Tag Archives: 2000Trees Festival

Two Thousand Trees 2013 – A Review

This review is a touch late (by about 6 months), but here goes anyway.

It’s now February, and, after one of the wettest starts to the year on record, my memories of 2000Trees Festival last summer have faded into a happy, hazy blur.

2012’s festival was defined by mud. Mud, mud, mud. Mud in rivers throughout the site. Oh, and rain. That’s not to say we didn’t have a good time, but the weather made most things a struggle. Last year, however, was like some mystical force had decided – for the first time in the festival’s history – that it was about time that Trees didn’t have any rain at all. In blazing Gloucestershire sunshine; 2013 would be defined by heat.

But the weather isn’t the main reason you go to a festival; Two Thousand Trees prides itself on lining up the best underground UK bands, and that pride is not misplaced. Over the years I’ve seen a few bands play here who have gone on to enjoy greater success, Frank Turner being the obvious example.

The line-up this year included two sets from Frank on the Thursday Early Entry and Friday nights, but as a firm favourite here, he popped up unofficially too and for each performance was greeted like a returning hero. Thursday night’s solo performance was a personal highlight for me, especially as I missed his ‘secret’ set* over at Camp Reuben on Friday. There was a good reason for this though – wandering round the site, we’d bumped into Dave McPherson trying to find his way up to the new secret garden area, accompanied him up there and stuck around to watch him play his own secret set. Which was awesome.

Other weekend music highlights included InMe in the Cave (which left me with moshpit bruises, but was so much fun – and loud… really loud!), Stealing Sheep’s impressive and innovative set headlining the Leaf Lounge, which ended in an outdoor un-amplified performance with their marching band (a joyous thing indeed), Stornoway on the main stage (despite sound issues that delayed the start of their set) and an emotional Ben Marwood playing to an adoring crowd at the Treehouse.

Ben Marwood at 2000Trees 2013

Ben Marwood at 2000Trees 2013

And let’s not forget eating icecream from the Split Screen Icecream Company, basking in the shade of the tree with cider, playing on the busk stops scattered through the site, and the delicious freshly-made pizza.

There were one or two negatives – the heat over the weekend was intense (the temperature in our tent was 50°C at one point! Phew) and hard to cope with at times (not that I am knocking the sunshine, just not being able to take a break from it), the sound on the main stage had a few more issues than it has in previous years, and a few people that we spoke to reported problems with security.

For me though, 2000Trees is still a fim favourite festival and I am definitely going to return again this year for more of the same – great line-up, great food and great times.

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*I seem to have a habit of missing Frank’s unofficial appearances at Trees – the first year we went, hubby and I woke up to singing in the middle of the night, thinking ‘that sounds like Frank Turner…’. Too tired to get up and investigate, we discovered in the morning that it was indeed Mr Turner, resulting in a now-legendary campsite sing-along, which we missed.

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My Essential Festival Checklist

It’s nearly festival time!

Festival campsite

2000trees campsite, 2010 (I think)


The first ‘proper’ festival that we’re attending this year is TwoThousandTrees near Cheltenham. It’s a great little festival and I am definitely looking forward to it, despite the doom and gloom forecast by our friends at the Met Office.

Hubby and I have been to a fair few festivals together over the years, so we like to think that we’ve got the preparation part down to a fine art (through learning experiences like that time we forgot both matches and lighter so we couldn’t light our camping stove…).

So, in the hopes of helping out first time revellers and in excitement for this momentous weekend coming, I thought I’d share my list of festival essentials for the prepared and happy camper:

  • Tickets – Seems pretty obvious, but don’t forget your tickets! And not just your festival tickets – make sure you have your travel or parking tickets sorted too.
  • Money – There’s usually a cash machine somewhere on a festival site, but there’s also usually a massive queue. Bring enough to keep you going, but keep it safe.
  • Tent and sleeping bag (of course) – Your home for the duration. Check that your tent and bedding are still ok before going if you haven’t used them for a while. Or, if you’ve got a shiny new tent, make sure you know how to put it up. Ever tried to put up an unfamiliar tent when it’s pouring and all your stuff is getting soaked? Believe me, it’s not fun.
  • Emergency phone – Note the word emergency there.. It is a most sensible thing to have a phone with you, especially if you’re with a group. But please, please don’t spend your whole time texting when you’re watching bands. It’s annoying for the people around you, and it’s more fun for everyone if you let yourself get into the music (sorry, personal bug-bear!).
  • Waterproofs – If you’re out in a field for a few days with only a tent for shelter, it’s bound to rain at some point – this is Britain! And with the summer being as wet as it has been this year, forget your waterproofs at your peril….
  • Wellies and comfy welly socks – Wet ground gets pretty churned up with thousands of people treading on it, so wellies are a definite must. It always amazes me how often you see people wandering around sporting the ‘soaked trainers with ineffective plastic bags over the top’ look.

