New Order and more for inaugural Festival No.6

We interview the festival director about the new event in Wales

Chris Swindells - 24 April 2012

New Order, Primal Scream and Spiritualized will headline Festival No.6 2012 which takes place in Portmeirion, Wales - a quiet seaside village famed for being the location for cult 60’s TV show ‘The Prisoner’.

Francois K (Deep Space), Erol Alkan, Mr Scruff (Keep It Unreal), Derrick Carter Does Disco, Andrew Weatherall & Sean Johnston, Horse Meat Disco, Jerry Dammers and Don Letts are amongst the first list of acts announced for Festival No.6.

Click here for the full Festival No.6 line-up.

Festival No.6 tickets are currently on sale and are priced as follows:

Early bird weekend camping ticket: £99.00 + £7 Booking Fee.
Young Persons Weekend Camping Ticket (11 years - 15 years): £79.00 + £6 Booking Fee.
Under 10s: Free.

Click here to buy Festival No.6 tickets.

Before the announcement we spoke with Festival Director, Gareth Cooper about setting up Festival No.6:

Why did you choose 2012 to start a new festival?

We didn’t choose Portmeirion, Portmeirion chose us. When we saw the site and imagined the potential, it was impossible not to go and put something on. It’s a tough year to start a festival in the UK, no doubt about that. But this place - one of the most iconic locations in the UK - is built for something to happen on it. The most amazing, jaw-dropping village you can imagine. It was hard – no, impossible - to say no.

Has financing an event felt more challenging considering the current economy?

There is always going to be a risk which is why we would never start a normal green field festival in current times. But with the experience and understanding of how to program, promote and produce an event you can reduce this risk and then take a view. Our view of Festival No. 6 is that it’s going to be very popular cause it’s the right location serving the right market with the right entertainment both spoken and sung.
What couldn’t you have done without in order to make the festival a reality?  For example, finance, demand, dedication?

On this scale you couldn’t really do it without experience and a track record. We would never have got the site unless we could prove ourselves with our history. There is a really strong team behind Festival No. 6. To get to this stage has taken a huge amount of dedication and drive to overcome past failures and learn from mistakes. A mix of bollocks, stupidity and not knowing when to give up is probably what’s needed. Some financial control helps too, and a load of other stuff. It’s still a risk though and we know nothing’s guaranteed.
What distinguishes Festival No. 6? Do you feel that a festival needs a niche/angle to succeed?

Our primary niche with Festival No. 6 is the location of Portmeirion. It’s utterly stunning and has some fantastic areas that many festivals could not dream of building - here they are already in situ. It’s a grown up site, it’s sophisticated, it’s mature and it has 180 beds just in its own cottages and castle that sit right in the middle of the village. Alongside the castle and cottages we have individual gatehouses and towers which all have their own unique character. We also offer luxury yurts, tipis, bell tents and airstream caravans, or you can bring your own tent. Wherever you sleep, you’ll wake to stunning views of Snowdonia and the River Dwyryd estuary. So when this comes together it’s naturally for a more mature audience, which is what we are aiming for: the late 20s to 40s music fan that may find they are no longer in touch with many festivals. We see it appealing to a more discerning music enthusiast which is why on dance music we have the likes of Francois K and Weatherall, and New Order and Primal Scream for the bands. A niche I think is important for sure, especially if you are not established.
How hard do you find it to convince artists and contributors to play at a brand new event?  Do you feel heavily reliant on your previous contacts or does that make it easier?

Contacts and relationships with bands and agents is important to convince people that the show will be a good one and that they will get paid! It makes it a lot easier to book bands, yes. Festival No. 6 hasn’t been so hard cause it’s never been used as a festival site before - which gives it a certain appeal - and if you are over 30 years old you may know of it from the TV series The Prisoner. New Order even contacted us to make sure that it was “actually in Portmeirion and not some village nearby” before they confirmed. Francois K replied back with “as long as I can arrive in a helicopter, dressed as Patrick McGoohan and be chased down the beach by giant white balls – this sounds like a splendid idea”. We were pretty surprised and blown away by the response.
Who/what is your target demographic for your new event?
Older, more mature markets. People with discerning music taste, got a couple quid in the wallet, don’t want to be surrounded by pools of vomit and portable toilets to a dubstep soundtrack, drinking real ale with their rugby-loving friends. Don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of dubstep myself and I’ve ridden a few horses, but it’s not for No. 6.
Can you name three things that you need to make a festival successful?
Determination, a good creative idea and financial control - but that’s just three quick thinks. Like any business there are many, many more. A good team makes life a lot easier.


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