Festival No. 6 is a triumphant return to home soil for Manic Street Preachers

Festival No. 6 2013 review

By Jamie Licence | Published: Wed 18th Sep 2013

Manic Street Preachers

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th September 2013
various venues, Portmeirion, Gwynedd, LL48 6ER, Wales MAP
£180 including camping, youth (11-15) £90, under 11 free
Daily capacity: 8,000
Last updated: Wed 9th Oct 2013

After a storm of biblical proportions over night Saturday, Sunday started of very slowly. It was gone 1pm when the rain died down enough to consider leaving cover in even the most waterproof of clothing.

As I wandered around the village, I took in signs informing of changes to the schedule, with whole venues changing due to the freak storm conditions, events due to be down on the estuary stage had been moved up onto the main festival field, and piazza events had been moved to the real ale bar. These signs were up over 2 hours before the scheduled events, which made a refreshing change for a festival to be so proactive, and actually inform as many people to the changes as possible.

While we were down in the village it started to belt down with rain again, so we took some shelter in the village hall. A very intimate venue, where unbeknown to me Mike Garry was again performing with Joe Duddell again, in a room with only 40 odd people it was an amazingly intense experience, with the sound of the orchestra filling every breath, you could really feel the air shake, this was a real moment to remember.

After the performance had finished I headed to the real ale bar, to listen to a few interview style conversations, the first, Caitlin Moran speaking to John Niven. A very comical look at the life of a woman, along with many anecdotal stories of how twitter has enriched her life, followed by a magical hour, spent listening to Stuart Maconie have an real in depth conversation about lyrics and meaning, through to brainstorming with Elbow singer/songwriter Guy Garvey. The same two had had another of those Q&A sessions last year, in the town hall which had gone down in Festival Number 6 legend. This one certainly lived up to its billing, with Guy delving into and bearing his soul, with some of his most cherished memories of life which led to some of his finest works with Elbow, and also looking back and wondering why he added such lines as ’Heavy Like A Loaded Gun’. A real treat for any Elbow fans in attendance.

All that was left on my agenda for the night was the main stage. I had not caught a performance on any of the main stages all weekend, and this in no way had detracted from my festival experience, in fact after a summer of mainly music, it was a perfect change to revel in the rich pickings of many differing art forms at hand. To compliment the amazing acts I had seen through spoken word I think the main stage line up bettered anything I have witnessed this year! Johnny Marr followed by Chic featuring Nile Rodgers rounded off by the return of the Manic Street Preachers.

For me this is possibly as good as it gets, with the main stage in a tent as well, the sound was amazing, Johnny Marr arrived on stage with a rose in his mouth, and he delivered a set packed full of hits ranging from his solo album, a few covers and a few Smiths hits thrown in for good measure. The crowd sang their hearts out to the set finishing, ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ with Nile Rodgers down the front of the crowd taking pictures of his great friend Johnny Marr, men were left in tears at the performance.

Next to hit the stage were Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, the ultimate party band, showcasing his back catalogue of tracks, whether written recorded or produced, this was his body and soul of work from his entire career! With ‘Lets Dance’ and ‘Good Times’ providing the biggest sing-along moments of the set. A truly inspired master stroke by the booking team, and onto the headline act for Sunday, Manic Street Preachers, ending their 18 month, self imposed exile from the British stage.

This was a triumphant return to home soil for the Welsh rock legends. With a career defining set featuring a varied selection including a few tracks from the new album ‘Rewind The Film’ due for release this week, ranging right back to fan's favorites ‘You Love Us’, ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ and a tent shaking rendition of ‘Revol’ dedicated with a heart warming tribute to Richey Edwards, this was truly a set to remember!

Rounding off the night with their seminal hit ‘Design For Life’ bringing to an end Festival No.6. This was one of the finest headline sets I have ever witnessed, by a band truly honoured to have been picked to headline a festival held on the grounds of somewhere the band hold so dear.

Long may Festival No. 6 continue on its current path! As this festival truly is a in a class of its own.

review by: Jamie Licence

photos by: Jamie Licence

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