Monday, 9 August 2010

2000 Trees Festival - Saturday

The Saturday morning weather was excellent so waking up in a field near Cheltenham was a rather pleasant experience. The bands weren’t to start for at least another two hours so one of my companions and I went for an aimless ramble across the Gloucestershire countryside in the hope of finding a pub. We failed. We ended up in a village called Shipton with absolutely nothing in it – and it started to rain.

The weather had thankfully improved by the time we’d found our way back to the main stage, but unfortunately the mid card bands were repeating the pattern of the day before – there were a number of below par emo bands that all seemed minimal on the vocals. Somewhat fed up, we headed back to the tent and it turned out this was an good decision. Why? Well, a band called Urusen was camping near us, and having played the Leaf Lounge earlier in the day they played an impromptu gig by their tents. They played some very pleasant, relaxing folk music – a stark contrast to the bands on the main stage – and it was very much appreciate by the campers in the surrounding area. Thankfully, they also had promotional business cards which has enabled me to tell you about them.

A return to the main stage followed with an impressive Sonic Boom Six providing something very different to anything I’d seen that weekend. After their set the winner of the 2000 Trees costume competition was announced, and it was a bloke dressed as a giraffe. Just in case you found that last sentence confusing, no I wasn’t on drugs, but the festival organisers had encouraged the punters to dress up as animals. So over the weekend I saw various cats, dogs, birds, bears, bees, and a wide variety of other animals. They gave the festival a unique feel, I give it that.

Now, having looked at the line up, I’ve realised I’m a very bad music journalist. A music journalist at a festival is supposed to watch and review bands. I however, spent hours the of Saturday evening drinking cider and chatting to strangers while sitting outside the bar by the Leaf Lounge. I therefore can’t give you any information on Johnny Flynn, 65daysofstatic, or Bombay Bicycle Club. If drinking cider rather than doing that makes me a bad person, then so be it!

As enjoyable as the sweet, sweet, cider was. It wasn’t going to stop me from seeing The Subways and as usual they provided a brilliant energetic performance. Guitarist Billy Lunn and Bassist Charlotte Cooper showed off their multitasking skills as they bounced all over the stage while playing their instruments and providing vocals. It was a fantastic performance that really had the crowd coming alive – especially when hits Oh Yeah! and Rock & Roll Queen from their 2005 (feel old) album Young for Eternity. The crowd were loving it so much I needed to dive back to avoid getting sucked into the extensive mosh pit.

Now, I’ve seen The Subways many times before so I’m familiar with Billy’s stage climbing antics in that he’ll climb up an amp before jumping off stage into the crowd. This time, however, he took this to the extreme by scaling what must have been at least 30 foot up the stage supports then falling back into the crowd. To my surprise, he didn’t die and was back on stage shortly afterwards. The man has balls, I give him that. As with Frank Turner, this was the first time The Subways had headlined a festival and they also seemed genuinely touched by the support they received. Hopefully they’ll be releasing a new album before the end of the year – don’t take that as fact by the way, that’s just my humble opinion! They were excellent and thoroughly deserved the rapturous applause they received.

The final big event of 2000 Trees was a silent disco. The huge, huge, queue for headphones put me off joining with this but it was still possible to know exactly what was being played because the crowd was singing along. I personally, ended my festival Saturday night drinking the local plonk while part of a crowd watching some bloke play his guitar and joining in singing whatever he played.

Overall, 2000 Trees was extremely enjoyable, the small size provided it with an excellent atmosphere and despite a few disappointing bands, both the headliners and some bands that were new to me pulled enough out of the bag to make it a success. Plus, as 2000 Trees is an eco-festival it provided me with a nice warm feeling...or that could have just been from the whole not washing and wearing the same t-shirt for two days....

Oh well, only 51 weeks left until 2000 Trees 2011.

(Originally written for Gobshout)

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