By Lewis Ashton
2000 Trees 2018, Upcote Farm, Cheltenham.
Prior to the 13th July, I had only been to two music festivals. Vans Warped Tour in Mansfield, MA on the 14th July 2015 and Country 2 Country in London, England on the 10th March 2018; both of which, for a single day. It’s safe to say I am a festival novice, much to the surprise of many of my friends who know my background. So, what am I meant to take with me, what am I meant to expect?
I resorted to social media the night before I left for the festival, hoping someone somewhere could pass me some good advice. Though in true Lewis fashion, I may have looked past much of the advice that was suggested. The hiker in me had it all under control.
With my tent packed and a chair strapped to my bag, I left for the train station for my first multiple day festival.
2000 Trees this year was cash/card free, which personally, I think is a great thing. It means you won’t lose any money when on your way to the merch tent or on your way to buy an ice cream on site. As someone who only has a watch his left wrist, the RFID wristband, press pass and VIP camping pass took a long time to get used to.
After pitching my tent, I went to explore the festival site, and I caught BBC Introducing in the forest, a lovely stage surrounded by trees. 2000 Trees isn’t a giant festival, nor a small one; it’s in the realm of a medium sized festival. This is fantastic as you don’t have to walk the length of the River Nile to get to the next stage.
After enjoying some music, I thought it would be a good idea to find the press tent as I had some interviews to do with Blood Red Shoes, Holding Absence and Fatherson.
Post interviews, I was speaking with some PR managers, festival goers and others with press passes and one thing everyone agreed was that the festival was a great size. You don’t have to walk far between stages, you don’t have to walk far to the campsites, you don’t have to walk far to the porta potties or to buy food. Yet, at the same time, nothing is too close or on top of something. A second thing was that there was an incredible love for the music and those attending, and that it’s not hell-bent on making the biggest profit possible at any expense.
Not only this, but the food trucks and kiosks on site were great to choose between, you were spoilt for choice. The line for coffee in the morning was slightly too long for my liking but, the choice of activities to keep you entertained when not in a crowd, were fantastic too. Yoga in the mornings, forest school, a mini mini-golf course, board games and quizzes, too! There’s something for all the family, and there was a lot of families at the festival; 2000 trees fantastically catered for everyone!
It’s been quite a few years since I’ve listed to so much alternative/heavy music in a short space of time and I was only familiar with 3 or 4 bands prior, but the festival rekindled my love for the genres. As I wasn’t too in touch with the bands, it meant I could go and see as many bands as I possibly could.
Bands such as Creeper, Fatherson, Undead Raisins and Holding Absence along with many others, all put on amazing sets throughout the weekend. It’s now safe to say that I have a very long list of bands that I will be searching for in HMV, on iTunes and Ticketmaster after seeing them on stage once.
Saturday ended by seeing Mallory Knox, who although in a rough patch, killed the main stage; Creeper then closed The Cave in fantastic fashion, and Twin Atlantic put on the best performance of the weekend.
After strategically placing myself in the far corner of the VIP camp, I eventually got a good night sleep (minus the heat cooking me in my tent). The thing that surprised me most, was the sense of relaxation around camp at 8am. Everyone was sat around, slowly waking up and talking about the night before (and getting back at 5am).
The Forest Stage
Is it fair to single out a specific stage at a festival? Yes or no, I’ll do so anyway. At 2000 Trees festival the Forest Stage (Forest Sessions) is a unique and one of a kind. From a festival novice, that may not mean much, but I’m familiar with many other festivals set ups as many of my friends a reaching the expert level of festival goers.
The stage boasts a myriad of acts who put on acoustic/unplugged performances. The stage itself is located in the middle of a small woods on the farm. It is possible that you can see 2000 trees while sat watching!
The Forest stage has both festival debutants and festival experts perform and has a fantastic atmosphere throughout the whole day. Each time I walked past, the crowd for this intimate stage was backing out onto the pathway between the main festival site and Forest School.
Regardless of who was on stage, from BBC Introducing to Enter Shikari, there’s listeners hanging in hammocks, couples in double camping chairs, teens sat around in their friendship groups and adults covered in tattoos. There’s listeners sat enjoying the music while reading a book, solo goers sat back in their camping chairs relaxing. Everyone was enjoying the music in their own way and it made for a lasting memory!