2000 Trees Festival took place this weekend past and you better believe it was incredible. RS scribe Jack Rogers has come back all gooey eyed and just had to write about why he is so in love with this wonderful weekender.
Though small in stature and humble in surroundings, every year Upcote Farm, just outside of Cheltenham, plays host to one of the most wonderful celebrations of music, art and community you will ever stumble across. Born out of an idea back in 2007, 2000 Trees is now an essential pilgrimage on the summer festival calendar. This year’s event was no less incredible than expected.
The main thing that Trees excels at is showing off how unbelievably blessed we are by music of all different shapes and sizes. It brings together new and old, hard and soft, undiscovered and under-appreciated and let's them exist in perfect harmoney. Twin Atlantic’s twee but no less frantic rock songs and Enter Shikari’s bombastic, enchanting and carefully constructed live show headed up the main stage and waved the British flag with pride on Friday and Saturday respectively but there is much more to be inspired by. Marmozets put in a performance worthy of headlining the most rammed of fields, Dream State demonstrated why the future is the safest of hands with a set that felt like a mini apocalypse and Boston Manor further cemented their place as one of the most exciting bands the UK has in its arsenal. Then there’s Conjurer who ripped the skin clean off the bones with an all-out assault on the senses, Palm Reader silencing the naysayers by giving everyone a reason to believe they are one of our country’s true hidden gems and Holding Absence continuing to go from strength to stength with their atmospherically affecting compositions. A smorgasbord of brilliance that only scratches the surface of what this festival is capable of.
It’s not just the Brits showing off though. Blood Command had every set of heels in sight clicking with a display of death pop that sent shivers down the spine, Hellions affirmed life with their blend of pop sensibility and hardcore brutality, Turnstile turned the crowd before them into a mass of blood, sweat and beers with just a click of their fingers and The Dirty Nil riffed so hard that it sounded like their fingers were going to drop off.
Everywhere you look there was music that has been made out of pure love, respect and passion. No pretense, no bullshit, no ego in sight that was reflected in the crowds that gathered to watch it. Open to anything. Up for taking a chance on a band they hadn’t heard of. Respecting every single style of noise there is on offer and in many cases walking away with a new favourite to check out once they’ve showered and caught up on sleep back in the real world.
More than anything, 2000 Trees is a festival that makes you believe in the power of music again.
From the mother bouncing her toddler up and down to the finely tuned post-hardcore of Cove to the middle aged couple coated in glitter holding each other close while taking in the euphoric instrumentals of And So I Watch You From Afar. From the stream of girls powering over the barrier as Creeper play another career-defining show, to the thousands of punters dressed as bees screaming along to ‘Crickets Throw Their Voices’ with those Basement boys. Every moment is special and every moment reminds you why you love this music so deeply, so emphatically, so unapologetically. Leaving the site after a weekend of pure audio bliss you feel inspired. You feel hopeful. You feel utterly infatuated with sound in the same way as when you first pressed play on your very first album.
In a time where rock music is still given the run around and the pointless question of ‘is the genre dead?’ gets asked way more than it ever should, it’s festivals like Trees that remind you to keep the faith. There are other people who feel the same as you and they want to share their passion with you as much you do with them.
You know when you’re screaming along to your favourite band, tears streaming down your face as the emotion of it all is getting too much, and a hand clasps your shoulder, brings you in close and you realise it's a complete stranger coming to join you in song? That is what Trees feels like. All. Weekend. Long.
Life is a wonderful tapestry of experiences and interactions. Throughout our time on this planet we will have millions upon millions of both but there are very few that truly stick with us. Those times that help define who we are and who we want to be. It’s hard to find just one of those such moments, let alone three whole days worth. Yet, that’s exactly what makes 2000 Trees so priceless and so important. It should be cherished for as long as it’s around.