Reviewed: Farr Festival 2018
A staple favourite in the ‘boutique festival’ category, organisers at this years Farr Festival had yet again delivered an eclectic line up of some of the world’s leading Disc Jockey’s and musicians in electronic music, to the humble settings of Bygrave woods.
Right off the batt, a stand out set came on Thursday’s opening evening, with DJ Stingray’s slot at the Factory stage (must have been sweating under that balaclava mate). He masterfully controlled the mood, empowering the feet stomping crowds, as he dispatched a superb set of Acid house thumpers. It was also great to see the likes of DJ Seinfeld stood on the sidelines, with frequent nods of approval, as he overlooked the buzzing atmosphere that was displayed before him.
The Factory stage was a new addition to the festival last year. This year, however, organisers had introduced an extra day of music on the Sunday. The almighty stage, constructed by huge enclosing shipping containers, could accommodate a large number of people, which recycled a constant buzz between the walls. Chilean born and Bristol-based DJ Shanti Celeste closed the stage on Thursday night as she served up classic house anthems (tracks such as “Move your Body” by Expansions really brought out everyone’s most extravagant dance moves) allowing the audience to dance in harmony, as the night was brought to an end.
Over at the ‘Adventures in Success’ stage, nestled deep within the woods,Tamo Sumo (Panorama Bar resident) delivered an inducingly hypnotic set, perfectly warming up the crowds and setting the stage for the following two hours of Prosumer, who closed the nights antics with a spout of house, before diving into some gritty techno. Now that the main stages had shut up shop for the night, crowds had dissolved and reemerged at the Campfire Headphone stage where London based DJ Antepop produced an extensive set that carried through to the early hours of the morning. The intimate and dimly lit settings created a spacey atmosphere, perfect to shake off your remaining energy in a lackluster ‘2-step’ before it was time to hit the sack and recharge for the next day.
With the weather maintaining a scorching 29 to 30 degrees over the following days, the festival glistened within its picturesque settings. Throughout the day, punters could escape the heat, and explore various areas and activities in the arena, such as the House of Dinosaur tent, where daily activities such as Hip Hop yoga were held. There was also a great selection of boutique stalls and shops to rummage around at (a great selection of vintage pieces at the Simply Vintage stall) as well as food eateries to cure any hangover from the previous day.
Friday’s highlights included a more downtempo vibe within the early evening, with Tom Misch flawlessly performing his new album “Geography” followed by a live performance by Mount Kimbie. Other highlights included the likes of MR. G who effortlessly produced an outstanding set on his own curated stage Ma-Dahu and Call Super who’s set defined the evening as he distinctively carried the crowd through a mix of tidy but exuberant tracks. Likewise, headliners Optimo b2b Young Marco similarly enthralled a four-hour set journeying through a range of classics and surprising the crowd. Young Marco spun a few Michael Jackson remix’s and then dropped some dub tracks, while the Scottish duo Optimo were spinning Jungle to Techno straight into the early hours.
Saturday’s spirits were heightened with the fact that England was playing in the quarter finals, setting the day up for intensified energy and excitement. Unfortunately there were limited tickets to watch the match at The Factory as it was on a first come first served basis and this left a sour taste in a few people’s mouths. However, due to England’s success, it was soon forgotten with an exceptional live performance from George Fitzgerald, who blissfully engaged the crowd with his new EP “All That Must Be”. Over at ‘The Shack’, the well positioned stage with its natural amphitheatre – Dixon played one of the best sets for me. He listened to the atmosphere of the crowd and produced a high tempo electrifying set that amplified his eclectic music knowledge that brought grand emotions to the dancefloor. Hard to follow on from Dixon, resident De School DJ Job Jobse brought a more relaxed atmosphere to the dancefloor – journeying through a mix of funky disco edits through to high-tempo techno. By 2am on Saturday night the crowds are in full swing as they take full advantage of the carefully crafted line-up – with many burrowing deep within the magical woodland exploring Farr’s innovative instalments such as the hammocks and illuminating lights.
Revellers were treated to a further day of music on the Sunday, with a line-up of DJ’s that knew just how to bring the party to a close. The likes of Hunee, known for his eclectic choices and often up-tempo ‘good times’ disco set’s (as well as his bouncy energy behind the decks) were a great choice to bring the euphoric weekend to a close. Joined by the likes of Antal and Interstellar Funk, Farr fest organiser’s had yet again closed the book on another memorable weekend in the Hertfordshire countryside.