Ending on a high at Portmeirion
Hywel Roberts
15:56 7th September 2015

This year's Festival No.6 was brought to a dramatic climax by the likes of Grace Jones and Cate Le Bon. 

Festival No 6 enjoyed another forecast-defying day of dry weather on Sunday. Weary punters dragged themselves out of their tents for one more day of drinking, music and eclectic artistic treats across Portmeirion's several sites.

Early in the afternoon James Morrison reminded the kids of 2015 that before Ed Sheeran, there was another R&B tinged acoustic champion in town, and he seemed in the mood to reclaim his crown from the ginger head on which it currently resides.

On the Clough Stage Band Pres Llareggub brought a combination of New Orleans tinged-brass and Super Furry Animals covers (also with brass, well they are a brass band) to proceedings. They explained that their forthcoming album wholly consists of Super Furry Animals because 'we just really like the Super Furry Animals'. Difficult to argue with that really. The undoubted highlight of the set is Ymaelodi A'R Ymylon from the Furries' Welsh language album Mwng. A guest rapper added an even more surreal but brilliant edge to proceedings as the crowd reached another level of rapture.

Indie-folk stalwarts Stornaway added something more traditional to Stage No 6 in the afternoon. Their soundscapes about walks in American forests and other songs (including accompanying wildlife sounds) about subjects closer to home, all soaked in gorgeous string and brass arrangements, will have won them some new fans as well as solidifying current followers' devotion.

Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley's collaboration Drinks were one of the last acts to play at the stunning Estuary Stage. Le Bon's beautiful vocals soared over musical arrangements more sprawling than more of her solo canon but certainly none the worse for it.

The light parade from the Piazza has already found its way into Festival No 6 folklore. And on the Sunday it is at its most spectacular. Illuminated Ashes to Ashes-era Bowie enthusiasts Spark led the way as the remarkable spectacle wound its way from the village to the main arena. A wide palate of colours drew a large crowd who are enthralled by their own idiosyncratic form off entertainment.

After all this build-up there was a crackle of anticipation in the air as the gigantium personality of Grace Jones entered the fray. Some had been sceptical about her musical credentials while others were just ready to bather in her insane majesty.

In terms of putting on a show she didn't disappoint. Exotic headdresses, occasional body-painted toplessness and male pole dancers were just some of the joys on offer. She even managed to keep up her stage patter while not on stage, her roving mic giving her disembodied voice a slightly ghost-like quality during the costume changes that arrive between each song. But that's not to say the music is to be discounted. A debut for new song Shenanigans showed that she is still capable of writing the kind of tracks that give substance to her madcap show. By the time she hula-hoops her way through the last track of the evening even the initially sceptical are dancing to her tune.


Photo: Derek Bremner / Fanatic