Festival Review: 2000trees Festival 2019

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2000trees is considered a small scale festival compared to many, based in Cheltenham Spa at Upcote Farm. The festival happens once a year and features a variety of bands and artists that are categorised in the alternative music scene; from indie, to rock, all the way to emo rap and hardcore. Whilst many refer to it as a small festival, this doesn’t mean that you’ll struggle for things to do and artists to see by any means. With 5 stages in total, as well as several smaller “busking stages” for artists to play freestyle after hours, there is always someone fun to see at this festival, and we felt spoilt for choice. With this being said, there were rarely any clashes with artists that fall within similar genres, which shows that 2000 trees really know their audience quite well. Whilst we thoroughly enjoyed Slam Dunk this year, we couldn’t help but feel disappointed that we had to miss many amazing bands that clashed with other equally amazing bands that are respected highly within the same music scenes.

On arrival to the festival, you are immediately greeted with food stalls and cashless pay points, in which you can top up your cashless wristband to use to purchase goods at the festival. This meant that none of the vendors at the festival accepted cash, and whilst we discovered problems with this last year due to connectivity and the battery power of the machines vendors were using, we found that this year, many of the problems were smoothed out. With this being only the second year of cashless wristbands, we expected a few minor problems which we discovered at the merch tent, but once out of the whole weekend wasn’t bad going! 

Everything at the festival is very conveniently placed, with festival-goers only having to travel a few yards in between stages, as well as camping, toilets and food. The only real walking you can expect to do at the festival is from the coach drop-off point up to the festival grounds; which as we discovered last year, is not fun unless you’ve packed lightly! 

Thursday had a surprisingly early start of midday, which meant many campers decided to arrive on the Wednesday. Whilst no bands officially played, 2000 Trees still put on artists on the forest stage to make sure early-birds don’t run out of things to do on their first day. Arriving on Thursday, we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of bands we enjoyed watching. Many festivals can fall into the trap of putting on their best acts on Friday’s and Saturday’s, when the festivals tend to get more busy, but 2000 Trees made sure they gave campers a reason to come along on Thursday. We have many highlights just from this day alone, which are almost too many to list, however one high point for us, and many of the people we spoke to, commented that one of the biggest highlights of the day was Turnstile. With the band going from playing the Cave stage last year, to the main stage this year, it was good to see the progression of the band and experience the same energy on a larger scale. We saw this with other bands too such as Vukovi who played the same stage as Turnstile last year, and then moved on up to the main stage this year.

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Vukovi were by far one of our favourites of the entire weekend due to their lead singer delivering nothing but energy and comedy throughout the set. If anyone can make a main stage feel like an intimate space, it’s Vukovi. Vocalist Janine Shilstone made sure the crowd were involved by having conversations mid set with them, and pointing out specific members of the crowd; including a man dressed as a fridge who she ordered to get in the centre of the crowd, whilst ordering the rest of the crowd to protect “Mr Fridge” at all costs. Later into the set, Shilstone ordered to crowd to bring the rubber dingy floating around the field to her, as she proceeded to ride a rubber dingy over the crowd. 

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Other notable highlights from the weekend include Loathe, who played a currently unreleased track and sang happy birthday to the vocalists younger sister; While She Sleeps, who brought a variety of guest vocalists onto the stage in the absence of their usual vocalist; Holding Absence, who did both an acoustic set in the forrest, and a headlining set at the Neu stage; and itoldyouiwouldeatyou, who have incredible messages to deliver through their music and also have an equally incredible on stage presence. We also managed to catch them performing a completely stripped back set at one of the busking stages, and their true talent shone through as we found that even completely stripped back, the artists still had a beautiful sound. 

Words and Photography by Hayley Fearnley