Farr Festival 2017 review

We went down to check out the weird, wonderful and unbelievably glittery festival, with sets from Todd Terje, Omar S, Floating Points and more...

Amelia Ward

Date published: 26th Jul 2017

Image: Farr Festival (credit - Here & Now)

One of the UK's growing number of boutique offerings, Hertfordshire's Farr Festival has been steadily increasing in size and stature, with a suitably impressive 2017 lineup. Although only visiting for the final day, which unusually was the Saturday, missing the likes of Booka Shade and Leon Vynehall on previous nights, there was still a firm selection of names to choose from. Located in Bygrave Woods, near Baldock, just half an hour away from Central London, the site seems surprisingly secluded. 

A late start compared to most festivals, it seemed that the three days may have taken its toll on campers, who left the small capacity arena quiet until around 4pm. Waking up the crowd gently, sets from fast rising neo soul artist Bonzai and former Chibuku resident SG Lewis took the edge off the night before.

Built from rusty shipping containers, the 2,500 capacity Factory stage held a much more relaxed atmosphere than the rest of the festival. Upping the tempo across the main field, Make Me's Rupes and Nic Baird got The Shack moving early doors with a solid tech house set, worthy of more than an afternoon slot.

Over at the Hidden Palace, an other worldly woodland paradise that truly comes to life after dark, with coloured lights and glittery installations, the early evening sun was soundtracked by Omar S' raw Detroit house. Heading back to The Factory, it was a pleasant surprise to see SG Lewis playing b2b with Abandon Silence founder Andrew Hill, complete with pyrotechnics. The pair were standing in for a very late Todd Terje, who did, however, redeem himself completely with an unmissable synth driven disco set.

Having heard tales from other campers of sound issues that plagued the Friday night, it appeared that sadly these had not been addressed for the final day. The most obvious example of this was during Floating Points' early Sunday morning set. The volume was so low that the bleary eyed crowd just couldn't seem to get going, and the set was reduced to a whisper as the sound was lost in the trees; it was a disappointing sight for both DJ and festival goers alike, at what would definitely have ordinarily been a weekend highlight.

Visually outstanding, there is clearly a meticulous attention to detail from the organisers that you don't often come across, making for a ridiculously Instagram friendly environment. The community spirit of Farr also would just not be possible at a larger or more commercial site. The sound issues and slightly overzealous security are the only improvements that could be put forward for an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable weekend.