2000 Trees Festival: Rated!
Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham -15-17 July
Photographer: Shaz Rafferty20 July 2010
Overall - 7/10
2000 Trees is a festival set up by festival lovers for festival revellers, without adhering to the ‘mainstream’. Set in an awesome but compact site, the event is not your usual festival – it might be small but it packs a punch.
Over two days, three stages and with only 2,500 people, there is a distinct intimacy about the whole affair. Now in its fourth year, 2000 Trees mainly hosts UK guitar bands. There is a green ethos to the festival too with eco-friendly loos, recycling facilities and an organic shop.
Getting There and Back – 7/10
Festival coaches run from London for £40 and The Big Green Shuttle Bus operated from Cheltenham Station for £10 return but queues are lengthy. Taxi sharing from the station with others actually works out cheaper than the bus though. Getting off the site is easy and without any problems, which is quite rare for any festival.
The Site – 9/10
The site of the festival is one of the best in the country and it sits in between Wood Festival and the Green Man with a gorgeous location that’s small but big enough. There’s also a great family feel to the festival, with facilities for family camping and a lovely ‘countryside walk’ around the area. Toilets are better than your usual ‘mainstream’ ones, boasting plenty of space and staying clean over the weekend.
The campsites are also plentiful and the atmosphere is generally friendly with the grassy banks proving perfect for passing out on. The bars are well stocked with local ales and ciders (ouch, it will hurt tomorrow!) and queues are minimal. The nicest part of the food area is the communal eating areas with people chilling, chatting and munching on some of the nicest festival food this side of Glastonbury.
Atmosphere – 5/10
With the festival mainly unravelling across two days there is plenty of hectic drunken revelry as ticket-holders cram in the booze during the short weekend timeframe. But on the whole, fans are really friendly and happy to chat about their festival experience but the music always feels like it’s second best to partying.
In short it is more extended drinking than hugs and loves for the music. Popular acts pack out the tents leaving some fans disappointed or listening through the canvas. The evenings finish fairly abruptly with people disappearing quickly to bed before midnight on Friday night and just after two on Saturday – a little clipped for a music festival, some might say.
Music – 6/10
Music at 2000 Trees is varied but on the whole more guitar sounds than dance grooves but there is definitely something for everyone. Frank Turner takes the main stage crown while 65DAYSOFSTATIC leave some bewildered but insatiable and wanting more as others raved their luminous socks off in the tiniest dance area in the world. On the whole, the music is good but it doesn’t get many up and dancing at the other two main stages, especially as sets being so short.
Cats and Cats and Cats (10/10) steal the show with their mathy, post-rock riffs and dramatic vocals, though this should have been Frank Turner’s (8/10) personal festival as he serenades the biggest turn-out of the weekend. Vessels (7/10) are one of the most interesting acts of the weekend reaching heights unknown and Beans on Toast (9/10) entertains all round with their charm and wit. Newbies Your Twenties (7/10) are exciting and impressive during their set and definitely one to look out for in the future.
65DAYSOFSTATIC (1/10) are the biggest let down of the festival turning their attention to empty dance riffs instead of using their talents where they have always been strongest – rocking the house down! Johnny Flynn & the Sussex Wit (3.5/10) are a little dry, they lack atmosphere and just can’t live up to their recorded album on stage. Tube Lord (2/10) could have been better with such good riffs that outshine their pop stylings.
By Adam Gill.