2000 Trees Festival 2018
If the sun wasn’t enough to brighten up 3 days at a festival then the amazing acoustic and electric sets would have. Upcote Farm is the setting for 2000 Trees which is perfect for this small festival which keeps getting bigger and bigger. This year there was a cashless system in place where money is preloaded on to a wristband with money before entering the festival or during and this is used to purchase merch, drinks, food and anything else that takes your fancy. Throughout the whole festival the system was seamless and easy, without the risk of theft of money being a worry and the ease of simply presenting your wristband is great for the people who want to enjoy as much of the music as they can. On arrival I soon realised that signal was a problem since being in the middle of a farm. This was no worry as the festival had their own WiFi, which after a quick registration I was soon connected to and ready to roam and use the internet to contact friends and make my instagram followers jealous with posts about the festival. SHVPES - The Cave The first band to grace the festival for the beginning of what looks like the ultimate festival line up is SHVPES. With the cave tent starting to fill it as they are about to begin it is a good turn out for the lads since they are first on. With the sun beaming down on Upcote Farm you can see already that the festival goers are feeling the heat as everyone inside the tent is sitting down on the grass with beers and partners in hand awaiting the bands to start the festival off. As soon as SHVPES’s came on to the stage everyone stood up and locked eyes on the band. SHVPES with their Post Hardcore sound brought the noise to the stage for starters with the crowd creating oval pits and throwing themselves around. If you were tired from the journey down to the festival or from the heat and setting up you sure were woken up with their intense and active set. What a great start to the festival and for those missing Letlive. as I am, I urge you to check out SHVPES. Arcane Roots - Forest Sessions Next stop was at the forest for the first of two sets for Arcane Roots, this one being the intimate acoustic setting of the forest sessions stage. The crowd at the forest to see the band play was good for a band who are coming up the ranks. From the start they had issues but they soon rectified them and got their set going. I was interested to hear their songs in this environment and with new arrangements. The mellow start was overshadowed with the sheer amount of people talking but if you listened enough you could hear the first song building in sound and tones and lead singer Andrew Groves’ voice piercing through the crowd. Unfortunately this slow atmospheric start wasn’t drawing everyone’s attention in, which was disappointing. With it being an acoustic stage I don’t feel the sound was quite loud enough to hear from the back and the songs felt more like noises and nothing to draw you in to. Slowly people started to leave, which again was disappointing to see but this being nothing of the standard Arcane Roots possess I don’t blame them. Late in and in my opinion a little too late came the first acoustic song, that again lacked substance. Towards the end of the set they finally got into something good where you could hear Andrew’s voice better and the song was melodic and soulful. If you expected to hear Arcane Roots’s songs with a acoustic twist, this isn’t it, but it is chilled and atmospheric which the forest is the perfect place for, although it was unexpected for me, there were still a lot of people left who were sitting down and listening to what was presented. They announced that they have put together a electronic EP which makes sense to why they have showcased it here to their fans. I do wish they did announce that at the beginning to avoid any disappointment. With them having a main stage set later I can see why they would change it up so much with this one with it being a smaller set. This shows a new direction for the band which I could get on board with in time. Boston Manor - The Cave The lads from Blackpool packed out the cave and more which was great to see. There was a lot of crowd participation to their easy to sing along songs as they got the crowd moving along and singing. They played songs old and new including ‘Forget Me Not’ from their first full length album. With the crowd singing back as requested by lead vocalist Henry, the tent was loud and new single from their upcoming album due in September was a hit too even though it hasn’t been released yet. You can hear more of a maturity to Henry’s voice and a new style of music for Boston Manor which I hope carries through to the new album. Henry encouraged the crowd to come and sing with him for another old song in the form of ‘Trapped Nerve’ which was a personal favourite of mine with its fast paced rhythm and heartfelt lyrics behind the song. Crowd surfers were in full force to the disparity of the security catching them. Boston Manor are definitely a band that will rise up the bill of this and many festival line ups in years to come. The last song of Boston Manor’s set was their latest single ‘Halo’ off of their upcoming album and already many of the crowd knew the lyrics which is a very good sign for how well the new song is being received. I hope the new album is as good as the songs we’ve heard so far and I shall definitely be continuing to see them live. Arcane Roots - Main Stage I was eager to catch a heavier set by the band who opened with ‘Off Of The Floor’ which as soon as it started I knew it was going to redeem them from the performance earlier and it was business as usual for them. The 3 piece all dressed in black owned the main stage. After the manic start, the band play ‘Ark’ for a mellow change in tone to their set which was beautiful. Finished with ‘If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves’ which to me is their best song which the mixture of heaviness and harmonic melodies. Turnstile - The Cave A band I had yet to see live but have recently started listening to more and more due to their new album which was recently released. All of their set even the songs I didn’t recognise or did not know still had me bopping my head. The American Hardcore band put on a fantastic set and anyone who likes the Hardcore side to Rock music had a treat. At The Drive In - Headliner Main Stage The headliners for the Thursday were At The Drive In, who I had completely missed from my music library but will be adding them too as they were a great watch. Having not known any of the songs and having no clue what the band would sound like I thought that they deserved to be up there on the main stage and as the night drew in they were a great band to end the first day of the festival.
