I’ve been attending festivals since my teenage years, but I’ve tended to stick to either bigger ones (Download, Sonisphere and Reading) or all-dayers. I’ve always loved the idea of attending a smaller festival, so when the chance came along to head to my first 2000 Trees last weekend, I happily packed up my tent and sleeping bag. Thanks to a douchebag on a bike swiping my phone recently (more on that and how it feels soon), I actually lost the majority of my pictures from the festival, so I just have a few Instagram snaps to illustrate my weekend – but hopefully I can put into words what a fantastic experience it was.
I covered the event for RAMZine, where there’ll be my more band-focused review soon, and although I knew a fair few people going, I didn’t actually specifically have anyone to camp with. Luckily, one of my Uni pals invited me to join his group, where I met some great new people. 2000 Trees is based at Upcote Farm, near Cheltenham, and after a relatively stress-free coach journey (what tube strike?) and a shuttle bus from the station, I arrived on site. We were camped up right next to The Cave (the ‘second stage’), and I could actually see the stage perfectly from right outside my tent. At bigger festivals, the stages are usually in a separate area to the campsite – but at Trees, it’s all in one with ridiculously short walking distances between everywhere onsite. It also means you can take your own food and drink with you when watching bands.
Lineup-wise, I was incredibly excited for headliners Alkaline Trio – who were a great end to the festival, despite playing a slightly odd setlist and having to deal with a 20-minute power outage. Catching up with We Are The Ocean was great on the Thursday, and I was awoken from a brief nap on Friday by the super-heavy sounds of Bury Tomorrow. I also discovered some great new bands, particularly the energetic pop-punk of Boston Manor and the grunge-fuelled Milk Teeth. There’s also a stage set in the forest, a wonderful and magical setting for checking out acoustic acts while sat on a hay bale as the sun goes down.
Even though it’s great if you’re on a budget, you’ll definitely want to taste the festival’s food and booze though – with a range of locally sourced options and great choices for veggies and vegans. Instead of the watered down big-name beers at the bar, you’ll find a selection of drinks from smaller breweries and companies, as well as an amazing White Russian. I definitely drank a fair few of those over the weekend. Evening entertainment is pretty awesome too, with a Friday and Saturday Silent Disco playing the best alt-tunes in The Cave and chart/pop/singalong tunes on main. After about 7 hours of disco-ing over the weekend, I definitely had very limited speaking abilities come Sunday morning.
If you’re new to festivals and wanting to ease yourself in or just want to try something a bit different to the usual mainstream names, I’d definitely recommend 2000 Trees. The atmosphere and people are incredibly lovely, you’re surrounded by real music fans with a chilled-out vibe all weekend. For less than half the price of the big players, you get to experience two and a half days (there’s limited early entry and music on Thursday evening too) of discovering new acts and experiencing the best in new and underground (mostly) British music.
I’m already set on going back next year – see you there?