Five standout performances from the festival below, with a playlist of IDs at the bottom.
Farr Festival returned for its seventh edition in the Hertfordshire country from the 12th-14th July. The lineup saw cerebral techno artists like Huerco S and Leafar Legov rubbing shoulders with disco aficionados like Jamie Tiller and Sadar Bahar, headline dub acts like Mungos Hifi and soul singers Jordan Rakei and Nao. The variety on offer meant there was a refreshing range of characters there, from Corbyn-chanting students at the Hidden Palace stage to a number of connected music industry heads at Sadar Bahar and Floating Points’ not-so-secret back to back set at the Brilliant Corners tent to finish the Saturday night.
The majority of the stages were still located in the woods at the back of the festival site, but the addition of the Campfire Headphase and Brilliant Corners (below) tents before the forest spread the attendees out well. Alongside these, there was the new Factory stage, a bold stadium-like arena walled by shipping containers with fire blasting from beside the DJ booth, adding some welcome diversity to the layout.
While Farr will always be a music-centric festival, this year there was even more on offer aside from listening to your favourite artist. If you were feeling flush, there was a hot-tub that served prosecco where you could relax away from the campsite. Inside the festival site, there was a number of shops which were always fun to explore, selling a number of items ranging from vintage clothing to vape pens. Every food vendor we had the pleasure of visiting was gorgeous, with numerous vegetarian and meat options meaning there was something for everyone to sample.
Of course, the music was the main reasons we were in attendance. Here are our five key performances that we felt defined the festival:
Suzanne Kraft graced the Adventures of Success stage at dusk on Friday evening, building the set with music ranging from intriguing ambience through to graceful synth-led Kraft-esque house and Italo disco, with tunes like Lowell – ‘No Matter’ which went down a hit. As the sun gradually descended, Diego’s journey through unorthodox sonics saw him dropping Bruce’s ‘Steals’ in between some broken rhythms, displaying his shining eclecticism.
Despite warming up for headliner Floating Points, Willow stuck to her guns in front of the biggest crowd The Shack had seen that weekend. The last half an hour of her set brought back a flourish of nostalgia for UK bass, mixing Artwork’s ‘Red’, Objekt’s ‘The Goose that Got Away’ and Pearson Sound’s ‘Starburst’. The Workshop affiliate harmonised these selections seamlessly between some ghetto house records and heavier fare like Furfriend’s track ‘Fistfuck’. To hear dubstep at a predominantly house and techno festival was a refreshing throwback and assuredly provided the crowd with a zest of something a bit different.
Floating Points (above) startled a collective of people who were expecting his typical mixture of rare funk, jazz and disco, with a set befitting the festival stage full of drive and variety. While he slipped in some throwback far like Wish’s ‘Touch Me (All Night Long)’, the set was filled with gratifying dance records like DJ Slyngshot’s – ‘They Still Can’t Grasp It’ and Moonstar’s – ‘Detroit’, styles and sounds he’s rarely heard of drawing for these days.
Moscoman divinely provided the crowd with a dynamic spiritual journey through an enchanted jungle, filled with the meditative melodies and psychedelic euphony that we hear all so often on his fascinating Disco Halal imprint. The dark and emotional set was embodied by chugged out sub 120bpm records and grew organically, with a breathtaking blend of the rare Lata J. Ramasar record ‘The Greatest Name That Lives’ being the noticeable high point of the set which was euphorically recognised by the crowd.
Jamie Tiller was truly representative of his much respected and admired Music From Memory label. Brian Not Brian & Jayda G provided the typical colourful daytime festival set, digging for rare funk, disco and house full of flavour and sweetness. Omar S offered what everyone expected – a high energy seamless expedition through Detroit’s best house music in the game – and Helena Hauff electrified the crowd in yet another lesson into end of the world techno and galvanising electro.
The lineup for the Campfire Headphase on Sunday morning was a focal point of the weekend, and didn’t disappoint after so much talk around the festival about these few hours. The sun was rising, legs were tiring and we took a seat on a deck chair outside the stage (above), whose name fittingly derived from the ever amazing Boards of Canada album on Warp Records. Overlooking acres of the beautiful Hertfordshire farmland the sun started to glare over the fields during the end of Terreke’s elegantly constructed downtempo set, which climaxed with Photek’s ’T-Raenon’ cunningly deployed at 33rpm. The last of the music had finished the woods, and people rushingly came to the where the party was yet to stop. Following on from Terekke and Huerco S, Wolf Muller & Cass stepped up with nothing but a bass guitar and a few pieces of analogue equipment. Their closing set couldn’t have been more fitting for a stage named after one of the most delightful ambient LPs around; it was meditative, drone filled with subtle hints of bass guitar and vibrations to sooth the senses after another gloriously hectic weekend of music in the woods.
Listen to our playlist with 175 track IDs from the weekend.
Photos by Here & Now.