When you consider that I’m bit of a music journalist, it’s shameful I hadn’t been to a full on multi day music festival since Reading 2006. Thankfully this changed over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of July when I went to 2000 Trees. With a capacity of just 2500, this festival at a farm in the Gloucestershire countryside turned out to be a good way to get myself back into the festival scene.
As soon as my “crew” and I turned up at Upcote Farm – with 1970’s German funk blasting from the car CD player – I knew I was at a festival. That may sound obvious, you know, what with all the people and parked cars, but of course also started to rain. Ah muddy fields how I’d missed thee...still, tents were erected more easily than expected and we headed to the main festival site.
Well, I say festival site. With the small capacity it’s obviously a smaller than average site, so despite camping in one of the furthest spots from the main stage, it still only took five minutes to walk there. Very welcome indeed.
Right, let’s start talking about the bands.
There were three stages, The Tree House main stage, The Leaf Lounge and The Green House. I first found myself wandering into the second of these and watching The David Goo Variety Band, and they were very good actually. They could perhaps be described as a British Gogo Bordello, complete with two vocalists, a violin, guitars and a keyboard. The songs all had stories to go with them and the whole outfit was very lively, quite possibly mad. It’s an all important thumbs up from me.
After watching my first band of the weekend, I then didn’t see any more for hours. Why not I hear you ask? Well, the lure of the Nature walk was just too much. Yep, 2000 Trees has a very pleasant Nature Walk which goes out into the countryside and woodland around the farm. You feel so at one with nature when you’re walking through a field....clutching a can of cider.
It was back to the festival site for the early evening, and after sampling the delightful local Badgers Bottom plonk, I made my way to the main stage. The fact I don’t remember anything significant for any of the mid-card bands that played in the occasionally sunny whether that evening probably speaks volumes. No, I wasn’t drunk; it just seemed that many of them were generic LostProphets style bands. You’d probably enjoy them if you liked LostProphets, mind.
Things vastly improved with Metromony, the penultimate act of the evening. Some might label them as Bloc Party influenced electro infused indie pop but they played a variety of bouncy, energetic tunes which were pleasing on the ear and had the crowds moving their feet. The undoubted highlight was A Thing For Me, which with its simple lyrics had even those unfamiliar with Metromony singing along.
Frank Turner was the headline act of the Friday and he didn’t disappoint. He played old tunes, tracks from his latest album – Poetry of the Deed – and a sing-along to his newest track. Frank was certainly crowd pleasing and they held onto his every word when he told stories about the songs. It was the first time Frank Turner had headlined a festival and he genuinely seemed touched by the occasion – He’s come along away since the time I paid £2 to see him in a bar when I was at university. My only gripe is that given the current political climate, he didn’t play Thatcher Fucked the Kids.
So, the bands may have stopped playing on the stages at 11 but that wasn’t the end of the night of course – this is a festival after all and the bars were open ‘til well into the early hours. Now despite Frank Turner and Metromony both being very good, my favourite was a cover band that played by the campfire. I had no idea who they were at the time, but a little internet digging tells me they were Thrill Collins.
This fantastically named trio are a Skiffle band that played cover songs from the 1980’s and 1990’s. Highlights included Chris De Burgh’s Lady in Red, The Backstreet Boys’ Everybody, Human League’s Don’t You Want Me and The Cure’s Lovecats. They were brilliant – imagine a modern day, trendier, Wurzels and you’ll be about right.