Quickly approaching its 10th anniversary in 2019, see how Farr Festival is starting to change as well as which great parts have remained the same.
Inevitably, it’s natural for a festival approaching its tenth anniversary to want to build on the things that made it great in the first place. It’s a tricky balancing act; how do you ensure the festival grows sufficiently whilst retaining its much-loved qualities, in this case its intimacy and hedonistic playground feel?
Farr returned with arguably its most impressive lineup and a vow to deliver on louder sound systems after previous grumbles. Those particular criticisms may have been partly addressed, although The Factory was once again the worst offender, and the unrelenting sunshine kept spirits high and beers warm throughout.
“It’s been obvious for a while that few can compete with Farr in its booking programme, which consistently explores the parameters of electronic music and delivers some truly inspired results.”
Even with Thursday’s stripped back programme, there are plenty of gems: Jacques Greene battles The Factory’s sound problems to deliver unparalleled euphoria, each track stretched out to make the resulting pay off even sweeter, while Shanti Celeste and DJ Stingray offer wonderfully contrasting sets, the latter serving up a furious tangle of breakbeat and techno as darkness falls.
Mr. G’s sleepy funk and soul selections are lined up to sooth sore heads the next afternoon, but anything on the Ma Dahu stage feels secondary to the garish Smirnoff branding that now adorns it, an unexpected, unwelcome eyesore in 2018 that joins the likes of overpriced shower passes and putting a price on the eagerly-anticipated England game that doesn’t feel much in keeping with the festival’s original ethos.
More time is spent at The Shack, where Gerd Janson, Dixon and Job Jobse form perhaps the weekend’s most recognisable triple bill and comfortably back it up. Armed with Krystal Klear’s inescapable ‘Neutron Dance’ and ‘No Other’ by Polymod, the former fades behind dust clouds as feet stomp and bodies contort in delirious approval, and many remain for Willow’s purposeful sunrise set hours later.
It’s been obvious for a while that few can compete with Farr in its booking programme, which consistently explores the parameters of electronic music and delivers some truly inspired results. But it’s difficult to appreciate this year when aspects of the festival experience have shifted into noticeably corporate, cash-grabbing territory. A rethink of identity should ensure that Farr’s tenth anniversary in 2019 cements their place amongst dance music’s elite events once again.