A Super Weird Happening in Portmeirion
The first festival Super Weird Happening really captured something special, if you were with us at Festival Number 6 you can live it all again through Dave McGinn’s brilliant short-form video. If you weren’t, you can whet your appetite for next year’s festival season, for this is only just the beginning…
Greeted with an uninviting North Wales morning, it first appeared the weather was not on our side, but no sooner had the music started at the Super Weird Sunrise, the clouds parted and the sun began to glisten down on the picturesque poolside proceedings.
Inspired by Morning Gloryville’s idea of ‘conscious clubbing’ at early morning parties, the Super Weird Sunrise tempted Number 6’s early risers down to the beautiful Estuary Stage to engage with Gavin Kendrick’s curated sessions geared to enliven and awaken. With an energy breath circle brought together by Sarah Rose Bright, ecstatic dance with Lisa Wrigley, Carrianne’s Absolute Yoga, shamanic tantra bodywork hosted by Steph Magenta and Debra Delglyn’s kinesiological bodywork a vibrant energy could be felt in the atmosphere as the morning unfurled and Super Weird Substance label manager Josh Ray provided the early doors good vibes on the decks. After Tracey Carmen and The Reverend Cleve Freckleton’s had harmoniously brought together a singing circle it was time to move onto the talks…
Although we’re sometimes afraid to admit it, there’s quite a penchant for all things Discordian within the Super Weird family, so we’ve been fans of Daisy Eris Campbell since we first heard the Cosmic Trigger was going to be pulled in ‘the pool of life’. Having followed in her father’s footsteps, heroically adapting one of Robert Anton Wilson’s immense works, she was able to regale festival goers with her tales of serendipity and pronoia – perhaps frightening them with fungus analogies when making the interesting idea; although it may not be apparent to us, there’s a network connecting everyone together.
Having brought the wisdom of his book, The KLF: Chaos, Magic And The Band Who Burned A Millions Pounds to the talks in Liverpool, examining Jung’s tangled web of synchronicity, we needed to bring John back, especially now he’s sussed the last century. Discussing Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense Of The Twentieth Century he explained why he ambitiously took on the task of trying to figure out a very confusing past; the current timeline constructed by politicians failed to answer the question, ‘how on earth did we end up where we are today?’ Has he succeeded? Alan Moore’s a fan of the book, need we say anymore…
Things then took a turn as we were thrown into the chaotic world of Tracey Star. Animatedly reciting excerpts from her one-woman play, The Rise And Fall Of A Northern Star, Stella Grundy introduces us to the shadier side of Manchester as we witness the demise of one of its beautiful and broken stars. Stella’s performance was explosive, impassioned and in parts, harrowing.
Continuing in a similar Mancunian vein, the gritty, witty wordsmith JB Barrington had us questioning the status quo with poems touching on greed, class, the media and inequality whilst he had us laughing with poems about stuff your mum used to say, being skint and posh nosh. Whether it’s snarling anger or tongue in cheek wisecracks, there’s a real passion behind JB as a spoken word poet. Apparently there’s more than one Salford bard…
Capturing ‘the moment’, some of the finest artists, astronauts and alchemists were scattered around the area doing their thing throughout the day. Here’s what they saw…
MARCUS RAYNAL HISLOP
It was heart-warming to see the turnout for Howard Marks. Before he fell ill last year he was due to join us at the talks at the five autumn happenings so we were delighted that he was able to join us at Number 6. There at the beginnings of the UK’s psychedelic sixties, there was much for Greg Wilson to discuss in regards to counterculture, what it used to be and where it might be found now, with the endearing anti-hero and the love emanating from the crowd was a spectacle in itself. Touching on some of the territory in his new book, Mr. Smiley: My Last Pill And Testament we got an insight into his rave-era exploits and despite what he’s been through, he was still full of beans, living up to his reputation as a true countercultural icon.
With the Estuary stage now heaving with bodies it was time to hand over the controls to the capable hands of Tomlin. Pushing Manchester’s dancefloor innovation forward in the late eighties with the Jam MC’s and Konspiracy, Tomlin played a key role in the UK’s bastardisation of house music. A testament to his versatility as a DJ, he was equally at home laid-back, poolside as he was in a gritty Manchester warehouse.
