Pro #1: The setting was rurally stunning, set in the depths of the Hertfordshire countryside, endless green peppered with house sized hay bales. After climbing through corn fields squinting what seemed like a festival mirage in the far distance, it felt like you had arrived in a secret fairy woodland, considerable thought had gone into each stage which felt like an impromptu garden party with the shack, badger hole and fox hole inviting revellers into tents walled with hay, grass flowers and lighting that a Tim Burton musical would be proud of.
Pro #2: The diversity of acts and musical genres, and how neatly this was all organised with each record label hosting their own tent, so you knew exactly where to go for your fix of garage, reggae, house, dance and everything in between. Because of the size and vibes you also got the opportunity to have a casual dance with eats everything and get tattoo tips off AZ and Tor.
Pro #3: Super nice friendly genuinely knew what was going on staff.
Pro #4: One bar in a field was inside a bus, which made you feel a bit like you were in that Harry Potter scene where the flying bus arrives to transport you to an alternative universe.
Pro #5: The organisers didn’t try and con you out of precious cider money by concealing all the acts in the secrecy of an overpriced programme, the names of acts were printed on colourful arrows pointing in the direction of the corresponding stage, and there was also programmes with set times stuck to walls inviting the snap happy to take pictures to carry around with them like there own mini photographic Farr festival bible.
Pro #6: There genuinely seemed to be an unlimited supply of real toilet roll in all portaloos, and queues were manageably long to avoid having to seek leafy refuge.
Con #1: There were no showers in the campsite, we know it was a weekend festival, but its always nice to keep hygiene a number one priority, especially when we are in the midst of a heatwave, its festival du jour to rave all night into a sweaty oblivion, oh and some people might want to get laid/ not repulse people on the second day by their stench of stale sweat.
Con #2: After pulling yourself out of the tent come morning time, as lets face it no tent is a comfortable spot for a lie in when it is not too dissimilar to lying on birds nest of nails (if your not smug enough to bring a blow up mattress) with the oxygen ratio likened to the inside a corner shop sized plastic bag, hence everyone gets up early. Cue heading to the festival site to… find not much to do until the music started at 1pm. There was a cinema which showed repeats of the Simpsons, but one guy was so bored he called out to me ‘hey press lady, can you write that there is fuck all to do in the day here’ so I did. It’s not too hard to persuade some real nice art students to create some mind blowing installations, puzzles, furniture, photography, paintings etc in exchange for a free festival ticket and loads of beer, would have been muchly appreciated.
Con #3: The sound. For being a decent cab drive from anything man made, the sound was quiet, I am not sure if this was done deliberately to encourage deep and meaningful conversations amongst festival goers on the dance floor, or to save us all from tinnitus.
Con #4 Not a festival for foodies: culinary choice was sausage, burger, pizza, pie or cereal. Not that your really meant to go to festivals to tot up your Michelin stars anyway…
Conclusion: If Farr had managed to capture some of the atmosphere and magic it was able to create from the magical mystical tents set in the depths of a deserted forest come dusk, put it in a jar, then re-distributed the fairy powder to the rest of the hours in daylight, it could have been something you would want to make a trip to the woodland post office and scrawl on a butterfly wing and write home about. I think in a few years time Farr could be main stage contender, but as it stands on the quiet, yet beautifully curated up and coming stage 6/10