festival site. We arrive in the woods – think Bohemian Grove meets Balamory – There was village setups and lights draped from tree to tree. It is so hidden that unless you knew about it chances are you would never find it.
Getting off the final coach was a victory. I was tired but ready, as we were unpacking our bags off the coach a man in a dark black suit, crisp white shirt and hair to match walks past us. Without breaking a stride he shouts, “Remember, Welsh Choir” winks at us and continues to walk through the woods into the festival. It was the T2 bus driver. It had been 2 hours since we last saw him. There is no moral to that antidote it just really messed with my head.
En route to the campsite I spot Jarvis Cocker roaming around like one of the crowd, and I’m humming common people forever more. We unpack our bags, pitch up our tents and head out to explore the Festival site, rum & coke in hand. My first impression was awe struck; I think everyone there felt the same though. Located in Port Merion, the site is built on a small Italianate village designed in 1920 by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. The whole place is a work of art. I can only imagine how far out of his mind he must have gone to create such an awe-inspiring utopia of ecstasy. Houses, cafes, shops and buildings all carved into the slate mountains like mushrooms on a hill. Every building or structure was painted in different and vibrant colors.
The people in attendance were dressed as if they where settled here. They were dressed with flamboyant glittered make up, half human half animals & David Bowie’s wardrobe. Festival No.6 was a pilgrimage – a place where being dressed as a Chicken is mediocre.
By chance I’m drawn to a tent where The Cribs are strumming out Men’s Needs, I love this song. Unfortunately the Grand Pavilion is over flowing at the entrance, but with a cheeky press pass flash we sneak round the back and enjoy the rest of their set side stage. Great start to the evening despite the soggy weather, we even get to use the posh loos, with actual porcelain lavatories and good lighting. Now for the food, this is the part I was really excited about because I had already scouted out the unlimited variety of food vans that catered to every taste. I’m pretty fussy with what I eat, and lets face it nobody wants to be paying over the odds for a frozen defrosted burger from Iceland, it just kills the mood if your food sucks. I opted for “Bringin sexy mac” spicy Mac’n’cheese, which I devoured in an instant whilst checking out Bloc Party, who were just a stroll away at the No. 6 stage. Needless to say the food was epic, most meals averaging around 7 or 8 quid, which is expected at any festival really.
So far so good everyone is so chilled and just living in the moment, the energy here is just too positive. A couple rum and cokes later we head into the Castell Gardens to check out our mate Jarvis Cocker and friends. The ceiling was overgrown with leaves and hanging plants and all around me are dancing silhouettes in front of a colorful neon backdrop. I’m offered a drag of a herby substance while everyone joins in with musical statues to this French track called le silence. It was bloody brilliant, I feel like everyone has been catapulted back to their wonder years and loving it. The Positivity levels have doubled up in here, it’s pouring down with rain and yet the vibe was electric there’s no pushing or shoving for a spot of shelter under the leafy tent. With no intention of sleeping we top up on the rum and head off to the horsemeat disco for an hour. Freezing cold and dancing like Bez from the happy Mondays in puddles of mud and couldn’t care less. On the way back to the camp we are drawn back into the castell Gardens by Joe Goddard’s electro beats. That’s one smooth way to end the night.
That morning I woke up on sunken airbed with a huge lump of earth crippling my back. The heavens had truly opened and made it that little bit more torturous crawling out of my cozy sleeping bag. But we were eager to get an early start and headed down to see the village. En route we popped into the welfare tent that I have to mention were outstanding with helping in any way. They let me charge my airbed pump and also borrow another airbed for a small donation. This couldn’t have put me in a better mood after the previous nights lack of sleep I had, and the agony my back was in, it was music to my ears.
After leaving welfare we carry on the mission to reach the colouful Cliff faces. Once again it was like entering a different realm, everyone in awe of this fairytale like setting whilst giant Beatles, (12ft puppets of the famous rockers from Liverpool) aka ‘The Be Talls’ roamed the streets, and these rather creepy welsh ladies with lampshades on their heads who turned out to be quite pleasant as they curtseyed us. It was barmy and now I really needed a cuppa tea and to sit down out of the rain and take it all in.
While the rain took a break (for 5mins) from drowning us all out we strolled down to the tip of the village and followed this moving glittering sphere, which turned out to be some kind of funked up daft punk disco ball helmet. We find ourselves immersed into the middle of a rave on a boat like pier. People were working all of the little space they had and filling it with their peculiar and upbeat dancing. We stop to grab a beer before heading over to the stare at, rather than get in, the outdoor swimming pool. Maybe if the sun had of made an appearance and my hangover wasn’t getting the best of me then only maybe id have jumped right in, but at that moment I was much happier to be wrapped up in thermals, waterproofs and hunter wellies! That being said I did go and buy a lovely jaffa cake ice cream from a little café on the trek back up to the forest.
With so much going on in this little bubble its easy to forget about eating and sleeping and after scoping out this town for all its worth I was starting to get extremely tired and hungry. We decided we should grab some food and take a quick power nap if we wanted to survive the final night. En route to camp I pick up a veggie curry combo to share and charge out phones in this vanity room that was lodged at our campsite. To me this was luxury camping it had plug sockets, mirrors, hair dryers and straighteners and good lighting, I literally couldn’t of been happier with that set up.
After a quick snooze I dived back into my wellies and we headed over for the headliners, The Flaming Lips. No word of a lie but this was one of the most entertaining stage sets I’ve ever witnessed and I’ve been to a lot of festivals and gigs. First of all Wayne Coyne is sitting on a giant unicorn with these dancing acid noodle light beams hanging from above that sync with the music, and as the set goes on it only gets weirder but I bloody loved it. The rest of the band keep changing wigs and the keyboard player who reminds me off Noel Fielding keeps making hilarious random sounds through his synthesizer. The crowd are loving it, Wayne goes on to bring out a magical gong, he sings a space odyssey tribute to Bowie in a giant bubble and then inflates a jumbo rainbow, which took three of the stage crew and Wayne himself to hold down as the weather was taking a turn for the worse. Next up there’s two dancers wearing giant eyeballs that take either side of Coyne while he wears this giant smiling mouth. It was Unreal and I have to say I did not expect to enjoy that as much as I did.
Despite two sleepless nights due to crappy airbeds and bad weather, this is way above your average music fest. Not once was I faced with any intimidation or aggression which is usually expected somewhere along the line during this kind of event. No, this was very mellow and colourful and definitely a place you can get lost in the moment and just simply enjoy. My final thoughts are that this has been the most Sophisticated, distinctive and cleanest festival experiences I’ve ever had. Festival No. 6 you are truly delightful.