    The welly socks are a must for me to help stop my always-very-cold feet getting very cold. It won’t work, but I’ll try anyway. Thick socks also keep your feet comfy when you have to walk around a lot between stages.
  • Suncream and Shades – It’s unlikely to be sunny for 2000Trees this year (boo!), but even wet days can have sunny spells. Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun as you can get burnt much more quickly than you expect, especially if you’re fair-skinned like me.
  • Torch – Guy ropes are hard enough to see in the daytime, let alone at night. Sites normally have lighting round the stages, but getting through a mess of tents without a torch (and after a few drinks) is very, very tricky.
  • Wipes and Loo Roll – Toilet wipes and wet wipes/baby wipes. Baby wipes are good for general hygiene/cleaning up. Toilet wipes and toilet paper for any nasty surprises in the cubicle… put them in your bag or pocket so you’re not caught out! I don’t normally recommend specific products on this blog, but Method Flushable Wipes are pretty good and are environmentally friendly too.
  • Snacks – There’s some pretty tasty food stalls at festivals these days, but the cost of buying ALL your food on site adds up. Hubby and I normally take snacks and some emergency tins of beans etc. And tea. Because I run on tea.
  • Camping Stove and Pans – To heat up said emergency beans. Washing up gear is useful too, but bulky – hubby and I tend to take a sponge and then use our bigger pan as the bowl… a tea towel is also helpful when you don’t have anywhere to put wet pans. Oh, and don’t forget the lighter…
  • Prescription Medicines/Minor Injury Kit – If you have to take medicines regularly then you’ll probably automatically pack them, but it’s easy to forget everyday remedies like hay fever medicine (might just be me…!). Take some plasters, antiseptic wipes/cream and some insect bite cream for those minor mis-haps, and take note of where the medical tent is so you know where to go on the off-chance that something more serious happens.
  • Clothes – Take clothes that layer well together. Being a comfort-over-fashion kind of girl, I am definitely an advocate of bringing plenty of warm comfy clothes, which is a challenge when trying to pack lightly. However, even if you’re a proper fashionista, layers are still a good idea – then you can look good and be warm.

    It’s a good idea to keep a spare set of clothes in your tent that do not leave it. That way you’ve always got something dry to put on. Trust me, it can make a heck of a difference after a couple of hours in the rain.
  • Scissors and String – It’s really surprising how often you need a pair of scissors when you don’t have any to hand. And string is useful for lots of festival things: stringing up a banner so you can find your tent easily, bodged tent repairs, tying stuff to your rucksack to make it easier to carry home – the list goes on.
  • Main stage, 2000Trees

    Main stage, 2000Trees 2009 (not sure who’s playing, sorry)

  • Your sense of fun – Seeing as most of this list is full of sensible advice about being prepared, it’s worth remembering that festivals are about fun, music and letting yourself go a bit. So enjoy!

I’ve probably forgotten something – but hopefully this list will help you be festival-ready, especially if it’s your first time. Let me know in the comments if you think I’ve missed something important, or if you have any of your own tips for festival survival. I love hearing from you!

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2000Trees 2011: A Review of One Girl’s Festival Weekend

Two Thousand Trees Festival holds a special place in my heart.

This year was our fourth of attending the eco-minded, friendly little festival based in Withington, near Cheltenham, and previous years haven’t failed to impress.

Unlike last year, we didn’t manage to persuade any of our friends to join us for the weekend, but that didn’t deter our high spirits as we arrived on Thursday late afternoon. Already loud guitars could be heard emanating from new stage, The Cave, as we pitched up our tent within sight of the main stage. 2000Trees is about discovering new and exciting music and, although I have seen a couple of the bands on the line up before,  it was with an open mind that I approached this year’s festival.

We started out heading to The Cave to catch one of our local favourites, OST (it would have been rude not to). Their set seamlessly blended elements of dance, heavy rock, classical piano and pumping bass lines to create a sound which is uniquely theirs. It rocks, yet you can’t help but dance to it.

Heading up to the littlest stage of the festival, The Greenhouse (a sweet, tiny stage set in a field full of poppies with a natural slope, so everyone could see and hear clearly – nice) we caught comedy act, Flange Krammer (Power Horse!), before returning to The Cave for Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun’s fantastic set of punk-influenced folk songs.

I think we ended up back at The Greenhouse for the end of the evening, but copious amounts of cider have made my recollection a little hazy in this area… it was fun anyway… I think some funny people called Bob and Jim were involved somewhere…

Friday dawned with a hangover, some lovely bright sunshine and an exciting day of music ahead of us. Breakfast, strong tea and a walk round the nature trail sorted out the hangover, so that just left the music and sunshine!

We caught The Anomalies on the main stage for an up-beat, hip-hop influenced start, followed by the fantastic Dive Dive for some jagged yet catchy post-hardcore (see my review of latest album, Potential here, if you like). Next up was Oxygen Thief at The Greenhouse, so we hot-footed it up there to see him – I’m a bit of a fan, but for those of you not in the know, Oxygen Thief does metal with nothing but some awesome acoustic guitar playing, a few effects pedals (which got soaked in beer – oops) and aggressive vocals.  Excellent stuff.

Back at the main stage we checked out Jim Lockey’s second set of the weekend, which was as impressive as the first, and then once again headed back up to The Greenhouse for some more acoustic loveliness with a little  David Gibb, followed by another of my favourite artists of this year, Ben Marwood.

Phew – all this and it was still only around 6 in the evening. Time for a Pie Minister and a break while Dinosaur Pile Up and Twin Atlantic were on stage, and then one of the weirder experiences I’ve had at a festival happened… We noticed a tent in the corner of the field with a sign next to it simply saying “The Hide: Please Come In”. How could we resist? So into the tent we squeezed, with a pair of lads and another couple, for a chat and a laugh. And then, fairly randomly, the guys exited by jumping out one of the many window flaps to go and listen to the King Blues, who had since taken to the stage. This attracted the attention of two lovely young girls who kept us all entertained by leaping in and out of the tent. Surreal, but fun!

Once the kids had been safely returned to their parents, our new friends recommended that we check out Tellison in the Leaf Lounge – and I’m glad we did. With some catchy,  up-beat post-rock type tunes, I thought they were great! The night ended with some pretty soggy covers with Oxygen Thief at the busking box – a wet and cold, but brilliant end to a fabulous day.

Saturday morning, and it was still tipping it down. We decided not to venture from the tent until the music kicked off at 12 with an excellent set from Gaz Brookfield at the Greenhouse. Luckily, the weather had settled down a little by this point and we decided it was safe to put on our fancy dress robot costumes. Every year, 2000Trees has a fancy dress day theme, and this year’s was robots vs ninjas vs cowboys – cue people in boxes, tinfoil,  cowboy hats and some very odd all-in-one ninja suits. Brilliant.

We spent the afternoon drifting between stages (as much as robots can drift anyway), enjoying bands here and there without really paying attention to what we were listening to. Heading back to the main stage, the fancy dress winner was announced – the prize went to a guy dressed as the robot from the Beastie Boys’ ‘Intergalactic’ vid. It was a fair victory! We decided to abandon our costumes at this point (due to the annoyance of not being able to eat… or drink… or pee…), but managed to make it back to the main stage for Imperial Leisure’s ska-drenched beats. Excellent stuff.

Again we drifted, ending up in The Leaf Lounge for The Travelling Band (nice), and finally it was time for the last band of the festival – Scottish rock band Frightened Rabbit. I’ve only heard a little of their stuff before, but their melodic, mellow rock was a good end to round off the festival line up.

We packed up on Sunday with smiles on our faces.

I appreciate I’ve gone on a bit for this post, so here’s the TL;DR version: 2000Trees is a great little festival. You should go.

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Robots!

It’s 2000Trees festival this weekend, and I am very much looking forward to it.  In fact, I am quite over-excited (I have the urge to do a little booty-dance-style jig every time I think about it).

I’ll probably be blogging about the experience once I have returned and scrubbed off the worst of the festival grunge, but this year I’d also like to share with you a little video about robots.

“And how is this in any way related to being excited about 2000Trees?”, I hear you cry!

Well, every year at Trees there is a fancy dress theme and this year it is Ninjas! vs Robots! vs Cowboys!* So, naturally, we’ve gone for robots.

What? Robots are cool.**

Well, ok – ninjas are cool too, so the clincher was that hubby and I really like The Flight of The Conchords, and they made this really awesome video which is the inspiration for our costumes.

