Today Quenched Music is joined by Bradley Thompson and Luke Bainbridge (Observer Journalist), Festival Director and Head of arts and culture of Festival No.6, one of the UK’s newest festivals, which is based in picturesque Portmeirion and has captured the imagination of the public.
As a massive fan of the idea of this festival and massive fan of The Prisoner, how did the idea come across to do this festival at this historic venue?
BT – We’re always on the look out for new and exciting locations for events, and Portmeirion has been on our ultimate wish list for a long time. We’re still pinching ourselves that we’ve managed to pull it off to be honest. Every time we go there we discover something new, the magic never fades.
I like the idea of that, so I know there are a lot of different activities, but for our readers out there what makes this festival so different in a nutshell?
BT – There are a number of factors, first and foremost the location, Portmeirion has to be seen to be believed. The fact that you can actually stay in the village makes it completely unique. We’ve also put a lot of effort in to the quality of everything from the food stalls to the toilets, to make sure this is the ultimate festival experience.
LB – A lot of artists are also doing something bespoke for the site and we’ve paid a lot of attention to detail on that front. There’s quite a few unique collaborations and material that has been written specifically for Festival No.6. Also, it’s important to stress that Portmeirion is not just a beautiful backdrop to the festival… the village is going to come alive as a series of unique venues, hosting everything from comedy to film screenings to pop-up theatre.
Cracking so there is definitely so much going on, is this a one off or will there be more of the same every year and where did the name come from?
BT – We definitely plan to do more and build on the first year. We’ve got a really good working relationship with Portmeirion, who have really embraced the festival, which really helps. The name is a reference to the cult TV series The Prisoner, which was filmed at Portmeirion.
That’s good news I think it would be a shame otherwise, it is such a great location, what else is there to do outside the festival even though for the likes of myself the festival will be more than enough I’m clearly getting old?
BT – It’s an amazing location and it’s a huge site to explore, from walks through the woods to the old castle ruins, walks along the estuary and the beach. We’re also putting on plenty of activities from zorbing to clay pigeon shooting, they’ll be al fresco hot tubs. The festival is only three days, but it would take you weeks if you wanted to do everything on offer.
I must say I’ve always fancied a bit of clay pigeon shooting, I’ll feel like Lord of the manor. There are some great acts for everyone’s taste how was it putting this line up together?
BT – We wanted to make sure there was a real mix of iconic headliners and the freshest talent. I think our punters want to see some real legends, but they also want to discover some great new bands and acts that they haven’t heard of before, so it’s about getting that mix right, which all the great feedback we’ve had suggests we have.
Well that is one of the things we stand for music driven rather than genre led. As an advocate for new fresh music are there going to be any less established acts taking to the stage and who are you looking forward to see?
LB – There’s plenty of great new bands booked. If you haven’t seen them yet, make sure you check out Kindness, Toy, Gold Panda, Summer Camp, Clock Opera… I could go on. Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing the festival debut of Eccentronic Research Council with Maxine Peake, from Shameless and Silk. We also have a Welsh Rare Beat stage which is home to some Welsh legends and great new Welsh bands.
Yeah I’m going to be honest I can’t wait to see all these acts myself, happy to be a part of it, with art and culture unlike many other festivals you have a lot more to offer was this deliberate?
LB – Yes, from the start we knew we wanted No.6 to be more than a music festival. I think the audience we’re aiming for are more demanding than they might have been 10 years ago, they don’t just want to stand in a field with a beer watching bands all day and all night… at No.6 they might spend the morning listening to book reading or discussion, then watch some pop-up theatre, then experience the storytelling trail through the woods, then catch some bands, and then end up in the dance tent until the early hours dancing to a legend like Francois Kervorkian.
Great stuff this should be a festival people will be talking about for its originality and quality then, for people worried about travel is it very accessible, sometimes it is a worry for folk?
BT – It’s not as remote as you think. You can easily get there in two hours from Manchester or Birmingham, less from Liverpool, and under four hours from London. The Big Green Coach company are also running specific services for those with an eye on their pocket and the environment.
Awesome you’ve really hit the nail on this one thank you so much for your time just one more thing to leave our viewers for anyone going what should they expect?
BT – An experience you’ll never forget. A festival unlike any other, in a place like no other.
This is going to be great and anyone else out there looking for more about Festival 6 check out the following links:
Words by Danni Skerritt and interview with by Bradley Thompson and Luke Bainbridge (Observer Journalist), Festival Director and Head of arts and culture of Festival No.6