It's early evening on Thursday, September 3rd. I've had a couple of pints of ale and am now wandering on the beach, which can be reached by cutting through the woodland immediately to the West of Portmeirion. Back towards the town, I can hear some music beginning to start up. The sun is descending quickly, and a chill is beginning to creep into the estuary. I spot a plastic bag on the beach and, never one to shirk my environmental responsibilities, shuffle over to go and pick it up. Except it isn't a plastic bag. It's a jellyfish - a huge, dead one. I walk around it once, take a picture of it on my phone and shuffle away again. Oh, and on the way back, I find a cemetery for dogs in the woods. People had told me this festival would be odd. They were right, and it hadn't even properly started yet. More ale was needed, and quickly.

Due to other commitments (namely a date with Sufjan later in the weekend), I was only able to spend around 48 hours in Portmeirion for Festival No. 6. Here's a breakdown of what I saw, heard and felt during my regretfully short stay at the strangest festival in the country.


Friday (a.m.)

Coffee and reading on the beach. Coffee quickly joined by bacon sandwich. Not a bad way to begin. Notice that the Faber Estuary stage has a swimming pool. Regret not bringing swimmers.

Wander around the village some more. Truly a strange place - lots of buildings apparently rescued from demolition in Europe and repositioned here on the peninsula. Consider learning Welsh (there are classes throughout the weekend). Check out the book shop. Linger over Welsh phrasebooks. Consume first ale of the day and try out some phrases on the locals. Mixed results.

Friday (p.m)

Bands beginning to start up. Decide to fuel up before epic stand-a-thon and plump for vegeburger. Lots of people reading the 'i' here. I am not surprised.

Discover stand giving away free copies of the 'i' on the way to my first band. The Orielles play at the Tim Peaks Diner, which is in a beautiful domed chapel. They wake everyone up with some excellent slices of charmingly wonky pop. They are frighteningly young and frighteningly good - you should all buy their forthcoming EP. Think this is what festivals are for; feel lucky to have stumbled on good things early.

Wander over to the band stand and catch Hannah Grace, who by rights should be playing a much bigger stage - preferably one to suit her superb, all conquering voice. Over the course of her short set, she summons a vocal range to put most of her peers to shame. Very obviously a star in the making.

Make my way to the Piazza Stage where Kate Tempest plays to a packed crowd. During an unbroken half-hour stream of poems, she brings many of them to tears, and I definitely have one or two brewing. She is at the height of her considerable powers, an artist fully comfortable with herself and not prepared to compromise an inch. Truly inspirational.

Delve to the Lost In The Woods stage, where I will be stationed for the next few hours. Catch the end of a set by The Walk, who slightly underwhelm after Kate Tempest's scorched-earth performance.

Things perk up a bit when The Wedding Present arrive on stage, accompanied by someone dressed as the Duracell Bunny. 'We haven't got a drummer tonight, so this is happening' says David Gedge. The bunny gamely starts off some 7" records containing the relevant drum tracks. We get 'Brassneck' and 'My Favourite Dress' and everyone's happy.

Badly Drawn Boy is rapturously received by a considerably swollen crowd. He proceeds to do what he's done for the last 20 years (albeit with a considerable break in the middle): play really beautiful songs shambolically. But when he sits at the piano and sings 'Silent Sigh' all the way through, everyone in the crowd goes quiet and we really feel like we're seeing something special. He suits the woods, and it seems like they'll have him back next year. He certainly won't be playing Glastonbury.

Eat some macaroni cheese and head to the i' Stage where Young Fathers are due on. They are by some distance the best band on today's bill. If you haven't seen them playing songs from their two most recent albums yet, I urge you to. They are shatteringly intense, unstoppable. So intense that I sack off headliners Metronomy and go in search of some Welsh folk instead.

The Gentle Good round off my evening in fine melancholic style, singing mainly in Welsh and conjuring some pretty heavenly harmonies. 'I can tell you're all here to party,' deadpans Gareth Bonello, before launching into another ballad about lonely village girls waiting on the shore.

Drink some tea. Head for my tent, which is pitched on a considerable incline.


Saturday (a.m.)

Readjust my spine, drink two cups of coffee, eat a bacon sandwich, pack up my tent in the rain, begin the 6-hour journey to Bristol.

Honestly Portmeirion is weird enough without putting a music festival on there. But if you're able to go, you absolutely should. I promise there is no other festival like it, and I wish I could have stayed longer (I'm reliably informed that Grace Jones was a highlight, and why would I disagree?)

Just watch where you're stepping on that beach.