Another year at 2000trees means another amazing event at Upcote Farm, Cheltenham. The 2018 award-winning festival must be in with a shot at retaining the title after wowing the crowds with an action-packed lineup. Headliners Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, You Me At Six, and Deaf Havana all closed off three perfect days of glorious music and blistering sunshine.
With fun-time acts like Imperial Leisure, Flogging Molly, and Skinny Lister getting the crowds into the party mood, it was strangely subdued until the Saturday. That’s not to say that the festival goers weren’t enjoying themselves, it’s just that I didn’t see crowd surfers in a rubber dingy until Everytime I Die’s Saturday evening slot.
With five stages and the acoustic sets in the forest, the lineup was filled with clashes for hardcore rock and punk fans. I was lucky I was getting to experience a lot of the acts for the first time, so took in a little bit of as many bands as possible. I’d guess I’d seen over 50 by the end of the weekend!
Within the campsite are also the pop-up stages where campers can have little busking sessions amongst the guest acts. Frank Turner sneaked in a secret set at Camp Turner, and an extremely hilarious and very drunk Sean McGowan popped in for a late-night set before he headed home.
Standout act for me this weekend were De Staat, who took The Cave by storm with their version of alt-rock that’s incredible to listen to. I was also impressed by indie band itoldyouiwouldeatyou on the Neu Stage, and No Violet’s amazing acoustic set in The Forest, with Ellie Godwin’s voice unsurprisingly on point yet again!
Rowdiest crowds of the weekend awards go to PENGSHUi, Everytime I Die (one guy crowd surfing 59 times), and Dune Rats. These acts’ music get the crowds pumped up and it’s wonderful to witness the passion on the stage and behind the barriers. The respect that the people crowd surfing and in the mosh pits show each other is one of the great things about music. If only the outside world could be as caring about their fellow humans.
Although it’s nice to spend time at festivals catching new acts, it’s also the perfect time to see how some of your favourites are getting on. Haggard Cat were brilliant as ever to watch, Soeur got the airtime they deserve with a main stage slot, and Yonaka sounded incredible.
While the headliners all sounded great, the real entertainment came from elsewhere. Vukovi, Frank Turner’s punk band Möngöl Hörde, and the fantastically named The St. Pierre Snake Invasion all have the front people to wow the crowds with their performances.
2000trees took place on Thursday 11th– Saturday 13th July 2019 at Upcote Farm, Cheltenham. 2020 early bird tickets are out now. With a price increase on the cards I’m expecting big things.
Review and photos by Paul Lyme.