The ethereal woodlands and rolling meadows of Farr Festival feel like a distant echoing memory still ringing in my mind. It was the perfect setting for a bohemian fuelled festival, however it definitely had more of a party feel. Everything and everyone came alive under the cover of darkness. It has managed to successfully remove itself from the mainstream, through a line-up filled with underground artists and a capacity of only two thousand people; the intimate vibe remains the core of the festival.
As our train pulled into the station there were no apparent signs that just outside this dainty village there was a festival-taking place. The normal herds of revellers were non-existent, which was a clear indication of the size of the festival. The sun was beating down on the fields and the location was picturesque, postcard worthy in fact with the undulating cornfields as a backdrop. As the taxi pulled up to the box office you immediately got a feel for just how intimate the festival was with a small camping site to the left and the arena to the right, a mere tiny field perched high above the campsite.
The distinct party atmosphere was apparent as soon as we entered the campsite; house music filled the summer air as everyone hurriedly pitched their tents in order to get into the arena. After pitching, which took us no longer than a couple of seconds, oh the joys of pop up tents, we bathed ourselves in glitter and set forth to the arena, following a path lined by corn fields to the entrance. On entering, the festival felt very organic and new, with a woodland clearing holding four of the stages. The tents were in close proximity to each other so when standing on the outskirts you were confronted with a collection of sounds all wound into one which proved interesting when trying to work out who was playing where. The main stage looked out over the countryside scenery catching some beautiful sunsets in the evenings.
During the day, it did tend to feel quite empty with a more calm vibe as most people were happy just chilling on the haystacks or taking in the immense surrounding views however everything came alive at night as the woodland was filled with the buzz of people and the sound of heavy bass reverberating off the treetops, the perfect setting for an electronic line-up. There was a strong presence of security in the daytime, which sometimes felt quite intrusive; this did however ease off in the evenings. A definite highlight on the Friday was meeting four elderly ladies from the local village who arrived at dusk to show their support and see what all the fuss was about, they seemed very positive about the festival, which can be a rarity.
My first taster of the music began after I purchased an essential festival item, the Indian headdress, which proved very popular with most people having purchased one by the last day. It gave the festival a tribal feel, a feeling of togetherness. Fully equipped I headed to the foxhole to see DBridge, a legend of the drum and bass scene; his dark heavy bass vibrated through the tent, which was lit up by vibrant white strobe lights. Next up was the Future Boogie take over in the badger hole, an evening which featured some of the best beats I’ve heard in years. Eats Everything smashed it with his combination of underground tunes and Detroit techno with a hint of classic house thrown in for good measure. Waifs And Strays pure and melodic sound was the perfect end to the evening. Future Boogie are taking the scene by storm with consistent new releases and amazing sets.
Saturday was once again spent in the badger hole with Disco Bloodbath pouring out classics all day. Nothing gets the mood going like undulating disco tunes. After dancing my socks off I had to trek back to camp to change my shoes, as my kickers didn’t actually fit me properly. The walk was painful to say the least but after changing and re-applying yet more glitter we were ready for our last visit to the arena. We thought it would be a good idea to take a trip into the cornfields on our way back however this proved a terrible idea as we ended up getting lost for the best part of an hour trying to figure out how to get out.
Robert Owens took over as the night rolled in with his deep live vocals playing over some true Chicago beats. His set lifted the atmosphere and bought about a new lease of energy to the Badger Hole. The whole tent lit up with excitement as the tunes rolled out into the night. As with most festivals the music was disappointing past one o clock on the last night, the badger hole had some decent tunes but you could hardly get in so we retreated to the campsite taking one last walk through the rolling corn fields to lullaby land. The journey home was rather difficult as the wondrous pop up tent that seemed like the best idea at the start of the festival failed on us, as we couldn’t put it down properly. It was unfortunately popping up the whole way home, which was hilarious for everyone in M&S as I was dragging a tent up and down the aisles knocking everything off the shelves.
Overall I feel like Farr hasn’t reached its full potential yet, it’s still got some blossoming to do. One of my friends coined the term ‘rave or go to your grave’ as the motto of the festival due to the lack of portaloos and food options, vegetarians would’ve struggled to eat. It is definitely one to watch out for as its line-ups get bigger and better each year. It is a festival in the making and one I will be undeniably be visiting again.
For more information, see our Farr Festival Guide.