Home > Focus On Festivals > Review: 2000 Trees Festival 2015, Cheltenham

Review: 2000 Trees Festival 2015, Cheltenham

Carrie Humphries


Returning to 2000 Trees is a happy event; one of my highlights of the summer. Each year, I drive from the Midlands to the beautiful Cotswold countryside and I can’t help but smile as I see familiar landmarks and think about all the fun that I am going to have over the weekend. The 5000-capacity festival based near Cheltenham prides itself as having a laid back and friendly atmosphere, and this is apparent from the moment you step in the entrance; from the helpful staff giving out the correct wristbands and passes, to the lovely individuals that you camp next to.

After setting up my all important tent home for the weekend, I decide to grab some food at one of the gourmet eateries around the site before it gets too busy; this time opting for one of the Glastonbury Wood-Fired Pizza Company’s yummy pizzas. Once full, I do a couple of interviews with artists before catching my first band of the day, The Computers, at The Cave. Eccentric front man ‘Screaming’ Al Kershaw’s antics alone were more than enough to keep everyone entertained, as he climbed on speaker stacks and balanced on the barriers. A brilliant band to get everyone excited on the first day.

The next couple of artists that I watch are a little more strange, but still just as wonderful; Turbowolf and The Arcane Roots. Turbowolf are a band that I know very little about, but it was fun dancing along to their psychedelic grooves and I hope to see them live again soon. Arcane Roots on the other hand, are a band that I saw on the main stage at the festival in 2014 and I once again enjoyed their jaggedy alternative sounds.

We Are The Ocean are favourites of mine ever since seeing them at the festival, back in 2013. This time around, their sound seems to have vastly matured as they performed a set of material largely from their latest release Ark. During the set, the audience were in great spirits singing along to the band and donning masks inspired by their new album artwork, and I even had to dart out of the way from a lively few who crowd surfed over the barrier and were sternly escorted out of the pit by security. After all this craziness, I opted for a moment of chill out time listening to the blissfully relaxing harmonies of The Cadbury Sisters on the acoustic Forest Stage.

Headliners for the Thursday night in The Cave are another band who I am fond of; The Subways. I enjoyed watching the three piece as they bounced around the stage performing their own brand of pop-punk. Front man Billy Lunn and bassist Charlotte Cooper are lively and enigmatic on stage, while drummer Josh Morgan more than holds his own with his strong, choppy drumming. Before heading off to bed for the night, there was one last fun acoustic treat in the forest, in the form of local skiffle-pop covers band Thrill Collins.

As the sun rose in the beautiful surroundings of the festival, I spent a some of the Friday morning getting to know my camp site neighbours before heading off to The Axiom for a chilled out start to the day watching Scottish indie band Fatherson. After their set; I interviewed Simon and Ben from Young Guns, who informed me that one of their favourite bands playing that day were the hotly tipped Nothing But Thieves. Watching Nothing But Thieves’ set afterwards, I was blown away as their powerful emotive rock echoed around The Axiom. Much like Wolf Alice’s performance at the festival last year, I believe this band are destined for big things and seriously doubt that I’ll see them on such a small stage again.

With a craving for something a little heavier, I went to The Cave to watch rap-metal band Hacktivist and ended up having a great time during their performance. These guys are brutal live and put on a bare-knuckled performance that you can’t help but enjoy. Later I fancied something a little more relaxing, so opted for Glaswegian two-piece Honeyblood in the Axiom. Live; the all female indie rock act are spot on, with angelic vocals layered over their materials’ darker, scuzzier content.

Young Guns are a band that I have warmed to immensely with their latest album, and I was excited to see that they were playing the festival this year after watching them do a small set on the Kerrang Tour back in February. Their polished evening performance did not disappoint, as the energetic band ruled the stage and soon had everyone belting out their anthems loudly. After catching an impressive set in the Axiom from local lads Solemn Sun, I turned my attention back to the main stage for Friday night headliners Deaf Havana. They produced an enjoyable alt-rock set reminiscent in places to Bruce Springsteen, to end the day’s live music. I had initially planned on partying until the early hours at the on-site silent disco that night; however, after a long and busy day I was just too tired, so I had a quick drink before turning in for the night.

Saturday morning saw many people waking with sore heads following the Silent Disco, but there was little time for moping about as the first band of the day, Human Pyramids, were on the main stage at 12pm. The orchestral collective; led by Paul Russell of Axes fame, were truly a sight to behold as they performed some beautiful, uplifting material. Following on from Human Pyramids is something that I wouldn’t wish on any band, as they were a hard act to follow. However; the second act of the day, Electric River, managed to rustle up an energetic and enjoyable performance to continue the feel-good atmosphere of that morning. Similarly, folk band Skinny Lister put on an equally energetic show on the main stage later in the afternoon.

Opting for some angsty pop-punk, I caught some of ROAM’s set in The Axiom, before heading across to see Bury Tomorrow in The Cave. I am not generally a fan of overly heavy music, but Bury Tomorrow are a band who have won me over on previous occasions by always putting on shows that are boundlessly fun and also, by being genuinely lovely individuals. This occasion is just as enjoyable, as the band conveyed their ‘fuck paid meet and greets’ attitude and were joined by many fans in an insane stage invasion at the end of their set. I left the tent smiling from ear to ear.

Headlining the Saturday’s proceedings were US punk rock act, Alkaline Trio. There was a good turnout for the band despite the onset of rain, and their set began rather well. However, their performance was distractingly hit by a power shortage a few songs in. Luckily the audience were kept entertained by a couple of acoustic numbers while the issue was fixed and the band were soon up to full gusto for the rest of their set, much to everyone’s relief. As the festival drew to a close, many once again enjoyed the silent disco, but the silent cinema’s showings of This Is Spinal Tap and Labyrinth was just what I needed for a lovely relaxing end to my weekend at the festival. Overall, another fantastic year for Trees, and I look forward to seeing what next year’s tenth anniversary will bring.