Festival Review: 2000 Trees

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In its ninth year, 2000 Trees has now become a staple event in the festival calendar. Year after year, showcasing the most exciting upcoming acts with the likes of Wolf Alice and Slaves both playing last year’s festival, it is no doubt, that it’s multi-award winning. Nestled in the depths of the Cotswolds, the setting is misleading, leaving attendees surprised at the sheer amount of energy and carnage that runs through it.

Thursday saw the entrance of early bird goers and despite only three of the five stages being open; the day wasn’t short of activities and noise. Headlined by festival favourites, pop-rockers, The Subways, who delivered an explosive end to the first day, Thursday saw the distribution of acts across The Cave, The Forest Sessions and The Croft. The latter hosted the day’s comedy line up, whilst The Forest and The Cave clearly demonstrated the diversity of the festival’s sound. With softer and acoustic sets taking place hidden amongst the woodland area, The Forest saw the likes of Arcane Roots and The Subways take to the area before playing explosive sets at The Cave later. Other highlights from The Forest Sessions came in the way of ‘Trees’ veterans, The Cadbury Sisters and Thrill Collins. Hailing from Cheltenham, Thrill Collins performed a lively set of classic covers, a performance that was to be talked about across the weekend. At The Cave, Bristol punk rockers The St. Pierre Snake Invasion opened the stage with their raucous snarl, before the likes of U&I and We Are The Ocean amongst others took to the stage. Memorable sets came from The Computers, whose energy and catchy riffs equally drew in the crowd and Turbowolf, who following the release of their album ‘Two Hands’ earlier this year, have appeared quite sought after in recent times. Their set made the hype worthwhile as they play a hefty set full of fiery guitar riffs whilst they flourished in the crowd’s enthusiasm.

With the sun gleaming down on the festival site and the soreheads of Thursday’s shenanigans rising, 2000 trees opened its gates to host a whole load of new attendees. With access to all five stages, The Axiom’s bill was kick-started by Plymouth three-piece Woahnows who played a short but power-filled set, whilst The Croft saw Ben Cipolla, a young musician open the stage. With a Palo Nutini-esk style and soulful voice, his vocals and intricate guitar playing enticed an intrigued crowd.

An early highlight on The Axiom came in the form of Sheffield duo Nai Harvest. Their 90s style grunge rock, dipped in melodic psychedelia was both energetic and enticing despite the small crowd. Nothing But Thieves have recently been on pretty much everyone’s radar and with their set at Trees they proved exactly why. With pristine vocals and one of the most cleanly executed sounding performances of the weekend, the band played songs including ‘Itch’ and ‘Wake Up Call.’ They gave a sense of professionalism, but this did not detract from the fun they seemed to be having and bringing to the crowd. For a band with a big sound and big future, the gained the Axiom’s biggest crowd during the daytime.

Glaswegian duo, Honeyblood unsurprisingly attracted a big crowd, with lots of hype surrounding them too on the new music scene and they certainly didn’t fail to live up to the expectations.
Pulled Apart By Horses brought the moshers out in full swing and they seemed more than thrilled to be playing The Cave and festival goers welcomed them back to the festival with open arms.

With Deaf Havana taking to the main stage, a large crowd unexpectedly packed out The Axiom for New Orleans singer and guitarist Benjamin Booker’s intimate and warming set, which proved to be undoubtedly one of the best sets of the whole weekend. His emotive blues rock, backed with rhythm sections, proved to be the perfect ending to Friday’s Axiom bill.

Despite the day’s extensive amount of highlights, Friday did see, however, the cancellation of two sets by Blaenavon and Acollective two of the bands featured in our preview.

Starting off the Saturday, Brummie band Oh Boy! took to The Axiom.

Locals to 2000 Trees, Milk Teeth from Stroud, seem to have gathered quite a following and their set left fans wanting an encore. In fact when their set got cut with one more track to go, both band and crowd pleaded so much they were allowed to play the final song and they did with such vigour and passion. Their energy and punk rock angst, definitely made their set a memorable one.

Jurassic Pop were possibly the oddest band to discover at this year’s festival. With songs actually about Jurassic Park, the crowd seemed confused, intrigued but overly enthused by the band’s wackiness and originality.

The Xcerts seem to have propelled themselves recently and playing the main stage they appeared right at home. With a large crowd and loud anthems, you can’t help but feel that if they had been a little more known it would have been the sing-along moment of the weekend.

Whilst he spent the beginning of his set sat on the ground amongst the crowd, which may have been great for those near him, Jake Isaac drove a fair few people away with his stage/lack of stage antics, with attendees remarking ‘this is ridiculous you can’t even see him’, which of course was a fair point, because you could barely hear him, let alone see him at all. However, once he finally moved onto the stage, his soulful vocals lifted the crowd and had people rushing back to watch, even leading to an encore, in which he sang acapella as everyone sat down to watch.

Bad News also played The Croft and with indie-pop songs the crowd were surprisingly mellow as they chose to sit and watch the band. After begging the crowd to stand up and dance, they finally got people on their feet.

Reggae four-piece The Skints, had a refreshing sound being so different from anyone else across the whole festival. Interacting with the crowd, they left the fans bouncing, dancing and swaying in the summer air. Mixing punk, blues and soul they were the perfect addition to the main stage line up.

This year’s ‘Trees’ really demonstrated the organisers’ promise of discovering great new music, with headliners Deaf Havana and Alkaline Trio seemingly fading in amongst the thriving buzz of the underground.

Sticking to its ethos of value for money, 2000 Trees remains friendly and humble, yet brimming with the best music from the new and the old.

The atmosphere of the festival remains chilled, as if no one has any expectations, but everyone is left pleasantly surprised.

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Images courtesy of 2000 Trees