A festival? On a food blog? In the words of Miranda, bear with!
I’ve been to a fair few festivals, all with their ups and downs:
- Glasto – amazing but no sleep and itchy hair
- Beautiful Days – great real ale, great camping but so far away
- Leeds Fest – it was the first one, went alone, was ace but don’t think I could handle it now!
- V- actually no good points, just grim, grim, grim
Last year we stayed closer to home and headed over to the beautiful Portmerion for Festival Number 6. And from the moment we stepped on site I knew we were on to a winner.
It was a ridiculously sunny weekend at the start of September, we got there early so had our pick of the campsite. So let’s get the one bad thing out of the way straight away. The campsite is one big slope. We picked the least sloped area in the first field and I was still slipping from one end of the tent to the other! This year we head to a further field…
Site was quiet on Thursday and Friday morning so it was great for exploring. Portmerion is like nowhere else you’ll ever go in the UK. The ‘village’ itself is an eccentric mix of tiny (often colourful) buildings, an estuary, woodlands and even a village plaza. Friday morning, we walked through the almost deserted woods (the stages didn’t open until lunchtime), and it was magical. The early sun dappled through the trees, we found hammocks hung between the trees for a quick snooze and then we turned a corner and came across an almost deserted beach. We were round the bend from the estuary so hardly anyone else had made it there- in fact the only people we saw for about an hour were our tent neighbours. A gorgeous beach, soft sand…if we didn’t have a festival to enjoy we’d have stayed there all weekend.
That evening we returned to the woods to watch Badly Drawn Boy play to a couple of hundred people on a tiny stage in a glade- with lampshades hanging from the trees and tree stumps for seats. Slightly surreal, especially as there was also a frozen margarita stall there as well!
The festival is spread across the village with small stages in the woods, on the estuary and in the square, with the main stage and bigger tents in an arena area (which I think is where the car parks normally are). There were big name bands and DJs, local acts, comedians (hopefully in a bigger stage this year as it was cozy), dance lessons, lectures, kids entertainers, a welsh male voice choir and each night a magic parade.
Everything was chilled out, grown up and a little bit classy without any pretentions.
For me, the festival was also a hit because of the food and drink. I once went to V Fest and survived on Pot Noodle, greasy chips and terrible, terrible toilet facilities. I think I may have had scurvy and a water infection when I got home! On the camp site here, there were hot food traders for breakfast and late night munchies. There was also a market so we could buy direct from producers – fresh fruit and veg, chocolate, artisan pies and pastries, healthy breakfasts (seriously, the porridge lady had a massive queue) and sweet treats.
The main arena had the majority of the food traders and we ate really well all weekend. Amazing veggie Indian food from Ghandi’s Flip Flop, bonkers bangers from Piggie Smalls, posh street food from Fair Game, stone baked pizza, fresh bagels and much more- I even had a cheese board for lunch! You could also book a long table banquet down by the estuary with a top chef or eat in the hotel on site.
Drinks fared well too. A real ale bar, Estrella for a cooling mid day beer, Hendricks gin bar, margaritas, Kraken rum and Fevertree Tonics (with or without the gin). It really was made for us.
We’ve already booked to go back this year and I can’t wait to see Grace Jones do her thing to a backdrop of welsh hills on that main stage. I wish we could afford to go crazy and stay in one of the self catering apartments, or even hire a giant yurt in a flat field, but it’s such a great festival that I am prepared to sleep on a slope for three nights!
If you love festivals but have outgrown grubby toilets, bad food and scurvy then I suggest that you pack your bags and head to the coast this September for Festival Number 6. But don’t tell everyone- I kinda want it to stay small and perfectly formed!
NB this is not a sponsored post, or paid review – I just like to share what a fabulous festival this is.