Farr Festival 2018: Day by Day
More and more small boutique UK dance festivals seem to appear every year and Farr has established itself as a key player amongst them. We made our way down to Hertfordshire for the 9th edition to see if the festival lived up to expectation. Here’s our day by day breakdown to show that despite its drawbacks, Farr surpassed expectations.
We were greeted in Baldock by a sweltering 30 degrees, which didn’t phase punters as they eagerly joined the relatively quick queues. The lack of shade in the campsite – or should I say sauna – combined with the thousands of festival goers didn’t make for a comfortable start to the weekend but as people started to pile in, excitement began to brew. DJ Stingray brought the house down at The Factory as the evening got underway, allegedly setting the booth monitors on fire, but Shanti Celeste delivered the highlight of the evening with an excellently crafted set of heavy hitters and her signature uplifting house.
The perfect start to the day came from the sounds of Mr. G opening the Ma Dahu’s stage, which he had curated that day, with a funk, soul and jazz set. A first trip to The Shack to see Mafalda as the sun burst through the trees allowed us to become immersed in Farr’s famous woods for the first time. With all the stages open we were able to see the attention to detail put into stage production and décor. As the first full night of music began we became aware of the depth of world class artists that would we would be treated to. A 4 hour b2b from Optimo and Young Marco attracted many as did a mind blowing set from DVS1. Despite weak sound, an issue Farr has promised to resolve this year but still encountered, the real highlight was Call Super who demonstrated his supreme technical ability to defy all the odds.
With England’s quarter-final against Sweden the main order of the day everyone awoke with a nervous excitement. They headed to Baldock’s local pubs if they didn’t want to pay the £5 entry to the big screen at the Factory stage and returned overjoyed, ready to have it off in celebration after a big win for the Three Lions. With so much music at our disposal, the small and localised feel of the festival allowed us to move between stages effortlessly all night and led to no one missing who they wanted to see. Paranoid London’s live set and De School resident Job Jobse’s unique style sound-tracked an epic night of music but it was really topped off by an expert closing set by Willow who delivered dark electro, groovy minimal and ethereal breaks till 5am.
With many heading back to London to get ready for their early Monday morning starts, Adventures in Success and The Shack were shut with the music set to finish at 11PM. Some well thought out programming and booking by the festival led to the perfect Sunday wind-down for those that stayed on. The likes of Antal delivered warm rare-grooves in the sun whilst Hunee demonstrated why he is one of the world’s biggest names with a closing set that showed true experience. The real highlight of the Sunday and arguably the weekend was Zip’s 4-hour masterclass at Ma Dahu’s. The Perlon boss displayed effortless skill in mixing trippy and groovy minimal records together sending everyone that stumbled through into a frenzy. It really was the perfect ending to a brilliant weekend.
Farr Festival will return for its 10th edition next year.