Farr Festival 2016

· Farr Festival

It’s difficult to imagine a more idyllic backdrop to an electronic festival than a sprawling forest, kitted out with fairy lights, an exotic array of gastronomical delights and of course several stages showcasing talent from the world of techno, house and disco. This is all on offer at Farr Festival, which is becoming one of the country’s most popular boutique festivals since it was established in 2009. Now in its seventh year, Farr have promised that though an expansion has occurred to cater to the increasing demand and popularity, the festival will retain the intimacy of the previous years as like-minded electronic music fans gather together in Bygrave Woods, near Newnham Village in Hertfordshire. This year Farr Festival is taking place from Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th July. For dance enthusiasts around the country, the unveiling of the spectacular lineup will have been a moment to relish and rejoice. An impressive and eclectic collection of stage hosts were announced followed by the extensive list of artists who read like a who’s who of the electronic world, with both newcomers on the scene and long-standing reputable musicians taking to the Farr woodland. The lineup has been very carefully selected, offering a refined selection of some of the most exciting names in house and techno.

Given the tranquil surroundings of an uninhabited forest, the sets during the day can be expected to have a more chilled-out atmosphere, while in evenings revelers can be expected to let their more tribal instincts take over as the bass emanates from the Funktion-One speakers. The Thursday evening allows festival goers to ease themselves into the weekend, with only three of the seven stages open to ravers. Detroit Swindle’s own Heist Recordings shall be taking over proceedings, with both themselves and Nachtbraker being stand out highlights on the Thursday. As Friday comes about expect banging techno to invade your ears. An unmissable moment of the day comes over on the Terrace Stage courtesy of an the exclusive six hour set from Ben UFO B2B Joy Orbison B2B Midland. While the Hessle Audio co-founder is renowned for being one of the country’s most exciting selectors, Joy O and Midland are famed equally for their sets as they are their production qualities, so expect to hear new bits from across the spectrum of electronic music. Over at The Shack on the same day acts include Jeremy Underground, Move D, Dolan Bergin and Hunee, who proved to be very popular in 2015, so expect a big crowd for the Korean DJ again in 2016.Further highlights on the Friday include an eight hour set from Andrew Weatherhall and Sean Johnston’s project, A Love From Outer Space, as well as London’s iconic Dance Tunnel taking over the Adventures in Success Stage with ItaloJohnson, hailing from Berlin, and Dorisburg, hailing from Sweden. For a completely different sound, head over to dBridge and Skeptical hosting the Big Tims Stage; the two drum and bass stars will be propped up by V.I.V.E.K, Mark System and Kid Drama, while SP:MC will be on MC duties.

The Saturday will see the owner of Hiven Discs, John Talabot, headlining The Shack, where the lineup has been curated by Glasgow’s Sub Club, whose resident DJ, Harri, will be playing a B2B set with his son, the ever-increasing in popularity, Jasper James. Sensu, Job Jobse, Palms Trax and Denis Sulta will all also grace the decks at The Shack. Culture magazine, The Ransom Note will be hosting their own stage on Saturday, where they will showcase a variety of talent, including Optimo, German DJ Helena Hauff who has seen releases through Panzerkreuz and Actress’ Werkdiscs label, and a live set from Paranoid London.The Raj Mahal will be offering Ben Pearce amongst others, while a DJ set from Jungle will be another stand out moment and additionally Gilles Peterson will be making his Farr debut over at the Hidden Palace on the Saturday. Head to the This Must Be The Place stage on both Friday and Saturday to see an array of live jazz, African music, reggae and funk from the likes of Afriquoi, the Hackney Colliery Band and The Indecision.

The festival offers plenty of options for recuperation from the dancing, with a cinema, fairground rides and attractions, paint classes, fortune telling and vintage clothing stores all on site. There are a vast array of food stalls on offer, including Burger and Beyond and the Great British Sausage Company, pizza and crêpe stands and nutritional vegan or vegetarian options. Bars include a rum shack and craft beer bar, as well as Locked Inn, which is described as a shanty town, where cocktails will be served alongside entertainment and dressing up throughout the day and night until 6am. To grant yourself a moment’s peace and rejuvenate yourself, there are meditation and yoga classes, as well as massages and reiki, which of course could be attended in conjunction with sipping on a hangover curing smoothie.Of course these sorts of holistic treatments and homeopathic herbal smoothies have steadily become all the rage at festivals these days, and though Farr hasn’t entirely bucked the trend of enticing attendees with some sort of acai berry uplifting remedy, the festival doesn’t need to rely on gimmicks to draw in the crowds. Farr isn’t trying to be pretentious, it’s not providing ostentatious ludicrously over the top pyrotechnics at huge stages; it is simply offering pure unadulterated techno-based fun. Farr therefore offers a great option amongst the UK’s up-and-coming boutique festivals, as lots of us continue to seek out festivals on a smaller scale which can facilitate a friendlier, more hedonistic atmosphere than some of the huge events. This is probably because you can walk just five minutes back to the campsite from the stages, and navigate your way around the woodland with ease, where revelers will be greeted by a myriad of sparkling lights, bunting and woodland decorations adorning the tree tops. One of the areas which Farr is able to pride itself on is the fact that numbers are restricted, allowing for the intimate atmosphere. Last year it was limited to just a few thousand attendees - this year there can be expected to be a small increase on this as more stages and areas have been added, but as you wander through the trees don’t expect to see hoards of crowds trundling by. For the techno, house and bass heads, this festival really covers all bases and truly is a woodland-based offering of unbridled electronic delight.

Weekend tickets include camping and are priced at £95, while individual day tickets cost £45. There are luxury camping options such as pre-erected tipis and yurts within an exclusive campsite, or you can opt for normal camping but upgrade to luxury showers and toilets for £27.50. Farr is located less than an hour away from London by car traveling up the A1, and there is car parking available at a small additional cost. Alternatively there are trains from King’s Cross to Stevenage and Baldock, which take around 20 to 30 minutes, while there is an option to book return coach packages through the Farr website from Birmingham, Glasgow or London. Grab your tickets here!


Chris Gill