We woke up the next morning and had a wander to see if we could top up wristbands and get some WiFi. Whilst on our travels around the festival we found ourselves chilling at the main stage area with a yoga class starting as we were sitting down on the hay bails provided. I decided to not participate but enjoy listening to the instructor show the class positions to relax them which I’m sure they needed. I was amazed with how many people were participating. Grumble Bee - Forest Sessions
With the bands starting earlier than Thursday, 10:30 was approaching and the forest sessions was calling, this time for Grumble Bee for a chilled acoustic set from Jack. I’ve been a fan of Grumble Bee since seeing him at a festival last year and have looked out for him on gig line ups and festivals since. One gig there being a disappointing turn out for, so from the off I was so pleased to see the crowd fully forming now for this earlier set. With the forest full of people sitting on the floor we were ready for Grumble Bee to start. With guitar in hand he began with ‘Red’ and with his voice loud and clear and minimal noise from the crowd talking at least it was a very good start. I liked the interaction between Jack and the crowd and for the next song ‘Lapwing’ which was a slightly more mellow song and there was complete silence with the audience watching him attentively. The forest was the perfect set up for Jacks acoustic loveliness and to start the day off in this way was a treat. Grumble Bee released a album recently that was a compilation of tracks released through his EP’s the last few years and one new song from that is 'Luna Blue' which I was keen to hear and he played it. The beautifully written lyrics brought a shiver to my spine and in that moment I was so happy to be surrounded by strangers in a field listening to music. Passing jokes back and forth it felt like we were surrounded by friends and Jack seemed in his element up there. He ended with ‘Francium’ which was a great end song due to its more upbeat tempo. Ladybird - Main Stage
Festivals are for checking out bands you do not know and so I wandered to the main stage to check out Ladybird as they caught my ears as we were walking past. With their Rap Rock sound they livened up the morning and got me ready for the day’s events. This band have now been added to my music library and I hope to hear and see more of them soon. Fatherson - Forest Sessions
Another rammed set at the forest session stage for Fathersons first instalment of the day. The Scottish Alternative Rock band played a new song which was made even more beautiful with Ross’s voices resonating through the forest. With his electric guitar in hand he was taking over band duties for this earlier set. This new song will be on their upcoming album which is released on the 14th September. The songs were soothing and chilled out with heart felt lyrics. A lovely little performance. ‘Making Waves’ another song that has just been released, to give us songs before the new album arrives. Ross encourages people to have a sing song as the chorus is given to us to repeat back and all in high voice the forest abliged to his wishes. The best parts of the days have been in the forest with its chilled out atmosphere and attentive audience. Mallory Knox interview time!!!
The heavens opened but that didn’t stop me from having a chat with the lads in Mallory Knox outside on some hay bails. They were lovely to speak to and answered all questions I had given them. They seemed excited to show the new line-up of Sam on vocals with the departure of Mikey and the pending new album I was intrigued to see what had been going on since Mikey had left. Holding Absence - The Cave
One of the bands I’d been looking forward to seeing most. From the first song ‘Permanent’ there were people screaming lyrics back. The whole band had huge amounts of energy on stage. ‘Saint Cecilia’ next got the crowd jumping up and heads banging. The heavens had opened but the weather wasn’t stopping them from having a good time. With fingers pointing, Holding Absence the Melodic Hardcore band from Cardiff put on a passion filled set with the heaviness and screams from Lucas’s voice mixed with his impressive singing voice. They’re definitely ones to watch out for as I’m sure we will be seeing a lot of them in the near future. Creeper - The Cave
Creeper to me have been a band I have neglected to listen to properly and I was shocked with how good they were live as they have improved a lot in the few years that have passed since I saw them last and they had the loudest crowd feedback for the cave so far for the weekend. The crowd was made even louder by Creeper playing a Meatloaf cover to end their set and what a cover it was. You would have thought it was one of their own with how well received and performed it was. I have definitely been converted to being a fan of their from their amazing performance at 2000 Trees.
Twin Atlantic - Headliners Main Stage
Twin Atlantic were the headliners for Friday night and what a headliner they are. Playing fan favourites such as the melodic ‘Crash Land’ and ‘Brothers and Sisters’ which with the amount of people singing made this a night to remember for me. There was a power cut 3 quarters through but this did not stop the band or hinder the amazing atmosphere at all. There was a huge crowd and everyone singing along and dancing too, this band know how to perform a headline slot and entertain.
