Thursday 11th July marked the start of the 7th annual 2000 Trees Festival in Upcote Farm, Gloucestershire. With a promising line up of big names like Frank Turner and fan favourites like Beans on Toast, the weekend had the potential to be a great one and to be the only time in it’s history that it didn’t rain during the weekend!
The festival’s site consists of multiple stages which all have slightly different artists on show. The Main stage played host to the headliners and bigger bands of the weekend, whilst the Cave offered slightly more hardcore artists. The Leaf Lounge hosted some lesser know bands and The Greenhouse was home to many acoustic sets throughout the weekend.
Friday night’s headliners were Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls and Saturday’s were Mystery Jets. Other bands playing the festival included Stornoway, King Charles, Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun and Funeral for a Friend. Some bands were invited to play multiple sets over the weekend on different stages and many were happy to perform previous collaborations, with Frank Turner appearing alongside Jim Lockey and Emily Barker during their sets, respectively.
In recent shows Frank Turner has been performing some of his previous albums in full and on Thursday, early bird ticket holders were treated to a solo acoustic set by the English folk singer-songwriter, where he surprised the excited crowd by playing the entirety of his 2008 album, Love, Ire & Song.
On Friday, The Greenhouse stage was taken over by Xtra Mile, the UK based record label of artists such as Frank Turner, Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun, Ben Marwood. Artists from the label who were signed up to play full band sets on other stages around the site also performed stripped back and acoustic sets. The label is currently celebrating its 10th year and this takeover showcased the wealth of talent Xtra Mile has signed to its roster. This event proved Xtra Mile to be one of the most interesting and exciting labels at the moment in the UK.
Some of the highlights of the weekend included Beans on Toast headlining The Greenhouse stage, where a crowd packed the tent and surrounding area to sing along to his amusing and sometimes political songs. He performed shortly before Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls were to take to the Main stage at the other end of the site and following Beans on Toast’s set, the audience, many of whom are fans of both Beans on Toast and Frank Turner, were warned “not to run” by event organisers. Over the weekend the temperature reached highs of 30ºC but that didn’t stop the festival go-ers being energetic! The warning by 2000trees staff summed up the atmosphere and the excitement of the crowd and with 20 minutes to go before Frank Turner took to the stage the audience were boisterous and already chanting.
Frank Turner is known for the quality of his live shows and has a massive and fast-growing fan base not only in the UK but around the world. He certainly did not disappoint on Friday evening. Despite some sound issues at the start of the set, he and his band performed a range of songs from his 8 year career as a solo artist and was the perfect headliner to finish the first full day of the festival. At one point during the set he remarked that the success of the day had proven that 2000trees was the best UK festival and for many people it would be hard to disagree.
Saturday night’s headliners Mystery Jets were the perfect end to the festival. After what had been an incredibly hot and tiring weekend their indie rock gave the opportunity for die-hard fans to sing along and for other attendees to relax in the field and enjoy their a varied set list which included their hits Two Doors Down and Young Love.
The tagline of the festival is “New and Underground UK Music” and that is exactly what was on offer at 2000trees this year. There were many bands during the weekend that were unknown to some of the festival-goers but there were none that disappointed, with plenty of attendees going home with new music to enjoy, even Frank Turner announced that after watching a set by The Cadbury Sisters that they were his new favourite band. The whole weekend was littered with surprise acoustic performances at the multiple ‘busk stops’ around the site and fan-created camps, Camp Reuben and Camp Turner were lucky enough to receive acoustic performances from many of the artists playing the festival.
Aside from the entertainment that was on show, the site was full of local food and drink stalls, offering high quality food with something for everyone – no one was forced to eat usual festival food and settle for a poor quality burger and chips, some of the products on sale included crepes, chorizo and there were plenty of vegan and vegetarian options too! In 2010, 2000trees won 2nd best toilets at the UK Festival Awards and in 2013 it is still obvious why. These facilities, including hand sanitizer and toilet paper, were checked and replaced all weekend so there are no festival toilet horror stories here!
It is almost impossible to find fault with the festival as a whole and before it was even over I was already thinking about purchasing my ticket for 2014!
Above you can enjoy a YouTube playlist of some the best artists who performed at the festival or to find out more about 2000trees Festival please visit: http://www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk/
Photos by Nardia Bell and Ros Boyes.