2000 Trees Festival has become a routine, a staple of my summers. Its consistently excellent line-ups and tiny capacity of 5000 makes for a very special second weekend every July. This year, from the 11th to the 13th APFoS shall be there, drinking discount cider and smoking cigarettes for your delight. We’ll be bringing you interviews, videos and special extras in the weeks following. But first, here’s a little preview.
The reason 2000 Trees Festival is a hit year on year is its love of cult bands. Wherever you stumble you’ll find a Reuben die-hard, or someone humming along to The Mars Volta. You’ll drink White Russians by the Lebowski Bar with people who know all the words to The Ballad Of Me And My Friends, and maybe even a few who got to sing along at Camp Reuben in 2008. It’s swept up in the back stories of bands and the importance of ephemeral live shows and, although some of the bands may be aimed at different people or age ranges, you’ll have to search very hard to see a bad show.
If you’ve never been, it’s a small festival just outside Cheltenham, focussed on underground British music which has been headlined by the likes of British Sea Power, Art Brut, 65daysofstatic, as well as the omni-present Frank Turner, who returns this year to headline the Friday night. There are 4 stages. The Main Stage, naturally, houses the bigger acts, ranging from Acoustic singer-songwriters, to Indie-Pop to Post Rock. The Cave is dedicated to distortion: Punk, Metal, Hardcore. The Leaf Lounge looks after more gentle souls, focussing on Acoustica, Indie Rock, and Country although it can get a little bit shouty and experimental – especially with Fight Like Apes and The Physics House Band playing this year. Finally, The Greenhouse is a natural amphitheatre with gentle Acoustic acts, and comedy on the Thursday night.
The organisers make the very bold statement that they see every band they book at least once (if not a lot more) to make sure that they’ll put on a good show at the festival. This is admirable, and explains their constantly stellar line-ups. It’s also reassuring with the hyper-commercialisation at many larger festivals that the organisers care so passionately about the central part of a music festival, rather than booking the latest blog sensation band. Here’re are our tips from each of the stages.
The Main Stage
I have a very love/hate relationship with Frank Turner. His heart-on-sleeve punk attitude and agressive touring schedule endeared him to me as a teenager. I spent summers learning his songs, and singing them round campfires, and they totally resonated. Yet as the years have gone on we’ve drifted apart. I’ve become a lot more cynical about his brand of personal anecdotes and simple chord structures. But whatever you’re thoughts are about him, and there are a lot of opinions, he’s dearly loved at 2000 Trees, and will put on a brilliant, sing-along show which a lot of cynics will come away from pleasantly surprised.
TTNG (This Town Needs Guns)
Since playing at our house, TTNG have shortened their name, and released a stunning new album, 126.96.36.199.0, full of glitches, abused time-signatures and surprisingly catchy hooks, not to mention apocalyptic subtext. The bands musicianship is something to behold, many simply stand in awe of the disperate parts which weave into one another. Or you could just go and rock out. The choice it yours.
Our Beautiful Indie Pop tip on The Main Stage comes in the form of The Crimea. Crackling vocals over straight laced indie makes for very catchy, summery vibes. And what better band to play 2000 Trees than one with a song titled ‘White Russian Galaxy‘. They’ve also got their third record coming out on the 29th July, making it a perfect time to check out some long awaited new music from them.
The Dublin 5-piece encapsulate everything the Cave is about, loud, brash, dysmorphic, experimental guitar, bass and drums. Coming off the back of releasing their stunning second LP, the Sleep of Reason (which you should grab NOW!) this will be an unmissable show.
This is the show I’m looking forward to the most. I’ve fallen for Gnarwolves in a big way over the last few months. Their blend of Skate-Punk and Hardcore shifts so effortlessly from catchy chorus’ to slow breakdowns, and is a refreshingly original take on a lot of mid-naughties Punk.
Maybeshewill are another staple of 2000 Trees. This will be the fourth year in a row that they’ll have played, and not because of lazy booking. Every year the reaction they generate is astounding. They sample cult films extraordinarily, from I <3 Huckabees to Network, all at crux points within their apocalypse leaning crescendos. Their full live shows with strings is something truly magnificent.
The Leaf Lounge
The Physics House Band
2000 Trees has something of a penchant for weird, Post/Math/Jazz Rock bands. The Physics House Band have to be my favourite from this year’s line up. It’s like someone’s thrice trapped an acid jazz freakout and distilled it into a 3 minute rock song. No, actually, it’s way better than that even sounds, the bass is just so funky! I still can’t get my head round most of this.
The All New Adventures Of Us (TANAOU)
So there was this guy, The Remarkable Rocket (hello Lua!), who released a load of songs over MySpace way back in the mists of the mid-naughties. One of my friends was totally into him, and I check back into his MySpace every 6 months or so to see what’s up. This is what’s up. Hullo!
Combining three successful musicians in their own right, Emperor Yes are a powerhouse of talent. In this incarnation they’ve decided to focus on the more psychedelic side of Pop music, to brilliant effect.
Beans on Toast
A scuzzy voice, a battered guitar, and a head full of opinions, Beans on Toast is a lot of fun. Political leaning songs with lots of punchlines. I suspect there’ll be a few surprise shows about the campsite as well. Keep a watch out for him.
Alexi from Johnny Foreigner occasionally makes music on his own. Really pretty home recordings. Like Johnny Foreigner’s acoustic b-sides, this set might get a bit melancholic, but The Greenhouse at night is magical – this will be a special set.
Aside from the music, the food is brilliant. If you’re heading this year be sure to check out PieMinister. Words cannot not describe waking up with a chronic hangover and cleansing yourself with The Mothership. Thank us later.
See you at the bar,