The fancy dress theme is bees this year and it was great to see people participating in the theme by dressing up in their Bee costumes. The XCERTS - Forest Session
The final day of 2000 Trees was upon us and what better than to start it with a forest session from lead singer of The XCERTS taking band duties for this acoustic set. We knew the forest would be busy as it has been every time we’ve been there so we got there 30 minutes early to get a spot on the floor but it wasn’t early enough as there was already a lot of people and they continued to come in. 10 minutes before the set and the forest was packed out. It could have had something to do with Enter Shikari having a set later in the day as people will be keen to get a spot to see them do an intimate acoustic set which is a rare treat to see. Even so, the excitement was building for this staple 2000 Trees band. Lead singer Murray stepped on to the small stage at the forest to play renditions of The XCERTS songs for the crowd. ‘Kids On Drugs’ was the second song we heard from Murray and this was when the crowd started singing along to the point they were just as loud as Murray. Like he did 2 years ago when he played the forest there was a cover in the form of Elton John classic ‘Tiny Dancer’ which complimented Murray’s voice very well and the joy that was seen on his face I could see he was having a great time up there with his guitar. There was an uplifting atmosphere and by the end of his smaller set he came out to the crowd to sing fan favourite and a personal favourite of mine too being ‘Aberdeen 1987’ with the crowd louder than ever this was the perfect end to his short but sweet set before the longer Main Stage antics later on with a louder and fuller sound from the full band performance. Beans On Toast
What’s a festival without a bit of comedy value. With Beans On Toast’s light hearted storytelling and songs to go with them you felt you were down the local pub with the funniest guy you know repeating funny stories and joke telling and it was a hilarious way to get the crowd participating in the song singing. If you want to have your mood completely lifted with happiness, Beans On Toast brings all of the laughs and catchy songs to the stage with his Folk Acoustic style. There was not a song where I wasn’t laughing with endearment and no lyric not made better with a story behind them and this shows how Jay's life affects the songs he writes which I think people can relate too. Enter Shikari - Forest Sessions
With what felt like the whole of the main stage following us, we headed for the forest for the eagerly anticipated acoustic set from Rou of Enter Shikari. With the forest completely full even hours before the set I knew there were very loyal fans getting down early and I made sure I was one. I wasn’t quite early enough as an hour before he was due to start there was not a spare patch of ground in sight to rest our bums on. On seeing the sheer amount of people already at the forest I was overwhelmed with how many people were there and it made me realise how moments like this make a festival for me. Having the headlining band play a short set at the intimate forest is something not to be missed from a band like Enter Shikari. After the wait for Rou to take the forest by storm and set up, we finally had him in our presence ready to sing and play guitar for us, with the added bonus of them being alternative versions of Enter Shikaris catalogue to fit with the ethos of the forest stage’s acoustic setting. Rou had the audience in the palm of his hand. I’ve never seen anything like this before and it was special to see this performance at a festival. Rou’s unique, compelling and versatile voice pierced through the forest and the songs were made completely new and different but equally as captivating. Playing songs such as ‘Live Outside’ and ‘Undercover Agents’ Rou also played 2 covers which were ‘Cars’ originally by Gary Numan and ‘Heroes’ the mega hit by David Bowie, of which he said Bowie was a major inspiration to him because of what he stood for and musically. 'Redshift' and 'Stalemate' were the 2 old songs he played from Enter Shikari’s back catalogue which he completely changed the arrangement of but still keeping with the bands sound at the same time, which is no doubt a hard task with only a guitar, but that being said the whole set felt effortless and the songs lead into each other well. This was one of the major highlights of the festival for me and I hope these kind of sets continue as the atmosphere was incredible. Basement - Main Stage
Having been away from the setting of a festival stage for a while whilst recording their new album coming soon titled ‘Beside Myself’ Basement were back to give the crowd a Emo-Rock filled set. It was good to see them up on the main stage this year and I’m hoping to see them at the main stage for more festivals next year. Basement opened with ‘Whole’ and ‘Faded’ which from the off got the crowd moving with their loud and explosive start. Playing songs from all 3 previous albums, Basement gave the crowd everything they have to offer and I’m positive they made new fans after that set. Enter Shikari - Main Stage Headliner
If there is one band you must watch at a festival it is Enter Shikari, with the sheer performance that goes into every set and the atmosphere of thousands singing along to their songs, it is a set not to be missed, from the lighting to lead singer Rou’s dance moves. You will find yourself jumping up and down and walking away with half the voice you started with, as I did. With the eclectic sound there is so much the band have to offer, from fast paced drum and base to loud and heavy Post Hardcore this band are pioneers of a totally new genre which I can’t quite put a name too but it works. Each of their albums possess a development of sound for the band and I feel to understand them you have to be in amongst the mosh pits in the middle of the Cotswolds to appreciate. 2000 Trees festival is the best small festival the UK has to offer for Rock fans in my opinion with the varying genres, there is so much to see and hear. For me it’s a festival where without knowing who is going to be performing I would book even before the line up is released as it is an amazing festival for fans of music in general and a great way to spend a weekend in the sun, which made it that much more enjoyable.
Review - Jessie Jones