MEDIUM SIZED FESTIVAL THAT PACKS A FUN PUNCH.
Written by: Dan @ Cherry Dog Apparel
Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, UK
Sunday 9th July 2023
Getting from one side of a field to the other can sometimes be a chore and a frustrating aspect of festival life, but at 2000Trees, your stroll through the campsites, the village and around the stages is a pleasure. The pleasant atmosphere present at 2000Trees is emulated by the positive vibes given off by the 10,000 festival goers, bands and staff. Compared to large rock and metal festivals like Download and Bloodstock, Trees is small in comparison but still packs a good lineup and provides festival goers with lots of choice for music, activities food and drink. It’s located in Cheltenham, UK at Upcote Farm and I must warn you, (as one of my only unfortunate negatives) make sure if you’re driving in, your car can handle the drive in! Rocky roads and rough terrain through the festival perimeter leading to campsites and parking could really test your cars suspension! Once you’re in though, campsites are easily accessible, there is lots of space and room for everyone! Some manage setup camp wherever they’ve parked but in general the organisers do promote the separation of the car park and the campsites. I personally had the luxury of making camp in the crew campsite as I was kindly invited by our good friend Matthew Scar to help with some band interviews and festival content he had lined up - shoutout to Mat, check out his page! Despite having to be placed in the backstage camping it was still close by to everything. I could probably guess that the time from my campsite to the main stage (without footfall traffic, is about 10 minutes which is joyful - especially when you’ve realised for the 3rd time you’ve forgotten something!
The festival officially starts on Wednesday with main stages for music being made accessible from Thursday onwards. But the opening day offers up a mix of bands at the forest stage, a beautiful somewhat secluded area of the festival that is surrounded by, you guessed it, trees. Wednesday also has various entertainment and stage acts at the ‘Word’ stage.
Thursday brought the noise with incredible performances at the main stage by Bob Vylan, Skindred and Soft Play, whilst the Neu stage had fantastic appearances from the likes of Dead Pony, Bad Nerves and more.
Friday’s headline act Bullet for my Valentine were clearly a crowd favourite as the majority of festival goers were present for their hour and a bit set. Before them though, the crowd were warmed up nicely by Dinosaur Pile-up, Hell is for Heroes and Brutus plus many more in the midday hours. Some other favourites of Fridays set list included As Everything Unfolds, Crows, Origami Angel, The Xcerts, Rival Schools, Paledusk and Cancer Bats who were the last act at the Cave for Friday. The first band my ears were drawn to on Friday however were Black Gold who despite the early time slot, pulled in a fanatic crowd at the Cave stage. It was my third time watching them and it was fanatic to hear some of their favourites like ‘Ain’t Going Out Like That’ and ‘On Another Level’ - I would love to see what they could do on a main stage in future!
Saturday caused some difficulty for times as there were multiple clashes for bands I personally wanted to cross off the list. But, this goes back to my previous point! Because of the size of the festival area, jumping from one stage to another is done with ease. Even though some bands only play for a mere 40mins, catching glimpses and chunks of each performance was simple and usually the way the days went. So Saturdays viewing included a main stage performance by Californian band Dead Poet Society and following on from them was Electric Six (GAY BAR, GAY BAR, GAY BAR!). One of the most anticipated performances was by Holding Absence - one reason I wanted to see them is because I played their (at the time) new single, Permanence on my small rock radio show around 7 years ago! They had times clashing with Black Honey but I managed to catch both of them in parts! Straight after their performances however we strolled over to the Cave stage to watch Dreamstate. Matthew had a lovely chat with Jessie, the newly made lead singer of the band, earlier on in the afternoon, asking her questions about her music, life outside of the music and more! Dreamstate were actually my personal highlight of the whole week. They were new to me and I was very impressed with how they got so much energy from the crowd. Lots of heavy riffs and fantastic engagement from Jessie with the crowd. Multiple other bands played further into the evening such as Casey, Loathe, Deaf Havana, Hundred Reasons and more! Those who withstood the thunderous downpours were treated to Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes who closed the show in tremendous style! But the night itself was finished just how Friday and Thursday did, with silent disco! This is an aspect of the festival that was most interesting! Punters were able to rent the headphones and choose between a few different stages of wither cover bands or DJ’s playing favourites that everyone can sing along to.
Overall this has been a very refreshing festival and there have been many discoveries made, in both bands and amazing people! It certainly one that I’ll be looking at next year already! But yes, other than the drive in I have nothing but good to say about this show. It was great to meet with so many different people and representatives of other organisations too. I had great chats with Katie and Chris from Metal for Good plus had an awesome little chat with Alex Holcombe from BBC Radio 1. There was a large handful of other top class press and media people too which would be an endless list to write out! But… I’m sure I will be able to catch up with them all again at 2000 Trees 2024 - Which I will certainly be going to!