Laid-back, poolside is where Luxxury excels and his live-remix set captured the mood perfectly. The LA-based DJ and producer has carved his own niche with a sun-kissed West-Coast Balearic he brought to the world last year with a slick re-edit series. Often taking the least dancefloor friendly pop hits and transforming them into hazy, slo-mo disco perfection, Luxxury really caught our imaginations and his take on the first Super Weird Substance release, Summer Came My Way, has become the soundtrack of the summer.
Put simply, there wouldn’t be eight releases and a compilation CD coming out on Super Weird Substance this year if it weren’t for the relentless programming workhorse that is Peza and the fine-tuning back-room studio wizard Derek Kaye. Working together behind the controls they kept the vibes going into the evening with their acute selections and animated personalities. It’s easy to see why they’re both enjoying huge success in the re-edit scene.
Leading up to the live performance you could feel anticipation in the air. This wasn’t only the first time this year’s releases would be brought into a live environment but also the first time Blind Arcade and The Super Weird Society would perform with a live band – Shanghai’d by Kermit, who they’d be playing alongside the following day on the main stage with Black Grape.
Right from the off the track’s from 2014’s Blind Arcade Meets Super Weird Substance In The Morphogenetic Field mixtape sounded incredible. Although originally heavily reliant upon samples, the band really captured the essence of the tracks, realising them perfectly in a live context. Kermit commanded the stage like it was his calling as they played through Damn! It’s Good To Be Alive and Red Stripe And A Spliff.
Then it was time for The Reynolds to come into the fore with the label’s most popular release, Summer Came My Way. The vocal force of The Reynolds had been heard at previous happenings but this time it was their turn to take the spotlight. They continued to hold it with the ethereal Don’t You Worry Baby The Best Is Yet To Come and Sweet Tooth T’s boogie monster, She Can’t Love You.
Arriving at the pulpit with an almighty roar, The Reverend Cleve Freckleton took to the microphone to proclaim we’re living in a World Gone Crazy – the gruff gravitas of his deep voice commanding the band’s visceral disco-funk backing. Kermit carried on in a similar vein with The Stooges’ proto-punk classic, I Wanna Be Your Dog before moving onto crowd favourites Shady Lady and Give It Away.
Always one for a spectacle, Kermit invited a nervous Amanda Moonbeam onstage before asking for her hand in marriage. Then, always a twisted romantic, he jumped straight into Forever And A Day. Shine On offered the perfect end to the live music and left everyone in attendance with a blissful smile.
Super Weird talisman Greg Wilson then took the helm, delving into the morphogenetic field with his reel-to-reel, taking us on a balearicpsychedelicdubdisco odyssey – the same energy from the live performance carrying all the way through until the very end. Described by Back To Basics mainman Dave Beer as ‘a seminal moment’, Greg drew the Happening to a close with The Wailers’ Get Up, Stand Up.
Super Weird Happening #6 was majestic.
~ Kermit Leveridge
Super Weird Happening #6 was more than just a Happening; the scenery and location were breath taking. And getting to perform as well just brought it home for me.
~ Katherine Reynolds
Super Weird Happening #6 was once in a lifetime experience, which brought people together – you don’t get a vibe like it anywhere else!
~ Carmel Reynolds
Super Weird Happening #6 was a blast doing my live remix set in its ideal environment: poolside in the sunshine with a fantastic community of disco-minded people. Vibes for days, hope to be back again next year!
Super Weird Happening #6 was magical, sublime, crazy…!
Super Weird Happening #6 was a visionary flow of information that healed, nurtured and expanded consciousness in divine plan / plant / planetary alignment.
~ Organic Gav
Super Weird Happening #6 was brilliant and beautiful and made us realise our uniqueness yet at the same time the bonding which connects us all.
~ JB Barrington
Super Weird Happening #6 was a sweaty palm-full of pencils and pens, a speedy-scribble of sights, smells, sweet song and spoken word, pitch-shifting thru’ low bass rumbles to high manic laughs.
~ Alastair Price
Super Weird Happening #6 was music and people coming together to form a third, cosmic energy known as Super Weird Substance.
~ Stella Grundy
Super Weird Happening #6 was Sir Clough-Williams-Ellis’ vision for Portmeirion brought to life: “Cherish the past, adorn the present, construct the future.
~ John Higgs
PHOTOS BY ELSPETH MOORE & FESTIVAL N°6