I’ve just returned from Festival No.6, which is held in the quirky Italianate village of Portmeirion in North Wales – location of the film The Prisoner. The festival has been running for six years (coincidence?!), however this year was the last one. Sob!
Highlights of this year’s festival for me were the amazing yoga in the forest tipi (hosted by Nine Lives, Frame and Yoga Brunch Club), listening to the amazing poet Luke Wright recite verse in the piazza, and Saturday night’s performance by the Welsh Male Voice Choir, who were by far the most popular act of the whole weekend.
There was also plenty of amazing food on offer – possibly one of the best festivals I’ve been to for food, in fact. Not only could you book a table at one of Portmeirion’s finest restaurants, but you had cafes, tea rooms and stalls selling truffle fries, Singapore curries, homemade pies, flat whites, tacos, paella and lots lots more. Many of them had vegan options. It was by far the best festival I’ve been to for food and drink. Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka had its own tent (which is the most widely drunk vodka in the world, I’m told!), with tastings and masterclasses, and the bars all served local Welsh craft beer. There was also two wine tents. That alone would keep you very busy for a few days, with or without the lineup.
Pics: Andrew Whitton
Portmeirion is in a beautiful location overlooking the estuary, and during the festival you could go paddleboarding, swimming or book a wood-fired hot tub, all surrounded by the mountains of Snowdonia. In many ways it’s the ideal festival spot, so it’s a shame it won’t be making a comeback. However, all good things come to an end, and now that Festival No.6 is over, I’m looking into other similar festivals that are just as appealing for their location as the music that is held there.
Here’s what I came up with:
One of the largest music and culture festivals in Europe, Sziget takes place on leafy Óbudai-sziget island, on the Danube in northern Budapest. You can arrive by yacht, train, or just make your own way from Budapest and enjoy the unique location and line-up, which includes more than 1,000 performances each year.
An 18th-century fort is the location for this Croatian music festival, held near the beautiful coastal town of Pula. Dimensions is all about the stunning beaches, underground DJs and boat parties galore. Similar to Festival No.6 but probably far less rainy.
Meadows in the Mountains, Bulgaria
Another mountainscape festival – this one taking place 850m above sea level in the Rhodopes mountains of Bulgaria. Expect yoga, workshops, cacao ceremonies, local ‘babas’, Kukeri dancers, eco-friendly policy and lots of music and dancing in the forest.
Magnetic Fields, India
Head over to India this December for a three-day contemporary music and arts festival, set in a 17th-century Rajasthani palace near Jaipur, where you can camp or lord it up in a plush suite then party till the pink light of dawn.
Lake of Stars, Malawi
One of Africa’s finest celebrations of music, dance, poetry and art, held on the shores of Lake Malawi. This year the festival will be at Leopard’s Bay, Salima, and talent from all over the continent, as well as further afield, will ensure it’s a truly magical experience.
Festival au Desert, Mali
Although officially still ‘in exile’, due to political unrest and terrorism threats, this annual festival ordinarily happens just outside Timbuktu. When it’s up and running again (hopefully next year!), expect international stars aplenty, plus traditional Tuareg music.