2000 Trees Festival proved once again why it’s one of the best and chilled festivals in the UK. Not only was the music amazing throughout the weekend but it provided a lot of peace and harmony with everyone just wanting to enjoy themselves. Despite only going on the Friday and Saturday, the festival started on Thursday 6th July and had some great comedy acts playing at the Neu Stage. Mallory Knox was the standout act on Thursday night but it also provided up and coming bands such as Black Foxxes, Feed the Rhino, Roam, Pulled Apart Horses and Bare Knuckle Parade who also played throughout the weekend with a special bar set.
The Friday and Saturday both provided great weather despite there being a little bit of rain on Friday but it was much needed with the mosh pits going on at the main stage. Having got set up and meeting James Veck-Gilodi, it was nice to actually watch the guy play a Deaf Havana acoustic set over at the Forest Sessions. He played one of the band’s latest songs Fever and it was a special moment that attracted hundreds of fans in a beautiful surrounding. It was made even more special when James started playing Oasis’ Wonderwall when asking fans what to play. He put a great twist to the song, and it really showed off the special vocals that James has. James then played Mildred (A Lost Friend) which was a more well-known song to fans but it was a great end to the special yet calming set.
Canadian band The Dirty Nil then played The Axiom and put 110% into their set. The band started off with the brilliant No Weaknesses which really got everyone off their feet and started to create the sort of atmosphere 2000 Trees expects to. With the likes of Nicotine and Smoking is Magic to follow, the set was certainly an eye-catching one and for someone who hasn’t even heard of the band prior to the festival, I was impressed.
I managed to catch Greywind then at The Neu Stage as they played Safe Haven, Car Spin, Circles and more to a packed out tent. The brother and sister act has really come far in this last year and Steph O’Sullivan’s ferocious vocals really got the crowd in good spirit for the evening to come. Her vocals really complimented Paul’s instrumental playing while the backing band also provided an extra bit of atmosphere to the set.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes then took to the main stage, a band with a lot of fans waiting eagerly to watch them. They started off with Juggernaut that really got their fans and thousands of other people on their feet and there was an electric feel to the festival from then on. Lullaby then followed, however, the highlight for me was Snake Eyes that included a rather cool drum solo by Gareth Grover which was then complimented by the awesome vocals of Carter himself. Overall it was a great set and perfectly set up the main act on the evening which was Nothing But Thieves.
There were a lot of people wearing Nothing But Thieves t-shirts throughout the weekend so you knew this band was much loved by 2000 Trees. They started with Ban All The Music which was a perfect start to a set with the iconic vocals of Connor Mason that really got the thousands of people in the mood to mosh and just have a good time. One of their most popular songs Trip Switch then followed after Wake Up Call and the track really sounded awesome live. The song that features on the popular game series of EA Sports’ FIFA certainly had a catchy feeling to it and the lead singer’s high pitched perfect vocals really gave you goosebumps. The band ended on their latest single Amsterdam which was a great way to end a set and left fans wanting more.
I then checked out the silent disco until the early hours on both Main Stage and The Cave and it was incredible that despite there being no music at all playing out loud, it still created a great community of music lovers. So with the Friday being a complete success, I had one more day left at this magical festival site at Gloucestershire’s Upcote Farm. Despite being a little bit wobbly in the morning, I managed to get a good amount of sleep with the majority of Camp Turner going to sleep at a reasonable time and creating no trouble at all. What made it even more special on Friday is that I camped up with a friend that I met last year at 2000 Trees and it was like we never left apart with the festival atmosphere really bringing everyone together. I also managed to meet a special person who I had as my plus one who never been to 2000 Trees before and it seemed she enjoyed every minute of it.
On Saturday morning we sampled some of the food on offer and I have to say it was amazing throughout the weekend and the festival certainly picked the right catering vans for the campers who needed hot food. However, despite this, you could actually bring in any liquids (including alcohol) and food to all the stages in the Main Stage, therefore, one could imagine business was slow at some points of the weekend.
