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.