On 28 July, hordes of Bristolians headed to Somerset’s beautiful countryside for the 12th annual Farmfest. Recognised for its huge personality and ability to seamlessly combine everything from dub, rock, techno, disco, comedy, art and more. Farmfest succeeds in being a family friendly festival that leaves you feeling both completely relaxed while also tickling your inner party animal.

We leaped straight aboard the Soul Express where hosts Vintage Mobile Disco drove us down to disco land

By the time we were able to arrive on Friday, the sun had already set and the party was well underway. After quickly setting up the tent in the rain, we ran down the already sloshy path, ready to absorb a beautiful array of lights before us. We leaped straight aboard the Soul Express where hosts Vintage Mobile Disco drove us down to disco land. The all-vinyl legends really know how to get a party started and before we knew it we’d been dancing for hours.

After centering our bearings, we headed over to catch Bristol bass badass Pinch over at The Den. Once again, we got caught up in the moment and completely forgot that over on the main stage the legendary Squarepusher was reppin’ his latest project Shobaleader One. And though in hindsight we definitely shouldn’t have missed that lazer- filled, visual wonderland, instead we grabbed a rather delightful hog roast roll before returning to the music.

Next on our agenda was DJ Yoda with a classic hip hop set over in The Big Blue, where the crowd was pumping. With so many good acts, we decided to cut the set short and go check out a grungy, psychedelia-laced rock band named The Greasy Slicks in The Sett. They were a stark contrast to the electronically-heavy evening we usually expose ourselves to, but this great band actually ended up to be one of our highlights of the entire festival.

The Greasy Slicks were a stark contrast to the electronically-heavy evening we usually expose ourselves to, but this great band actually ended up to be one of our highlights of the entire festival

We spent the rest of Friday night with local notorious Bristol party crew Shapes. Longterm members ELA 303 have featured a few times on our summer lineups and they are guaranteed to guide you perfectly into the early hours.

We headed back to the tent and before we knew it we had woken up to another rather rainy sky, not that it dampened anyones spirits too much and by mid-morning the festival was full of smiling faces. The DIY fancy dress at this festival is amazing and hence forth the people watching added a whole new level to this event – particularly when it came to the annual hat competition which, my god, is entertaining.

Though I have to mention that Farmfest is also recognised for comedy, despite our best intentions we did not check much of it out – distracted by the huge lineup across all the other stages.

Saturday was when we discovered the High Grade Rockers Dub Sound system. The crew provided endless inspirational roots and their self-produced dubplates sounded so phat on the system. Over in the Shapes tent,  DJ collective and platform for female-identified/genderqueer artists, Rhythm Sister were stealing the show. Jess Farley, Tutu, Sammy and Litte kept the tent full from 12pm-4pm and their tune choice was on point.

Unfortunately the weather was pretty horrific the whole of Saturday and the outdoor main stage definitely saw  the brunt of it. Though we still managed to have a rather muddy boogie to Deli Sosimi’s Afrobeat Orchestra, it seemed that the stage didn’t really pick up as much as previous years until headliner Roots Manuva took to the stage.  Regardless of the now torrential rain throwing itself at us, families and friends of all ages were in great spirits singing along to Let The Spirit  and Witness. 

Farmfest’s organisers seem to have a superhuman knowledge of music and art

Farmfest’s organisers seem to have a superhuman knowledge of music and art, as well as being able to plan and successfully put on one of the best festivals in the South West. It’s a shame it wont be on next year, but we cannot wait for it to return.

© Photography by Sin Mei Lam for Here & Now 

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