Some may call it a normal festival but for some, including myself, it’s the highlight of the year. Having waited for this weekend for months and months, it was finally time to pack my bags and jet off to the Upcot Farm in Cheltenham for 2000 Trees Festival. Farm? You may think this sounds boring but trust me it’s everything else.
For the 11th year in a row the team behind 2000 Trees Festival have transformed the farm into an quite intimate (10.000 capacity) mecca for music lovers. Over 3 days more than 120 bands performed on various stages and trust me, you don’t just get any bands – you get the best new and underground gems from the rock and indie scene and to top it off they always add some well-established acts to the line-up. This year for example the fantastic – Slaves, Lower Than Atlantis, Nothing but Thieves and not to forget Frank Carter and the Rattlesnake have headlined the festival.
Enough said about the festival in general let’s speak about what I’ve experienced over the last 3 days of music madness. Being one of the early birds I made my way to Cheltenham on Thursday Morning and with my pre-booked bus tickets (always recommended as it helps you avoid long queues) had no hassle to make it in time for the first acts. Being welcomed by pure sunshine I knew this was going to be a great weekend.
After I’d popped my tent and was armed with my first cider of the day, I made my way to the stage to see the rather amazing Muncie Girl. Being fronted by a girl who doesn’t mince matters, they’ve anyway already won my heart in storm but their performance won me completely over and I knew from now on they’ll be part of my playlist.
Following their set, I made my way to the extremely intimate forest stage to see half of Mallory Knox perform an acoustic set of their album. The forest stage is the most magical place I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to explain and needs to be seen with your own eyes but the combination of a teeny tiny stage in the middle of woods, fairy lights and a seated audience who gets up close with their idols makes it just special and everyone there knows and appreciates how unique it is.
I wasn’t expecting anything less but the moment Mikey and Sam took to the stage, they just blew everyone away and made us want more later this weekend, when they were set to perform the main stage.
As the day went on we strolled around from one stage to another and managed to see some very talented artists we haven’t heard of before but who’ll definitely make it on to our playlists. Another good thing about 2000 Trees is, that all stages are situated right next to each other which allows you to still catch artists who are lined up at the same time.
To top of day one, we ended up watching a midnight surprise gig by Grumble Bee in Camp Reuben. Yes, you hear right, he played in the middle of the campsite for the campers and acoustic show. I told you 2000 Trees is special, didn’t I?
The second day was set to be a busy one. With tons of great artists lined up and the main stage to open, we were quite struggling to pick our favourites and ended up going to way too many performances. Wait a minute is there ever way too many? Anyway, here are some of my favourites of the day:
I started my day at the forest stage to watch a couple of sets one from Frank Carter and one from Deaf Havana who didn’t disappoint at all. Both artists played some covers and a selection of their own songs. I’d lie when I’d say I didn’t get goose bumps.
Following their sets, I made my way to the NEU stage for some female vocal power meaning I went to see Greywind. I wasn’t expecting anything less but Steph’s vocals just blew me away.
After some atmospheric rock I felt like it was time for something a bit crazier and punkier in order to prepare myself for the headliners of the day so I went to see the fantastic Jamie Lenman. I knew I could expect a great show but what he exceeded my expectations. With his crazy stage appearance and his pretty heavy punk songs you can’t do anything but enjoy the entire performance.
Towards the end of the day everyone knew we were going to be in for a treat with not only Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes headlining but also Nothing But Thieves. Both bands are quite contrary but they turned out to be a great match.
Frank Carters energetic set with lots of crowd surf action helped to wake up the crowd after a long festival day and made them get crazy and rowdy at the same time but not too much – Frank Carter even stopped the show ones when he saw a guy grab a woman and went into the crowd to make sure everyone’s okay and save.
He ended his set with the biggest circle pit we’ve ever witnessed – everyone got involved and formed a circle around the sound desk. What can I say, the madness we were all expecting from Frank.
After a short much needed breather, Nothing But Thieves came on stage to end the day with their first ever headline set. Not only did the band really appreciate this opportunity but also the crowd felt something special was happening. There are no words to describe this moment but the combination of the right amount of cider, the sunset and the tunes of NBT created such an magical atmosphere I’ll never forget again.
Time flies when you are having fun and it clearly did at this years’ 2000 Trees Festival. After a lot of fun at the Silent Disco the night before my Saturday started pretty late but there was no way I was going to miss the “not so surprise” set of The Xcerts at the Cave Stage. I discovered them last year at 2000 Trees Festival and knew from the moment I heard they were going to play, I had to see them again. And trust me I wasn’t the only one – when I’ve arrived the tent was already packed. Staging a new hair cut Murray totally owned the stage and the crowd sang together with him all their hits. A moment not to forget.
With the Xcerts set being my highlight of the day, I should not forget to mention the headline sets of Mallory Knox and Young Guns. These guys just know how to pull off a good show and I can’t wait to see them again.