As I churn out this little old post, I’m actually sat in bed with tissues and Lemsip and a throat that feels like I’ve eaten a pair of tennis balls. I’m wondering if I feel up to going to a press day I’m INSANELY EXCITED about and debating the pros and cons of getting out of bed to make some soup. Post-festival illness seems to have hit me hard, and I almost regret having such a good time last weekend.
I say almost… but I totally don’t.
Despite last year being my first time, 2000 Trees has quickly become a major part of my festival calendar. Held on Upcote Farm in the Cotswolds, it’s basically in the middle of nowhere – what’s better than ‘getting away from it all’ with amazing bands and people, eh? This years lineup was even better than last years, and there’s a fantastic range of food and drink there too. Here are some highlights…
One of my favourite stages at any festival ever is 2000 Trees’ Forest Stage – yep, a stage in the middle of the forest. It hosts acoustic sets from tons of performers, including bands playing the rest of the weekend. There are some comfy seats and hammocks to perch yourself on (if you get there early enough, anyway) and the atmosphere is just lovely.
Despite being a big-time Forest Stage lover, I didn’t actually spend that much time there over the weekend. However, I did catch Dave McPherson (who I affectionately refer to as ‘Davey McP’) doing a set. His stunning and emotional voice is a perfect one for the magical setting, and he also did his ever-amazing acoustic cover of Boom Shake The Room. Yes, that is a thing. Go watch it, I demand you.
I was definitely a LOT further back for the Moose Blood (‘Moosey B’) set, as the whole forest was absolutely rammed. I kinda forget at times how big they’re getting. Like selling out a London date on an album tour in October, months before said album is even released. Bonkers. Understandable bonkers, mind you, they’re great. We managed to sneak in round the side though, and were almost behind the stage. I couldn’t see anything but I could hear, and that was enough to make me do a little tear or two. EMO FEELS FOREVER.
As well as indulging my inner hippie perched in the forest, there were also tons of top bands across the weekend to have a good old dance to. I spent a fair bit of time at the main stage, but also loved The Cave. And not just because it was about ten steps from my tent…
On the main stage subject – Creeper are definitely onto something huge at the moment. If you miss old-school AFI, they might go quite the way to fix your craving with their horror-punk heavy rock anthems. Enigmatic frontman Will Gould has the vocals of a seasoned classic rock star with the heart of an old-school punk. (FYI, I once interviewed him in his previous band and can confirm he is definitely a LOVELY BLOKE). Hearing a huge crowd bellowing along to one of their already-iconic tracks, Misery, was a pretty special moment – definitely even more moving live than on record.
Because I’m a pop punk girl in a pizza world, the band I was looking forward to most over the weekend was most definitely Neck Deep. I know all the words and had a good and proper dance to the likes of Losing Teeth, Life’s Not Out To Get You and a full band bop-along version of ballad track December. I find Neck Deep to be quite hit and miss on outdoor stages – while they’ve always been a ball indoors, last year’s Slam Dunk performance left me a bit disappointed. But their Trees set was fantastic, and it’s totally easy to see why these guys are leading the UK pop punk scene.
Mallory Knox never fail to put on a fantastic performance – every time I’ve seen them, they’ve been consistent. This year’s Trees was no different – banging out the tunes one after the other like an alt-rock machine. Polished without seeming over-produced, these boys know how to bring it live.
Other musical highlights include:
Moose Blood – obviously. They’re not allowed their own piece because I’m seeing them A LOT this year and if anyone follows me on Twitter you’re probably sick of me banging on about them already.
Refused – not actually a band I’d ever got that into. I mean, I liked a few songs but never really properly listened. Turns out, they were one of the weekend faves. Plus, their singer had a badass outfit and moves that made my knees hurt just looking at him.
Frank Turner – for probably one of the worst-kept ‘secret’ sets I’ve known of, the Axiom stage was full to the brim for one man, his guitar and some generation-defining folk punk tunes.
One thing I’ve noticed since my little teenage self started packing up my tent and spending weekends camped out with my favourite friends and favourite bands is how much festival food has improved. Gone are the days of identikit ‘Gourmet’ burgers and stands that charge you £8 for a pizza with bins of Tesco boxes round the back. Instead, festivalgoers want quality, independent grub. If I’m paying three quid for a cone of chips, they better be bloody good ‘uns. Thankfully, the 2000 Trees team have their foodie heads on straight.
The absolute best stall of the weekend was The Cheese Truck, a van with a window delivering the most delicious, oozy, crunchy toasties. Hungover? Sorted. One-too-many warm cans at the silent disco. Sorted? A filling lunch for an afternoon of dancing wildly in the moshpit? You get my point.
As well as the gods of cheese being present, there were also a ton of other great stalls to feed your face from. I had an amazing Pad Thai at a stall I can’t remember, and the fastest-served pizza I think I’ve ever had. It’s also a pretty cool place to be if you’re vegetarian or vegan – the Wide Awake Cafe’s ‘Chorizo’ burritos (made with veggie chorizo not actual chorizo, obv) basically got me through Thursday and Friday.
Add amazing company, lots of beer and a ‘secret garden’ with an entrance that looked like we were about to walk into a Slipknot video (but actually full of magical fairy lights and hay bales), and you’ve pretty much got the perfect weekend. We were really lucky to get sunshine with only a couple of short showers, considering festival weather hasn’t been that great so far this year. Although, I did have the perfect festival jacket, just in case.
2000 Trees is just such a great alternative to the larger, mainstream festivals (and at half the price too) – even people in our camp who didn’t know many of the bands playing still had an awesome time. It’s such a lovely, friendly place with loads to see, but still with an incredibly chilled out atmosphere. I absolutely bloody love it, and everyone should give Trees a visit. See you in 2017, Upcote Farm.
What are your favourite UK festivals to go to?
P.S Keep up to date on lineup announcements next year via their website!