With music playing from 10.30 on the Forest Sessions, it would have been rude not to take advantage of this so I caught Honeyblood’s acoustic set in the early afternoon and I have to say it created a really magical feeling. Despite it only being 30 minutes long, it was great to see the lead singer Stina Tweeddale really come into her element like she did on the Main Stage performance later that day. All girl group Peaness then played on The Neu Stage and started off with Seafoam Islands which managed to attract a lot of passing people to enter the tent early on. The band finished on Fortune Favours The Bold and I have to say these girls have a lot of potential to be a big band.
It was then off to The Main Stage in a busy schedule of top bands as Spring King then played in front of a lively crowd and created a fair few mosh pits. What’s unique about this band is the lead singer Tarek Musa is actually the drummer also. They started on Better Man then Detroit as the sun started to shine and the band just added to that festival feeling everyone loves. My personal highlights were City and Who Are You purely because of the catchiness of the songs and once again Who Are You being a track on the popular game series FIFA. Overall Spring King totally rocked the main stage. It was then back to The Neu Stage as the Petrol Girls certainly provided a political performance for their fans. Fuelled by feminist convictions, lead singer Ren Aldridge provided an interesting talk before each song that really made fans think and agree with the singer. With songs from their latest album Talk of Violence, it was always going to be a controversial set however really the music talked for itself with its powerful lyrics and ferocious vocals.
Gnarwolves was then up on the Main Stage and they were a kind of band that I’ve always heard of on the scene but never got round to watching them live. They started with Straight Jacket with lead singer Thom Weeks heading the Brighton-based trio in front of a packed out crowd. With the likes of Smoking Kills and Wires, this was always going to be an electric set. But for me, Bottle to Bottle was my favourite and it really had a mixture of clean vocals and hard hitting riffs that created a sing along atmosphere. This is a kind of band that are just going to get bigger and bigger and they created awesome mosh pits from their hardcore fans as well as fans like me who have just gotten into them. I then quickly caught a bit of The One Hundred’s set at The Cave and guys have a lot of potential to be something special. With a mixture of genres from grime metal to metalcore, The One Hundred who is fronted by Jacob Field really gave everything to their set and ended on their catchy song Downfall.
I decided to have a bit of rest then and managed to catch Lower Than Atlantis’ set on the Main Stage which was a great feeling as lead singer Mike Duce totally got everyone on their feet. They started off with a newer song from their latest album which was titled Had Enough but soon played a classic with Emily. English Kids In America was then performed later on and the whole crowd sang the majority of the track which was a great sight to see. This band really knows how to engage with fans as they ended on another catchy pop rock song Here We Go that could attract a whole host of fans leaving Lower Than Atlantis a really dynamic band with still bags of potential.
With just an hour to wait, I managed to catch the last Main Stage act which was punk duo Slaves. I heard a lot of buzz coming from this band beforehand so I was excited to finally see them live. The Kent duo Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman made fans almost begging for more after which is always a sign of a great band. They started off with Cheer Up London and this was a great way to get things started with a packed out crowd eagerly waiting for their favourite songs from the band to be played. With the likes of Do Something and STD’s/PHD’s, it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves and crowd surfing. Before an encore, the band finished on Hey which I think was a good choice as it allowed the duo to finally finish on The Hunter which I myself even crowd surfed too. It was an awesome way to finish on and with lots of Forest Session still yet to come, it was a great way to end the live music on the Main Stage. Of course, the festival wasn’t finished totally with the Silent Disco being played throughout the festival arena and the Brilliant Bare Knuckle Parade playing an awesome bar set.
With Saturday over, it was time to go home but luckily I managed to find an school mate who gave me a lift back and saved me quite a journey. It’s hard to describe how special 2000 Trees is, in just one piece but it truly is a very special festival and it attracts some very special people. In fact, there was even a wedding that went on at The Forest Session! Overall I think next year will be even better and I can see this festival getting even more popular however I think the size and feel are perfect as it is.
Some more images from Marcus Emmerson.