Karen Connolly gets all giddy over the updated line-up at this year’s Festival No. 6. 

A mere three years in and the award-winning Festival No.6 has a stellar arts and culture line-up to match, nay surpass, the big boys out there.

Deep breath…Charlie Higson, Julian Cope, Jonathan Meades, Kevin Rowlands, Josh Widdicombe, Jay Rayner, an exclusive Shane Meadows screening, Stuart Maconie and loads more.

There’s best selling authors and poets, including Manchester’s finest – Emma Jane Unsworth and Mike Garry up there with the likes of Cope and Rhys Ifans and a not-to-be-missed Bez’s Question Time. Get your ‘bee’ question prepared folks… from Bees to Es.

The organisers have just announced that the Pet Shop Boys will be joining the headliners over the weekend and, with more cultural names still to be revealed, including some prolific headliners, could this year’s festival be its most exciting yet? I think so.

It’s a bit earlier this year, too. If you went last year then you’ll recall some pretty wild winds whipping up a storm on the Saturday night, so the organisers have decided on the weekend of September 5, 6, 7 for the stunning village of Portmeirion to host the event once again.

To my mind, Festival No.6 is like no other. It has a pioneering concept of bringing together music, arts and culture to the most incredible location.

The whole candy-coloured village is utilised for performances, readings, music and interviews and the central Italian-style piazza is at the hub of proceedings. This year there’s a special Dylan Thomas centenary tribute featuring Rhys Ifans, and directer of Twin Town (there’s also a screening of the film) Kevin Allen and BBC 6 Music poet-in-residence Murray Lachlan Young who are currently filming a big screen adaptation of Under Milk Wood.

Cope will read from his debut novel One Three One and the wonderful 91-year-old author Harry Leslie Smith will explain that the future is ours for the taking while award-winning Young British Artist Gavin Turk discusses his career.

Film screenings are many including Nowhere is Home, the new film about Dexy’s Midnight Runners, followed by a Q&A with Kevin Rowlands, and author Jon Savage will introduce his new Teenage film.

Johnny Owen, Vicky McClure (This is England) and Alan McGee will introduce a special screening of Svengali.

The comedy bill promises to be a laugh-a-minute with Phil Kay, Sara Pascoe, Alfie Brown, Nish Kumar and loads more and it all sits alongside music from headliners Beck, London Grammar, Neneh Cherry and Martha Reeves and The Vandellas.

Tim Burgess is back in his Tim Peak’s Diner (Top Tip: get there very, very early otherwise you will find yourself, as I did last year, standing on tiptoes outside the actual venue trying to see/listen/smell anything – not easy when you just scrape  in at just 5ft 3) Burgess is also hosting his popular Northern Soul dance classes.

Specials’s frontman Terry Hall will be on the decks at some point (I WILL get there early for this one)and Joe Duddell returns as Composer in Residence who will be working with some of the musicians at No. 6.

There’s loads for the kids to do so it’s a real family affair and there are still more names to be announced. Watch this space for further updates.

As the Pet Shop Boys would say: ‘Go West’ my festival friends for a weekend of Beck, books and Northern Soul.

By Karen Connolly


What: Festival No.6

Where: Portmeirion

When: September 5, 6, 7 2014

More info: www.festivalnumber6.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/festivalnumber6

Twitter: https://twitter.com/festivalnumber6