2000trees festival organiser talks to eFestivals

Andy Rea interview

published: Tue 28th Apr 2009

around the site (2)

Friday 17th to Saturday 18th July 2009
Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 4BL, England MAP
weekend tickets £47, children 0-10 years free entry
last updated: Wed 1st Jul 2009

eFestivals interviewed Andy Rea, organiser of this year's 2000trees festival. This family-friendly festival raises awareness of green issues and aims to be an ethical alternative to the more mainstream music events. There is a wide selection of music at the festival including something for every taste - featuring rock, metal and indie to folk, pop, DJs, and the downright strange.

Hi Andy, hows things coming along in regard to organizing this years festival?
Very well, we're almost there with pre-preparation and bookings. Our line-up is now complete, we've got some cool stalls and charities lined up and we're making some changes at the festival site to make it even better for everyone.

Are there any bands in particular you are looking forward to seeing this year?
I'm really proud of our line-up and there are so many bands I can't wait to see. There's something for everyone, but if you really pushed me to choose, then Red Light Company, Imperial Leisure, and The King Blues are at the top of my list.

What made you want to start organizing a festival? Were there any factors of the bigger festivals that you are trying to avoid?
We became disillusioned with some of the bigger music festivals we'd been attending for more than a decade, finding them too commercial and often with poor facilities. We thought festivals could be better and were inspired to create a friendly, relaxed event with a focus on great live music and value for money. We also give our fans much more input, asking for their opinions and trying our best to make their ideas happen, which is very satisfying.

What's the biggest problem you've come across when organizing the festivals? And do you think the current economic climate is going to lean in your favour? Being a cheaper, smaller, more intimate event than some of the larger festivals?
The weather! We had a month's rainfall in one day before the festival last year - and everyone knows about Gloucestershire's floods in 2007. But despite this we went ahead without any problems and everyone seemed to have a great time. The economic downturn definitely means people are watching what they spend, so they may consider smaller, cheaper festivals more attractive. From a festival fan's point of view, 2000trees is great value for money and more intimate, so I hope it will be good news for us. We sold out in advance last year and have seen our fastest year of ticket sales so far.

After last year's headliners Reuben going on a hiatus just before your festival, how much of a nightmare was this for the organizers? Is there a contingency plan for a headliner dropping out?
It was really disappointing that Reuben pulled out but we had to find an alternative and there were plenty of offers, so it was just about finding the right one to fill their shoes. This year, Frank Turner has taken the difficult decision to join The Offspring on their US tour - I know he was gutted to pull out of 2000trees, describing it as his favourite UK festival.

This gave us the chance to bring back The King Blues to 2000trees. The contingency plan involved our fans - we asked them who they wanted to replace Frank Turner and we tried to make it happen. Plus we see every band live before we book them, so we've got a good idea of who should fill any spaces that appear.

2000 trees rightly prides itself on being a green and cost effective festival. How do you negotiate to provide the same, if not better facilities to your customers whilst maintaining the green ethos?
It is really important to us to be as green as possible and we were chuffed to win the Greener Festival Award last year for our efforts. We are always looking for ways to be even greener, so this year we've introduced cycle mobile phone charging and renewable energy tests, in partnership with Aston University, to see how much solar and wind power we can use for future events. We've also introduced compostable gent's urinals! So we're pleased with our facilities and even more so because they are greener than most.

Also, how do you force vendors to pull pricing into a reasonable bracket? Or do you try and avoid such business?
We source local and Fair Trade vendors wherever possible, preferring those with an ethical approach to business, which means great food and drink at reasonable prices.

This is the third year for the festival, come this summer. It's creating a lot of buzz year on year in the local area. It's also becoming a great platform for local talent to be showcased on the festival circuit. Is there any advice for local acts you could give who would be interested trying out for a slot?
Giving grassroots musical talent a bigger platform to perform on is really important to us - and very satisfying. So we run two Battle of the Bands competitions each year (electric and acoustic) in Gloucestershire, and we head to as many gigs as we can to see local live bands in action. The best two things for an up and coming act to do are to send us their music and let us know about their gigs.

Could you give me two bands who you personally would love to see headline 2000 trees in your dream line-up?
Foo Fighters and The Wildhearts.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Andy. And best of luck with the festival.

2000trees Festival returns for a third year on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th July at Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire.
interview by: Phil Davies

Friday 17th to Saturday 18th July 2009
Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 4BL, England MAP
weekend tickets £47, children 0-10 years free entry
last updated: Wed 1st Jul 2009

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