Farr Festival has become one of the best UK boutique festivals, offering intimate parties in a stunning location.
Drenched in beer and filled with joy, hundreds of ravers embraced in pure euphoria on the Saturday of Farr Festival. The biggest reaction of the whole weekend came from the unaccustomed sight of England sailing through to the semi-final of the world cup, broadcast on a giant screen in the enormous open air Factory stage.
Despite the questionable £5 charge for entrance to the stream which was capped at a strict 500, leaving hundreds of punters marooned in the sea of wheat surrounding the site, the broadcast was a great addition.
Farr has rapidly become one of the UK’s best boutique festivals, celebrating its eighth year in operation, Bygrave Woods has been at the centre of the festival’s success. The breath-taking, intimate forest one-hour drive from London looks as if it was made for a festival. Limitations in size create the ‘boutique’ aspect, the 3,000 capacity brings a unique community vibe and opportunities to see artists like Zip or Roman Flugel in front of a couple hundred people.
The site saw several logistical issues, as well as the football chaos, sweaty ravers were made to queue for just eight showers available across the entire site. Sound at the festival was a big talking point following the previous year. Farr took to Facebook to apologise for the quiet volume levels across the weekend and promised sound levels would be ‘greatly improved’.
Sadly this was not the case for a significant portion of the weekend, complaints could be heard frequently amongst the crowd, one group attempted to follow the “it’s coming home” football chant with “turn it up!”
Despite issues with sound across the site, the weekend was filled with memorable moments. After a tough first night, with World Cup chants drowning out the low volumes of Tamo Sumo, Prosumer finished on a high, closing the Thursday with Frankie Knuckle’s ‘Your Love’ to great response from the crowd.
Mr G opened his stage takeover on the Friday, a pleasing selection of reggae, funk and soul under the sun was a great start to a sublime day of music. The treehouse-like booth was a new addition to the stage, providing much needed shade from the intense 30-degree heat.
Tom Misch and Maribou State’s impressive live shows brought a nice break from the rave before returning to Mr G’s takeover to see DVS1 play arguably the set of the festival. His signature sharp, surgeon-like precision delivered a masterclass in techno, closing with Legowelt’s ‘Deutsches PKW’ was the perfect end to the Friday.
Gerd Janson landed the unfortunate football slot, but a generous three-hour set made for an incredible exit to the match. Crowds flooded the impressive shack stage as Janson skipped through high energy house and disco. Scene’s reminiscent of Hacienda acid house filled the woods when Janson dropped the 1992 classic Awesome 3 - ‘Don’t Go’ before shortly fading into three hours of Dixon.
The Innervisions boss showed his worth, bringing the crowd down from Janson’s high energy, plucking at strings with his deep-house selections. An emotional edit of Pale Blue’s ‘You Stopped Dying’ was timed perfectly with the sunset, revealing the stunning light show at the shack.
Video credit: Family Creative
Sunday offered four hours of Zip or Antal and Hunee to close the festival. Zip brought his slick blend of house and minimal, shifting through crisp selections not reaching far above 125bpm, Aztech Sol’s ’Mosca’ being a highlight of the set.
Hunee’s Sunday evening slot was an eclectic masterclass. Seamless, logical and consistent. The knowledge of music on show in just two hours was extraordinary. Music from almost every era contributed to the set, skipping through genres building from what sounded like modernised 60s disco, to Depeche Mode and eventually through to techno.
Hunee’s ability to shift seamlessly through decades is something special. From 80’s synth pop to Daniel Avery’s 2018 ‘Projector’ without a blink of an eye, the credit is well and truly deserved.
The questionable problems given the experience of the festival were undoubtably present. Although, a combination of great weather, national victory and an excellently programmed timetable of music made for a special weekend at Farr Festival.
Summer 2019 will be Farr Festival’s 10th anniversary and the dates will be revealed soon, keep checking www.farrfestival.co.
And a Podcast from Mr G: