UK's Farr Festival: Small But Mighty

The Shack


The Shack

Jumping on the train at Kings Cross, I was wondering what this little festival had in store. It may only be the tender age of five, but I’d heard Farr was way beyond it’s years.

Having to miss out on the Thursday antics due to a distinct lack of holiday and a far too honest nature to pull a sickie was a damn shame. But after hearing about the epic downpour that forced party-goers to purchase new tents, I counted my blessings - my £15 Tesco badboy would not have survived that battering.

Arriving early Friday evening we put our tents up then tepid beers in hand, we began our stroll up towards the woods and into the arena. Making a quick pit stop outside the entrance to finish our tinnies, it struck me how beautiful the surroundings are; a vast expanse of never-ending fields. You really did feel a million miles from the chaos and confinement of London.

Fields for days

The site itself was much smaller than I imagined, but never felt too crowded or hectic. Wandering around and sussing out the where’s and what’s, I was delighted that you could basically cartwheel between stages. One for the lazy people out there.

First on the agenda, sit on the floor, chow down on a grilled cheese and pray for my waistline. I’m a big fan of Stamp The Wax, who were hosting one of the smaller stages This Must Be The Place, so we began the evening listening to some of their worldly offerings, perfectly complimenting my carbs.

After seeing through a small bout of indigestion we hit up the Corsica Village stage. Mr Beatnick threw out some smooth disco numbers that were near impossible not to move your feet to - and gradually the crowd began to trickle into the tent. And trust me once you were in that tent, you were hooked - the sound-system was next level.

Corsica Village


Corsica Village

We stuck around to sink our teeth into the deep and dark bass resonating through Tama Sumo’s expert set before hustling down to The Shack to catch a bit of Heidi. A moment of panic when the sound cut out and silence hit the woods, but soon enough the bass was thumping, the lights were gleaming and the crowd were away.

But it was Roman Flugel who really ruled the roost for me. His selection of hypnotic techno tracks and abstract house numbers thundered through the intimate surroundings taking hold of every single party-goer. A shout out has to go to the visuals at The Badger Hole, perfectly backing up the electronic ear-worms that the German producer churned out.

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Saturday morning began with a headache and a dry mouth soon cured by a couple of Anadin and a gallon of water. The sun was blazing - queue mini freak out because sunscreen was not something I'd packed. But I was far from the worst, there were some serious sunburn fatalities about the place - I gave my friend the nickname ‘Big Red’ for the rest of the trip.

A huge cinema screen showcased some classic films during the day, the field laden with huge beanbags to chill on. A slow and welcome start to the day. After indulging in some True Romance, we headed to see the selection of NTS heads playing at This Must Be The Place. Rhythm Section boss Bradley Zero really kick started Saturday in the best way possible, with a selection of African drum tracks, an entrancing and indecipherable Pachanga Boys hit and some slower reggae influenced numbers. Bang on my friend. Bang on.

After a very necessary nap, we trundled back up to the arena for the final evening. Kicking off with Pender Street Steppers, a chorus of flashing maracas flooded the tent, the noise creating tiny interludes between the bouncy house blasting from the speakers.

Whilst ‘cartwheeling’ to Leon Vynehall we ran into those best mates that we made last night and said the obligatory “we must stop meeting like this” and “fancy seeing you here” and then danced off into the night in the sure hope of securing a new circle of ‘lifelong’ friends.

But back to the music. Now Vynehall, what a talent. I have been gagging to see the guy for ages and he sure as hell didn’t disappoint. Crossing genres, the audience fiercely gyrated to Daphni’s recent edit "Usha", before easing into a two step as he dropped my favourite Underdog edit, James Brown’s "I’m Satisfied". Whoops of glee echoed about the place as he topped it all off with his definitive crowd pleaser "It’s Just (House of Dupree)", paving the way for Midland to step up to the plate.

Never failing to draw a crowd, the Leeds producer was quick to increase the number of revelers joining the tent. What’s so captivating about Midland is the passion he has for the sounds he plays and his eagerness to take the audience on that musical voyage with him.

Before we knew it time was slipping away from us and we had to drop by The Shack to catch DJ Koze, a set sure to be full of stompers and body movers. Paying homage to Friday night’s headliner, Roman Flugel, Koze dropped his heroic wavey track "Heartbreak Kids". I subconsciously spent the majority of the set trying to remember the beats and melodies of numerous tracks, 'cos girl needed at least a dozen ID’s.

So the weekend culminated in me losing my only friend for the rest of the night, but making a few new ones to ease the pain. Honestly, If you like bang for your buck heed my advice and part with that pocket change. Cop a weekend ticket, take full advantage of those small queues and low priced beers, chill on a beanbag chair, make a handful of new best friends and dance like a maniac ‘til the early hours. I’ll be hustling my crew down next year, see you there!

Farr away

Here's a little playlist of some of the tracks that went off last weekend.

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