Having camped near one of the acoustic stages, my second day of music was started as soon as I opened my eyes, by a ten-minute ad-lib rendition of ‘Build Me Up, Buttercup’.
100 bands and 5000 people, split between five stages over three days – all amongst 2000 trees (give or take…). It’s that time of year again when festival-seekers flock to the Cotswolds’ unassuming Upcote Farm in their moderate masses, all in the name of 2000trees Festival. With its reputation as an inclusive, friendly free-for-all being reinforced year on year, this festival is renowned for its down to earth ethos and eclectic range of both established and emerging acts. When it comes to variety and a truly welcoming atmosphere, no one does it quite like these guys.
Easing us in to the weekend ahead, Thursday’s bill was split across just three of the five stages. One of which being ‘The Cave’, which hosted the day’s main full-band attractions, bookended by two extremes of the rock spectrum; raw energetic punkrock from Bristol’s St. Pierre Snake Invasion kicking things off, and pop rock three-piece The Subways to see the stage out. Sandwiched between these acts were the likes of &U&I, The Computers, Turbowolf, Arcane Roots and We Are the Ocean, whilst the other two stages were boasting a mixture of stand up comedy over at ‘The Croft’ and acoustic performances in ‘The Forest’, which saw Cheltenham’s very own skiffle-pop cover band Thrill Collins play out the night with their unique and actually quite entertaining take on many a classic.
As well all five stages on the Friday, there were also a handful of busking-style stages spread throughout the site. Having camped near one, my second day of music was started as soon as I opened my eyes, by a ten-minute ad-lib rendition of ‘Build Me Up, Buttercup’. With a taste for acoustic-ness, I headed to the forest to check out Young Guns’ pre-main-stage, stripped-back performance. No sooner had I dusted the wood chippings from my back, I found myself at the main stage to see rock’n’rollers Tax The Heat, swiftly followed by more darting between stages to catch Dead Harts and the absolutely incredible (personal stand-out set of the whole weekend) Nothing But Thieves. Other Saturday standouts included Hacktivist, Honeyblood, Feed The Rhino and Pulled Apart By Horses, not to mention well-deserved headliners Deaf Havana, who ended day two’s main stage proceedings beautifully. Post-main-stage entertainment continued with the much-loved Silent Disco and a 2000trees first: Silent Cinema, another way the organisers have gone the extra mile once again to cater for every mood.
The final day had come around (a bit too quickly for my liking) and we were in for another eclectic day of music. From guitar-pop sing-a-longs in ‘The Croft’ with Big Sixes to circle-pits and stage invasions to the likes of Defeater and Bury Tomorrow, all the while bumping into fancy-dressed punters following the ‘band names taken literally’ dress code. Saturday’s antics came to a climactic end when the almighty Alkaline Trio took to the stage (the band, not the three girls dressed as batteries) and it was all rounded off with another Silent Disco/Cinema. With so much on offer and such a varied mix of bands, it’s no wonder this festival is held in such high regards by festival-goers and music industry professionals alike. I eagerly await next year’s line up as this independent festival turns one decade old.
Have a listen to Deaf Havana’s ‘Hunstanton Pier’ below: