This summer, more than any other, has seen a massive increase in the amount of weekend festivals popping up all over the British Isles. Unsurprisingly, the cop out excuse of a credit crunch, and the more realistic reasoning of oversaturation have seen some struggle, some die, and some just be plain shit. But my attention was drawn to 2000 Trees, a festival in its second year and one that was keen to focus on things other than money, as my interview with organiser Andy Rea proved. So off I went, with a small group of friends to embrace their eco-friendly take on a music weekend. Oh, and all the fresh talent that the curators had fished out of the UK scene.
It came as no surprise that the closer we got to the secluded location of the second 2000 Trees event, the rain pounded at our coach’s windshield harder than a drummer shagging a model. Buried deep in the countryside of Cheltenham, only one thought went through my mind as we drew nearer: ” Probably should have packed some wellies…”
Indeed, my mistake was a foolish one, because once we eventually arrived at the locale, it was like looking upon a miniture Glastonbury of last year. Fields drenched in mud, more swamp than puddles. And to top it all off, the rain kept on storming down upon us, as tents were erected and attendee’s slowly soaked through to the bone in a constant struggle ‘twixt man and nature. But the rain didn’t have the power to dampen spirits, and soon I was standing at The Treehouse, 2000 Trees answer to the Pyramid stage, with a highly recommended local cider, Badgers Bottom, as I witnessed the first of the many great bands on offer throughout this ecletic weekend.
Things got very, very muddy.
Although an unplugged Frank Turner opened the festival for the early comers, the first band for me was Gentlemans Pistols, a three quarters hairy four piece who played music that matched those fantastic examples of facial hair. A bassy combination of the rockiest examples of Led Zeppelin, brought to a modern audience in a similar way to Wolfmother, but with a shitload more comedy and no ear shattering vocals. When you have a song called ‘Heavy Petting‘, you can only expect the laughs to come thick and fast.
Gentlemen’s Pistols absolutely rocked the main stage early on.
Straight after came Ghost of a Thousand, a band I’ve certainy heard a bit about but had unfairly put into the same category as a lot of those screamo bands that are populating most of Brighton. However, as God poured down his mightiest storm yet, singer Tom Lacey shredded his vocal chords through a blistering set that had the audience enthralled. Acting like one of Orwell’s wild animals, throwing mud all over the place and encouraging the first circle pit, Ghost of a Thousand brought a tumoultous sound that was perfectly matched with the biblical weather.
The same can’t be said for Johnny Foreigner, who despite recieving a great deal of acclaim from the likes of Drowned in Sound, completely dissapointed. The vocals were for the most part out of tune, and there was nothing really interesting in the music that took your attention from that fact. I don’t see it, that’s for sure.
Accompanied by the thunderous weather, Ghost of Thousand were a sight to behold.
Unfortunately due to my idiotic decision to not bring wellington boots, rain stopped play for me for a litle while as I gave my feet a chance to recover, therefore what I heard of The King Blues was from my tent nearby, and it really didn’t sound too bad at all, although my head was far too swimmy to really remember any details.
Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster couldn’t quite acheive the heights that Rebuen might have.
I re-emerged a while later to go and witness the nights headliner, Reub…oh no wait, sorry. Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. The trouble was, despite a great opening which seemed to be full of enthusiasm, the boys with their ludicrously fashionable hair and clothing seemed to run out of steam very early on, and the whole set just seemed to drag on. This was no doubt partly caused by the fact that a lot of people standing in the rain and mud had purchased a ticket to be seeing Reuben on this stage, and with their departure from the music world we were left with a lacklustre replacement. Whilst not overwhelmingly terrible, their apparant lack of excitement for the event, especially from singer Guy McKnight who immediately got on the wrong side of the crowd by proclaiming “there were more of you when we played Glastonbury” left only the hardcore Disaster fans smiling. And believe me, you could spot them from a mile. Dissapointing, but the lively and friendly atmosphere saw the festival carry on into the dark night, with revellers getting more battered on that legendary Badgers Bottom, looking forward to (hopefully) better weather tomorrow, and some more great bands.
Pie Minister pies, the foodstuff that kept us going throughout the whole weekend.
The 2000 Trees review will conclude itself once I return from Latitude Festival this weekend!