So a week on and I’m still reeling. The sunburn has gone down, the hangovers purged, and memories semi-reconstructed. This year’s 2000 Trees Festival was the hottest yet. As opposed to the mud sliding of last year, this year the attendees flocked like wilder-beast to the shade of Upcote Farm’s giant oak tree, and the watering holes of the Lebowski Bars. I was planing on writing this up like a facetious Vice/Noisey article. But I seriously had way too much fun to even pretend to be that apathetic (shown by the festival-standard tiger face paint). Bodacious.
Once we had set up camp as close to The Cave (the more aggressive, hardcore/punk tent) as we could, we set off on a wander around the site, taking in White Russians and swingball as we went. A brilliant new addition to the site this year was the ‘Secret Area’. Located behind a yellow door with the number 7 on, and set back from the trees near the Greenhouse Stage, it was a welcome retreat for the paler of us, and which came alive at night. Down a small trail it opened up into an illuminated grove with hay-bails and acoustic musicians singing the night away. A very relaxing way to simmer down from the fist-pumping Future of the Left and Adebisi Shank before gearing up for the Silent Disco. Speaking of which, despite some battery problems on the final evening, the Silent Disco was excellent. Switching from Grime to Metal to Cheese to House, most bases (basses?) were touched depending on where you wandered. As for the extra-curricula activities the fancy dress took a bit of a dive, or at least took on a bit of a naked vibe owing to the furious heat.
But most important were the bands. Despite the over-aggressive hyping of Frank Turner in the run up and his three or so sets, we only caught him on the Thursday – he clashed with Adebisi Shank on the Friday headline slot, there was no contest – where he played through the whole of Love, Ire and Song without his backing band. The response was, expectedly, unanimous. A crowd stretching way out of the Cave resounded the radio hits, and even lesser know songs such as Better Half. It was a shame to see a lot of the younger crown leave when Frank yielded the stage to his former band-mate Julia, and the active-aggressive Future of the Left. Those who remained certainly saw one of the most deliberately good performances of the weekend, featuring songs from their forthcoming crowd-funded record, which Falco asserted ‘wouldn’t be a problem, RIGHT?!’ Blazing through what now feels like a greatest hits, was added the Mclusky-as-standard package of Lightsaber Cocksucking Blues and To Hell With Good Intentions. It was fucking fantastic.
Friday began with a bang. Axes were unexpectedly raucous for an instrumental four-piece, yelping and writhing all over the stage through their brilliant debut mini-LP. Emperor Yes filled the Leaf Lounge (in part helped by the searing midday sun) with their catchy, up-beat psychedelic pop and, despite only having released two singles, had a handful of the audience singing along. Hold Your Horse Is fiercely captivated the audience ending their set with drums in the crowd and smiles all around. The only upsetting part of the day was seeing The Crimea on The Main Stage, with Davey MacManus announcing to an unfairly small crowd that this show was their penultimate. Nevertheless their show was beautiful in the afternoon heat, ending on the perfectly fitted Lottery Winners On Acid. We caught Beans on Toast doing his thing just before being bombarded by a similarly Frank-Turner-depleted Adebisi Shank. Their octivated post-math-rock and frenetic build-ups and beat downs made for a twisted, euphoric end to a shattering day, and all who witnessed their set left amazed by the sheer madness they’d seen.
Sun-beaten, Saturday was a struggle. From seeing This Town Needs Guns on The Main Stage, to head-bobbing with the Woahnows and Bermuda Urn in The Leaf Lounge everything was a haze of sweat. Maybeshewill and And So I Watch You From Afar left an ecstatic crowd ready to party the final night into oblivion, which by the dead-beaten faces at 4 in the morning, they certainly did. But the best set of the day, if not the festival was Gnarwolves. I mentioned them on here back in February and have been dying to see them since. They incorporate a whole range of different strains of punk, including nihilistic sing-alongs, hardcore breakdowns with some little math-rocky fills. On record they’re brilliant, but live they were immense. Playing what felt like their entire repertoire of 3 EPs to an audience, a surprising amount of whom were singing along, was a really special moment to be a part of. We were also catatonically drunk, which I assume is what they would have wanted.
So that was it. The hazy memories from an excellent festival: the most righteous end to a most triumphal festival. All that’s left now is ArcTanGent, 2000 Trees’ little, angry brother festival. Cheer’s Trees, and don’t forget to wind your watch!
Many thanks to @ChadFuckworth for the photography.
P.S. Interviews with Maybeshewill, Emperor Yes and Axes as well as a little video diary all coming soon!