Farr Festival – A First-Timer’s Reflection

Art & Culture

This is the story of one woman's experience of her first ever free festival tickets, her first ever VIP wristband, a lesson in tent erection (oo-er, matron!), and a perplexing lack of grime music* at this year’s Farr Festival in Hertfordshire.

(*For my friend who spent the whole of Saturday asking “where is the grime?” and proclaiming “There isn’t enough grime!” as we stumbled around, wide eyed at a house music festival.)

Farr was a three day event, not on the normal weekend days, though – no! – on the very alt days of Thursday, Friday and Saturday instead. This is how it all happened from the worm’s eye view of the newest R$N recruit.


Now, I didn’t arrive until the Friday, but what I heard when I arrived on Friday was that on Thursday evening, there had been a monsoon. I’m not saying I think people were exaggerating, but when I arrived, the ground was bone dry. I’m not saying that Farr Festival is attended by liars but I didn’t see any flooding. Still, stranger things have happened so this is what I imagine Farr Festival looked like on Thursday:


I arrived at the site at around half past four, where I waited for Mr R$N and his mate to bring me my tent (I’m a demanding person…), which, in a whirlwind of arms, legs and tentpoles, we managed to put up in about 30 seconds flat. This was a vital lesson in tent construction for me as I helped put up my own tent for the first time ever (beyond hammering in the odd tent peg). After the tent was up and Lidl cider was necked, we legged it to the Badger Hole to dance to disco and to schmooze. I’m known for being a wanderer at festivals, so I didn’t stay there long before I stumbled downwards towards the Shack, where, upon a stroke of fortune from the heavens, someone was playing jungle (by that I mean God’s music, not the band). Never will you see smiles as wide as those on the faces of secret junglists at a house event when a breakbeat rears its head! It was mint, and he eased us back into the 4/4 tempo of the rest of the weekend by ending on Source 16 by Red Light – jump up house if ever there was such a genre.

I had to retire to bed by 2am (weak!) but what did stick out for me was Citizenn’s set at the Shack- bass-heavy, chugging techno and house, who knew this was what my drunk self liked to groove to? He kept me rooted to the spot for hours, before Mor Elian at This Must Be The Place did likewise just as I was trying to leave the arena! I tried to leave- but she kept me there on the dancefloor like musical flypaper. I hurt my legs so much from the weird squat-dancing I do at raves now and it is totally her fault.


Saturday was the big day!! Not only did my friend turn up so I didn’t have to camp alone anymore but this was the day of Ransom Note x Society hosting The Badger Hole stage! And that meant the night of the maracas. The sound of plastic beads rattling around in a quality piece of Chinese design became everything, drowning out all noise and thoughts within a 100 yard radius of the stage. Shake, shake, shake, shake. The maracas travelled far and wide, and were also greatly enjoyed in the Love Lounge, or as we called it, The Womb (due to its cosy, pink glow).

The music on Saturday night took a distinctive disco flavour at both the Love Lounge and at the Corsica Village stage. Cue my friend complaining “Where’s the grime?” I kept reminding her this wasn’t a grime festival but I guess she was just really hoping that Skepta might put in a surprise performance. We went on the carousel to perk ourselves up, but this proved too terrifying for Kamila and we had to calm down in the VIP lounge for a while. Later in the night, Ame and DJ Koze both lit the Shack on fire with some belting techno, but my musical highlights of Saturday night came late, late into the night. Firstly, when House of Disco dropped this absolute banger:

And later when Dan Beaumont played the electrifying Spencer Parker work out of his track “Spirit Talking”, during his back to back set with Robert Owens at about 5am, thinking about it gives me chills. Amazing!

What a fantastic weekend, thanks Farr Festival! Thanks Bygrave Forest! Thanks Ransom Note!

The only complaint: Skepta was a no-show: