This year I had a fantastic opportunity to join the 8th edition of an electronic music heaven a.k.a Farr Festival held in a forest in Hertfordshire, England. What felt at first more like a friendly gathering in 2009, has now evolved into one of the UK’s leading electronic music festivals, boasting of not only its flawlessly curated international acts but also of its own regular flamboyant crowd of music gourmands. And if listening to a line-up of fantastic musical talent while being surrounded by cornfields, wild grass and intimate woodlands do not make you want to join along the ride… You should probably stop reading now, because from here on — it gets even better.
The eighth edition of the festival has brought an array of diverse international talent, new stages, daytime experiences, such as cocktail masterclasses, DISCO Dodgeball’s water slide, meditation classes and various different activities and performers. All, of course, spread out over the four days of pure music and nature. Even though most of the stages were still located in the woods, new additions gave the festival a more well-rounded layout feel, it spread out the entire area more to accommodate the growing demand.
This year there were six stages with each stage presenting different and unique moments. From highly produced performances of the likes like Red Axes, Todd Terje at the Factory, a fire blasting staged walled by containers; to captivating disco vibes created by Floating Points at The Shack.
Such musical and atmospheric variety have attracted quite a diverse audience that could roam around the festival freely and without a trouble picking out what to listen to depending on their taste and mood.
Without a doubt, Farr Festival is a festival known for the amazing electronic acts, but it’s amazing installations and decorations were just as alluring. Not only that but its activities too! Anyone who felt fancy or missed home comforts had the opportunity to relax and take a dip into a hot-tub with a glass of bubbly. And inside the festival site, there were a lot of sights to explore, from food (vegetarian and vegan options too!) vendors, carousels to vintage clothing shops.
For us, the key to the success of Farr Festival was definitely its intimate size, selection of artist and location. Festival, very obviously, is getting more and more recognition amongst the music-centrics. It’s very well curated line-up, beautiful and playful decorations, delicious food and thoughtful layout is a definitely a recipe for success, as this year proved.
We really enjoyed the ride and can’t wait to see what they have planned for the next year. Are you coming along?
I am counting the seconds…
While laying here on your narrow bed.
It feels like a forever has passed since I woke up and yet you are still in the dream world… Probably chasing the ghosts of the past or getting spooked by unclear and formless illusions of the future.
Time and space are dancing with the regular specks of dust, creating thick heaviness in the room that is grounding my chest and locking me down. Yeah, and because of that I can’t get up and leave. Probably because of that. Most certainly. Not.
I’m staring at the ceiling now.
You are facing the wall.
Just our air-grasping diaphragms are moving. Repeating up and down motion through our entire lives.
I raise my pointing finger up and start drawing fruits of imagination on your dirty white ceiling. Little creatures and whatnot.
Carving them in really carefully…
I bet you’ll never notice them and yet they’ll stay here forever. Watching after you… For me.
Oh… My hand just gives up and starts falling – it can no longer fight this chaotic and dense mixture in the air. At the exact moment when it comes into collision with the bed, you start waking up.
Still, it takes a forever later, for you to open your eyes. But once you do, the room starts slowly getting filled with your presence. Pushing the dust, space and time out through the tiny crack in the window, which is just in front of my bare, cold feet.
I stare into your eyes.
You stare into mine.
I close my eyes while you touch my hair.
Let me soak into you…
I don’t talk much. You don’t too.
You see? You’re so close.
And each day you get one step closer. To a tiny piece of armour.
Isn’t there a tiny shield between our hearts? Protecting us from the instability and the overbearingness of raw emotions.
We are tiptoeing a lot around each other. This fragile dialogue between our hearts and souls is still indefinably charming.
Alarm disrupts us. I am hesitating but finally, I get out of the bed, leaving behind you and wrapped up in a thick blanket. Before closing the doors, I smile at the creatures above your head and you. But here you are just laying there and facing the wall again. Occupied with chasing the ghosts and formless illusions.
If only you knew the things that happen when I’m with you without you.
There’s a girl sitting in the corner of this family run cafe that I am a regular at. The coffee here is really great. Ethiopian kind and always brewed to perfection with a refreshing acidity and sweet stone fruit undertones. I usually pop by to read a book and have a cup of espresso on sluggish Sunday mornings since my place is nearby. And today I came with the intentions of carrying out the ritual, except, somehow… I very nearly failed to do so.
Well, first of all, It seemed that the typical, nonchalant atmosphere that filled the room was replaced with curiosity sparked by the corner girl instead. Her drink caught my eyes particularly. I took a notice of her at the moment when she started lifting a Bavarian teacup decorated with blue roses towards almost-inconceivably opened lips. I never saw anyone drink from such a peacocky tableware here, I swear, and that really started to rack my brains. So, as a simpleton that I am, I just decided to order what she’s having, hoping to feed my brains with some answers to vague and formless questions.
“Can I have one of those?” I tried subtly pointing towards the lady when Luke, the barista, asked for my order.
“Sure” he only lukewarmly smiled, almost as if he knew what I was up to.
He took off right away and I just went back to investigating the stranger. When the peach-coloured pillows of mouth reached the riff – she stopped for a millisecond and then proceeded to carefully sip from the, what it seemed to be the most fragile, porcelain cup.
She, and now I, are having “salted sakura tea”, as Luke points out while putting down the same flashy cup on my table a few moments later. “Wow,” I think out loud, and by the way, that’s the irony in me reacting. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it was just a tiny, pinkish petal drowning in a cup of boiling-hot water. And here I am, still staring at the mysterious woman. I guess by doing that I’m hoping to figure out the taste of the pretentious tea before going in for the kill. Can’t explain the precaution, though, as I am a bit of a daredevil by a rule of thumb. It’s just something’s off with the cup and with the colourless tea and the girl too. All of it feels like a flaky love letter to 80s.
What mostly throws me off is that this unfamiliar corner habitat seems confused or rather unfocused (you see I’m terrible at recognising other people’s emotions) on the taste of the tea. She has her gaze locked on the greenery in the opposite corner of the coffee shop instead.
“Is she seeing something that I’m not?” I attempt to take a better look at the flora…
The harmony of the greenery and the shadow-striped floor fabricated by the window jalousie stops my thoughts for a moment… For a brief second, or perhaps even longer, my entire body – limbs, knuckles, nerve system, and soul (if you believe in one), gets swallowed by the overwhelming calamity and nothingness… I dissolve within the scene.
Then a life or a few minutes later,
I’m being brought back to senses and back to my consciousness by a very light and fragile, almost cherry-like fragrance coming from the direction of the cup. I look down and the sakura petal is somewhat obscurely fluttering within the crystal clear water. As if it is about to reach a metamorphosis, a transcendence of some sort. Perhaps it is diffusing too? Or… Am I witnessing a teacup storm here?
The corners of my mouth go up. I chuckle on my own like a proper cuckoo case. On these rare occasions of the cognitive shift, when the dialogue between my conscious and unconscious minds change and when the triple threat – ego, id, and superego – disappear… I become part of something bigger, or rather, I understand the smallness and precious ridiculousness of ‘myself’. “Was I experiencing an ‘overview effect’ just now? Was that… the aroma of the tea?”
Suddenly, I knock out of it to realise that I’m still looking at this sakura-tea girl. I catch her watching me watching her. Well, my eyes are open and it seems that I’m looking her way when in ‘reality’ I was looking at the entire universe just now.
She timidly smiles and goes back to analysing the flora and fauna of the cafe.
“Were there actually two of us fusing into space?” I mutter to myself.
Fuck, I wonder why these days every stranger clouds my mind with stardust?
I decide to finally try the salted sakura tea and It tastes like nothing, with a bit of salt.
Before opening my book and landing back on the planet, I ordered a cup of espresso.
Photo by @chris_edfi for ASOS menswear
I remember meeting Ethan for the very first time over at our Hype Influencers’ BMW experience. He was carrying a skateboard with him while slowly approached the rest of the group — he immediately stood out from the crowd with his fresh and witty style, and laid back attitude. I remember thinking that this kid definitely has really good people skills, and I think for this exact reason I levitated towards the guy. It wasn’t long before I found myself enjoying Ethan’s company, kicking back with tunes by the late Prince, and exploring the city in a convertible. Later his smooth dance moves put my own to shame and from then on we really started getting to know each other. Ethan joined in at our Hype Influencer night a couple of days later and after hearing his opinions about lifestyle, skateboarding and art, I decided to catch up and ask him a few questions about his own ifs and buts, does and dont’s
Barbara. What’s your story?
Ethan. My name is Ethan Robert Richards, but people call me Bushy, ’cause of my eyebrows. I’m 20-years-old, I was born in Leicester, but grew up in London. As you can imagine, I’m so happy we won the league, this has been a good year for Leicester and for me. I guess my passions are fashion, skateboarding and I guess art in general. I am a full-time model and an amateur street skateboarder.
B. What are your favourite cities for enjoying life?
E. That’s a hard question. Thanks to my amazing mum, I was able to travel a lot as a child, but I would have to say Florida and New York, also Montserrat and Saint Lucia — they may not be cities, but they are beautiful places. My mum’s side of the family are actually from Montserrat.
Photos by @deesixish
‘I want to create something beautiful — I love being a canvas for something someone has created. I’m inspired by my desire to explore and see the world, and by people doubting me at the beginning.’
B. What kind of places do you like to spend time at with your friends?
Image from @bushybroweth
B. How would you describe your personal style in three words?
E. Cool, simple and edgy.
B. Anything exciting you have planned for this year?
E. London Collections Men is next month, and I have a skate advert that I shot coming out soon. To be honest, I try not to plan too much — I like to take each day as it comes.
B. Let’s talk modelling. What inspires you?
E. My love for art, I guess. I want to create something beautiful — I love being a canvas for something someone has created. I’m inspired by my desire to explore and see the world, and by people doubting me at the beginning.
B. Can you tell us what led you on this path?
E. My friend Meldon told me to go to this casting, ’cause he said I would get it, and I did.
‘My goals are to inspire people to live their dreams, anything is possible. I didn’t have the easiest time in school — I want people to understand that there is nothing wrong with being different.’
Photo by @vickygrout for i-D Magazine
B. What’s your #1 good photo tip?
E. My good photo tip would have to be — treat the camera as your best friend. Let it compliment you.
B. From all of your photoshoots, which one stood out as being a real highlight and why?
E. The one I did for Pause Online. It was my first shoot for a magazine — it made me realise I had a future in modelling.
B. Do you have any limitations? Would you model any kind of clothing at all?
E. No. And I guess it depends if I agree with what the company stands for.
Photo by @photographybysiri for ASOS menswear
B. How has social media helped you?
E. It has helped me a lot, it allows me to make a living doing the things I love — and funny enough the first time I got scouted was at a party.
B. What tips would you give readers hoping to grow their own following?
E. Be yourself.
B. Where do you see yourself in, let’s say, the next couple of years?
E. My goals are to inspire people to live their dreams, anything is possible. I didn’t have the easiest time in school — I want people to understand that there is nothing wrong with being different.
Image by @eddyline for OurStory Magazine
B. What do you think about the industry’s beauty standards?
E. I think things have changed a lot in the past couple of years. Modelling is about being unique and standing for something.
B. What does get you the job: — look or attitude? Or both?
E. I think a bit of both. I’ve always been sociable and good with people, but i I think my look has gotten stronger with time.
B. What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of taking this path?
E. Free boards, clothes, food, travelling and I’ve met some amazing people.
You can find this post on Medium.
I cannot get away.
From the sea,
From seeing things,
From scanning you,
From diverting my gaze,
From catching yours,
From keeping silent,
From breaking silence,
From the turbulence,
From tremendous thinking,
I cannot keep my mind occupied anymore.
As I’ve been thinking of you.
Hey. It’s been awhile. Yes, yes I know… We said we’ll keep in touch. But having in mind our past cases – we already could foresee what’s going to happen for us. In fact, it wasn’t even that hard, predicting the cards, I mean. I guess my dream of becoming a freelance-fortuneteller has somewhat worked out, right? (millionaire freelance-fortuneteller is the next title I’m working on)
I want to see how long did your hair grow? I cut mine entirely. Can you imagine? Just chopped it off… Like That!
Do you know I have two alien tattoos now? The first one… Well, I was kind of a-little-perhaps-a-lot drunk for the first one, but can you imagine that the second was planned? Yup, Intentional, with the capital I, where the I in it was maybe a little tipsy the night when the decision was made. I’m still full of surprises… And, of course, alcohol. Nothing’s changed in that department. Good old whiskey, gin & wine recruitment agency is busy as ever.
What’s next… Oh, a smiley piercing. Yup, that too. It’s such a teenage rebellion cliche, but I guess my age nullifies the whole banality thing. I’m still a cool cucumber. (as cool as a person that uses ‘cool cucumber’ in a sentence gets),
Physical changes aside, did I tell you about my shifting locale? I lived in Japan for awhile and officially became a Buddhist there (they gave me a diploma).
My Sweet baby ramen, I miss you.
Stayed with monks and climbed many many mountains… It was breath-taking and sometimes lonely (climbing in silence with no one around can be intimidating) but most of it was adventurous. I would love to tell you more about it, but it deserves a whole another story. I’ll keep it for later. For that wine & cheese night that we usually do. I mean did… But maybe will do once again too?
And what did I tell you? The recruitment agency always means business. CHINK
How much time has passed already?
I forgot to count. 1 time, 2 times, 3 times… Well, logically and grammatically this sentence does not even make sense. One does not simply count time in units. But whatever the case – it still feels like it’s at least 100s times passed the last time I saw you.
I remember saying goodbye. In fact, we didn’t do much. It was more like an exchange of a couple blinks, smiles, fluctuating voice tones and hand waves. This lame order finalised our many years together. We should be more dramatic, that way I could at least squeeze up a good story to tell. With what we have I can only scrape an ‘end’ and a ‘story’. NUTTIN MUCH, YA KNOW.
Seas, mountains, hair, tattoos and loads of other stuff are becoming part of an evidence that I will be held against you. Evidence of time passing. Because I told you, it’s uncountable. Time is fluid. Unstoppable. Running. Melting and diffusing.
So I thought, maybe… Maybe, at least, I can show you.
Hey, it’s been awhile.