 

We’ll actually be building our robots tomorrow as we’ve both booked time off work – so I’ll post pics of the results (and maybe even the building of them, if anyone’s interested) either tomorrow or after the festival. I just wish I’d had time to learn the song on guitar, because that would be great… maybe I’ll have a crack at it tonight, but most likely won’t have time.

Oh, and yes, if you were wondering – I will be wearing a stick on beard so I can be Bret.

*Extra exclamation marks are definitely required in that sentence, I don’t care what you finickety-grammar types say…

**If you didn’t read that sentence in a Matt Smith style Dr Who voice then shame on you.

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The 2000Trees Experience

Ok, I know it was a little while ago now, but that doesn’t change one fact: I love the 2000Trees Festival.

Jon and I arrived on Thursday afternoon to take advantage of our lovely special early entry tickets (well worth it by the way – take note for next year!) and set up a wee village of tents in preparation for the arrival of our group of friends. After struggling for ages with our own tent and then three others, including our friend’s super tall monster of a thing, we decided to put up our gazebo. A great idea in theory, but with the wind combined with the lack of space and the fact that our gazebo is quite old and falls apart quite easily, we were destined to fail – until our nice new neighbours appeared like shining knights to help us in our mission.

Yay! We were all set up for the weekend, and so off we went  to the Leaf Lounge where the compere, Toss, was already having a crack at the crowd before the Adults (previously Let’s Tea Party – I’ll be honest, I like the old name better!) came on and played a brilliant set that got us all dancing. We didn’t hang around for long that evening, preferring to snuggle into our tent as the wind howled and the rain battered the sides, only venturing out to put the super tall monster tent back up in the middle of the night after it collapsed in a big heap!

So, Friday dawned a little brighter and after we’d wandered round for a while and taken in the festival sights, our friends finally arrived… Jim and Laura first, and then Gwen and David later in the afternoon after we’d caught a couple of sets on the main stage. Once we’d all gathered, we decided to crack open the rum and coke and check out some bands! Highlights have to be Ben Marwood at the Treehouse, Chris T-T, The Dawn Chorus (both of whom featured cameo appearances from Frank Turner, yay!) Jim Lockey and The Solemn Sun in the Leaf Lounge and, of course,  Frank Turner; who was the headliner on Friday night.  He was amazing, playing a mix of new songs and old stuff that the whole crowd were singing along to (including me – totally lost my voice afterwards!). I’ve been to a few gigs in my time, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a more adoring crowd – everyone sang, everyone danced and everyone seemed as thrilled to be there as Frank himself did. Ace.

Trees doesn’t finish after the headliner though, and so we wandered around in the dark, drank some more, sang some songs with people we’ve never met before at the pretty tree in the middle of the field (some of the guys from Mint, I think), munched on one of Suzie’s famous burgers and then crawled into our sleeping bags happy and exhausted. A day well spent me-thinks.

We woke up pretty early the following morning considering the amount of alcohol consumed the day before, and our breakfast of beans and sausages cooked on the camping stove worked down pretty well as a cure for stopping the hangovers kicking in. Today’s theme was animals, and so I slipped into my leopard print dress, complete with homemade tail and ears, while Jon donned an all in one tiger suit that made him look like Hobbes (from the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons) and then out came the guitar and ukulele for a sing-song with Gwen the kangaroo, David the monkey, Laura the dalmatian and Jim.

First on our list for the day was Mint, followed by  OST (soo good and two of them are from my hometown, Malmesbury) and Urusen in the Leaf Lounge, and then we wandered up to the Treehouse for Joe Summers and Oxygen Thief, who’s acoustic metal set culminated in a group of animals rocking out with him on the stage. Awesome.

After a leisurely lunch at the tents where we were happily listening to the acts on the main stage drifting across the field, we spent the afternoon wandering around enjoying the ambiance. Later, we got a delicious veggie pizza from one of the food places and just chilled out. We caught part of the Subways’ set, then went up to the Leaf Lounge to hear a bit of the headline set there, who I believe was Kill It Kid. To be completely honest, my fave bands of the day were those that were on earlier, and the rest of the day felt like a bit of a wind down for me, but we still enjoyed the late afternoon/evening, particularly Johnny Flynn and Kill It Kid were pretty cool too.

So, in summary: 2000Trees was fantastic this year. This was our third year at the festival, and the first year we’ve managed to get some friends together to share it with, and it continues to get better and better. So if you’re going to just one festival next year, make it Trees – although you’ll have to get in quick to make sure you get tickets… We’ll certainly be there!

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