Lucy KH & Susan Anifowoshe
26 Jul 2017
A charming festival in a magical location, Farr festival is more than just music (but the music's great too).
Not too long ago, Farr Festival was little more than a small gathering of friends and a converted caravan; today it's a wondrous woodland celebration and we suspect it has even more to give.
Firstly, lets discuss the location. Set in a faraway forest – no pun intended – Farr is a feast for the eyes. The pathway that connected the campsites - small and intimate with a couple of food vans and some reasonably clean toilets (by festival standards at least) - was a walkway beside a huge field of crops. This created the opportunity for not only some very impressive Instagram pictures (see below), but also a pretty damn hilarious stroll back to the campsite watching wobbly festival goers collecting turnips from the ground to add to their collection of Farr Fest souvenirs.
This festival is far from mainstream; it oozes an organic quality that can only be achieved by the DIY aesthetic - it’s clear that the Farr organisers have given visual arts as much attention as music and performance.
What the festival lacks in size it makes up for in character. Be prepared to meet some colourful, kind and vibrant individuals who won't hesitate to share their wine with you or have a little whine with you; plant-powered food options as well as traditional British grub; and a festival-wide cosmic appearance made up of LED lit trees and paths, swinging hammocks, vintage bunting and rustic shacks and shipping containers that has clearly been meticulously designed and planned over the past year.
For those who have done a bit too much, the festival offers acro yoga sessions to release your inner child, and for those not up for early morning exploration, there’s a chance to unwind in hot tubs provided by SOAK LDN which includes complimentary prosecco. At £25 a go you'd be crzy not to treat yourself to some class after a day of grassroots fun.
The Farr Fest lineup was an eclectic electronic mix, featuring dance music giants Floating Points, Leon Vynehall, and Detroit Swindle as well as a plethora of emerging artists and DJs.
Friday’s closing sesh was run by Chicago chick Honey Dijon who delivered a hypnotic set of deep house and r’n’b at the Hidden Palace stage, a ramshackle structure adorned with a Funktion-One sound system. BBC 5 best Essential Mixes of 2016 shortlister Leon Vynehall took full control of the woods on Saturday night at The Shack stage, bringing his carefully crafted and infectious house and techno to grace the ears of the crowd.
NAO, our favourite, absolutely dazzled The Factory crowd with her dreamy jazz vocals and woozy keyboard choruses. This East London angel had tonnes of stage presence and got the entire crowd grooving. The sharp and sweet set ended with a stunning pyrotechnics show, just before NAO bounced off stage.
Our favourite stage, Brilliant Corners, was brought to Farr by the Dalston-based Japanese restaurant and music venue which goes by the same name. A small bell-tent donning wooden flooring and large palm trees, the little venue could probably only fit around 100 people, but trust us when we tell you that the sound was big!
We’re not going to pretend that we know a great deal about sound technology, but a quick spot of research tells us that Briliant Corners brought 4 Klipsch La Scala speakers with two ‘Technics SP-10 MKII mounted with custom BBC phono-preamps’ to the forest. The stage did not have a set-list; the selectors simply spun lots of fine international tracks from a wide range of genres throughout the day and night, giving it an East London house-party vibe.
There were some minor hiccups with the sound throughout the weekend, Floating Points morning set was hit the hardest with the technical difficulties - the sound unfortunately leaking into the atmosphere instead of reaching the ears and minds of the bleary-eyed festival goers, but hiccups are expected, and hey, it could've been worse.
This underrated festival is certainly one to consider and is a great alternative to Amsterdam’s Dekmantel, especially for those who aren’t willing to travel over 300 miles for some pumping techno. Premiering in 2010, Farr Festival has come a long way, and with another year or two of tweaking their winning formula, this festival is only set to improve.