In 2009 the first Farr Festival was held as a private party, or as the Farr crew themselves describe it, a "small gathering of likeminded friends." Seven years later, it has certainly come a long way from a local social soiree; attracting an ever-increasing fanbase and curating diverse and creative line-ups of top DJ talent, Farr has undoubtedly cemented itself as one of the UK's leading electronic music festivals. Yet, despite this growth, Farr has not strayed far from its roots. Quietly secluded in the small-scale surroundings of North Hertfordshire's Bygrave Wood and hosting a crowd of just 5,000 festival-goers, there is a sense of intimacy to Farr which maintains its original party spirit.
This year's gathering perhaps boasted Farr's most impressive line-up to date, with attendees spoilt for choice during day and night alike. Through the sun-drenched afternoons, the smooth echoes of disco and house grooves rippled through the woodland. Under the sheltered trees of the Hidden Palace, crowds gathered to dance in the slithers of sunshine as the likes of Funkineven, Moomin and Gilles Peterson graced the decks. As the skies dimmed and the glistening forest became home to Farr's nighttime party revellers, dark and minimal sounds were more easily found. For many, the 6 hour b2b set of Ben UFO, Midland and Joy Orbison was a main attraction. Drifting between percussive techno beats and fluttering house rhythms, the trio successfully kept The Terrace stage thriving for the duration of Friday night.
Amongst the more distinguished producers, a range of up and coming DJ talent also featured in this year's line-up, with Denis Sulta just one to impress. Commanding a sizeable crowd at the Shack, the young Glaswegian selector sparked uncontainable excitement when injecting a heavily eclectic set with his own melodic techno 2015 release, It's Only Real.
Sulta's set proved to be just the beginning in an enticing night in the woods. Whilst Afriquoi's fusion of African and electronic beats reverberated around the This Must Be The Place tent, nearby the Adventures In Success stage throbbed to the melancholic acidic tones of Paranoid London. The acid-infused selections of the ever-impressive Helena Hauff then followed, before the vintage sounds of Optimo closed. With outings of Pet Shop Boys Always On My Mind and Larry Levan's Stand On The Word, the duo yet again proved their worth as true crowd pleasers.
After one weekend with the Farr family, it is not difficult to see this extended get-together's limitless appeal. The creation of an innovative electronic musical display within an intensely personal setting produces a unique festival environment that would be difficult to replicate elsewhere. It is this balance which keeps the essence of Farr's 'small gathering' origins strongly alive. This is certainly one party that every festival lover should be desperate to attend.
Words: Georgia Tobin
Photography: Jake Davis for Here & Now