Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

Festival No. 6 2016

This quirky, boutique festival is teetering on the brink of becoming too successful for its own good, but still has lots of charm and the wonderful Port Meirion setting keeping it extraordinary. And the food at Clough's restaurant was almost worth the price of the ticket itself – not something you can say about most music festivals*.

 

Headline acts: Bastille, Hot Chip, Noel Gallagher

Weather: wet with the threat of hurricanes

Contemporaneous events: no idea – 3G blackout

Author's festival credentials: staying in style in Port Meirion Village

 

The Scores

5/5

Magnetic North – Channeling Orkney & Skelmersdale, this intense & joyous performance was one notch up from their Port Eliot show. (6pm, Lost in the Woods, Friday)

Mudflappers – getting people swing dancing to Uptown Funk when it's been raining all morning is no mean feat. Teaching markontour to do the Charleston (almost) deserves a medal, but 5 stars will have to do. (1.50pm, Central Plaza, Saturday)

John Bramwell – after ambling on stage with a milk crate & only the sound engineer to announce him, the I Am Kloot lead singer admitted he was missing a few false-teeth & so there was going to be some lisping, and then proceeded to strum a beautiful solo set that included The Sky at Night, The Brink and Proof.

Noel Gallagher – there were some forgettable bits, but Gallagher Snr was on disarmingly charming form, & any gig that includes Paul Weller belting out 'Town Called Malice' and both 'Half The World Away' and a rousing 'Don't Look Back in Anger' has to get top marks. (9.30pm, Stage No.6, Sunday)

 

4/5

Kelvin Jones – a very confident 19 year old singer-songwriter with a cracking voice and an acoustic guitar, mixing blues and pop. (12.45pm, Lost in the Woods, Friday)

Gwenno – an engagingly eclectic electro-pop set that included a song inspired by a dystopian sci-fi novel where survival is based on speaking Welsh. Cracking. (5pm, Grand Pavilion, Friday)

Estrons – energy, energy, energy. Loud and fast stuff from this young Welsh band with a natural-born lead singer. There was a song that seemed to be called 'Made me lose my mind' that I have to get. (8pm, Clough Stage, Friday)

Brythoniaid Choir – it wouldn't be FN6 without them. This year my cousin and I enjoyed lending a hand on Land of My Fathers from the balcony of Chantry. (8.30pm, Central Plaza, Friday)

Jamie Wallman – explaining his theory of “experientialism” – we'll all be happier if we focus on experiences rather than material betterment. A bit loose on his history, but compelling & thought-provoking, including an unusually great Q&A. (11am, Town Hall, Saturday)

Unabombers – blissed out dance tunes to stop the rain. (Noon, Stoneboat, Saturday)

Murray Lachlan-Young – managing to still look bohemian in a rain cape & contemplating growing a beard, musing on how un-rock 'n' roll it would have been for Keith Richards to have died falling out of that coconut tree, & getting the crowd happily singing about dogging. (2.10pm, Central Plaza, Saturday)

John Cooper-Clarke – ripping through his extraordinary back catalogue of performance poetry, from notebooks of scribbles that were in constant danger of blowing away. (7.10pm, Central Plaza, Saturday)

Cassette Boy – politically charged video and tune splicing, that mixed Dallas, Star Trek & the Human League into attacks on Farage, Bozza, Cameron and May. Clever. (10.30pm, The Gatehouse, Saturday)

Lucy Rose – lovely, poppy stuff which I suspect is best enjoyed live, so I'm glad we happened by. (6.45pm, Grand Pavilion, Sunday)

Super Furry Animals – clever, funny, lively stuff that got a large crowd bouncing around. I need to learn Welsh to understand Gruff Rhys' asides. (7.30pm, Stage No.6, Sunday)

 

3/5

Luke Wright – by his incredible standards this was a very average performance, with too much ramble & old material. Everyone can have an off day. (4.15pm, Friday, Central Plaza)

Bastille – we only came out for the end, but clearly they have at least one great crowd-pleaser in 'Pompeii' and it was impossible not to like the unassuming lead singer/songwriter. (9pm. Stage No.6, Friday)

Rozi Plain – I love her album, but this show was a bit one-paced for a late night festival crowd, the fantastic 'Actually' aside. (11pm, Village Hall, Friday)

Cabbage – sounded great in a full-on way, but I can't award more stars as I only heard a couple of songs through the window. I'm going to check them out properly now. (4pm, Tim Peak's Diner, Saturday)

Jonny Vegas – a dull-ish interview with Miranda Sawyer suddenly came alive when Vegas spotted a lad in a Minecraft t-shirt & proceeded to lecture him on how “it's not as good as Lego”. (5.40pm, Central Plaza, Saturday)

Bowie Reimagined – Joe Dunthorpe's orchestral tribute was a bit flat until the wonderful Charlotte Church injected passion, her amazing voice and a bit of much-needed stage banter. (5.50pm, Stage No.6, Sunday)

 

2/5

Kaiser Chiefs – bombastic, smug and annoying, but they do have some great songs, to which a large-ish crowd gave full-throated approval. (7pm, Stage No.6, Friday)

 

Here's what you could have won: terrible weather on Saturday meant whole stages were closed down, so I didn't get to see the wonderful Laura J. Martin, and Roots Manuva was ill on Friday.

 

* with apologies to my wonderful sister for gratuitously mentioning of the one bit of the FN6 experience she missed out on. It would have had 5-stars if you'd been there too..

 

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