With a great first day in the books, it was time to crack on with the main event. With the remaining punters arriving for the first day with a full programme the Friday at 2000trees promised plenty – and it delivered.
My day began earlier than most as I headed over to Camp Reuben where a certain Dave McPherson of InMe fame was serenading campers with a selection of what he called his wedding songs. An early morning sing-a-long to anything from Take That to Foo Fighters is just what the doctor ordered. It was a lovely way to start the day and was indicative of the type of festival 2000trees is. You certainly wouldn't find this sort of thing at V Festival!
An hour or so later and the main stages were ready to go. For me it was off to the Cave where Devonshire trio Reigning Days gave one of the sets of the weekend. From start to finish they blew the crowd away with pure adrenaline fuelled rock. They were followed on stage by Trash Boat, and Beasts who both put in decent efforts but couldn't top the opening provided by Reigning Days.
With this I headed back out to the woods and a forest session from one of yesterday's highlights The Xcerts. Clearly they weren't just a highlight for me because the forest was packed for their short set. Another great time was had with singer Murray Macleod leading the last sing-a-long unplugged from within the crowd. The Xcerts certainly proved themselves one of the bands of the festival with their two fantastic performances.
Having been at the festival for almost a day and a half I felt it was time to check out the main stage, but not before catching the end of Palm Reader, who got bodies flying in the Cave. The band I headed for on the main stage were The Smith Street Band from Melbourne, Australia. With singer Wil Wagner confined to a stool by a leg injury the band pushed through the pain barrier to deliver a stunning set of songs to a receptive audience.
It was at this point that I was once again thankful for the short distances involved in manoeuvring the festival grounds, because for the rest of the day I didn't catch two bands in a row on the same stage. Counterfeit were next up on the main stage, and despite not knowing much about them myself they put in a pleasing effort to keep the day moving in the right direction. I must say that the general quality of bands over the weekend was very high which is a testament to the organisers dedication to putting on the best possible event for their customers.
A short walk across to the Neu stage came next as folk singer Will Varley took to the stage. Varley had already put in an appearance this weekend during Beans on Toast's set, but was ready to put his own mark on the event; and make a mark he did delighting a full tent of impassioned fans with his quirky take on the genre. With the evening drawing in Muncie Girls took to the Axiom stage and gave an ok if a little flat performance before I headed back to the Cave.
Bringing me to the Cave were Cambridge's brilliant rockers Lonely The Brave who attracted a decent crowd with a large number of their t-shirts on show. With new album 'Things Will Matter' firmly establishing them as guardians of the future of rock they re-affirmed their capabilities in a live setting. Mixing tracks from their two albums the band had fans singing back every word of 'Backroads' and standing in awe of the massive 'Rattlesnakes'. Give it a few years and these guys will be headlining festivals this size.
A quick dash was then necessary as Mallory Knox were already taking to the main stage. Another band from Cambridge who have been making waves in recent years, Mallory Knox continue to progress up festival bills and rightly so. Always a great live act, they delighted the crowd with songs from their first two albums, finishing with the huge 'Lighthouse'. Like Lonely The Brave these men are on an upwards trajectory and with a third album almost ready their potential could be unlimited.
On offer for those over at the Cave stage next was another band from East Anglia (this time Ipswich) as Basement hit the stage. The band made a good impression with their first two albums back in 2011/2012 before going on hiatus until 2014. They have made up for lost time however and have been hitting the road in support of their comeback album. This was a good if uninspiring set from the band, but was still enough to get the crowd moving.
Stepping up to headline their first non-Scottish festival were Scots Twin Atlantic. Speaking of bands on the up and Sam McTrusty and co have been moving up for a couple of years now on the back of their huge album 'Great Divide'. With new album 'GLA' set for release in September this could be the last chance to catch them at a smaller festival such as this.
It was certainly a headline worthy performance from the four-piece as they celebrated their past with songs like 'Make A Beast Of Myself' and looked to their future with big new single 'No Sleep'. You could tell this was a band proud to stand atop of this stage and they did the slot justice with their performance. 'Free' sees The Xcerts singer Macleod join the band on stage and 'Brothers And Sisters' incites a big sing-a-long. Closing with the brilliant 'Heart And Soul' the band delivered a stunning set which left the crowd still singing hours later.
At a lot of other festivals this might have brought an end to the nights entertainment, but not at 2000trees. I was able to complete a hat-trick of Dave McPherson sightings by catching him performing Frank Turner covers in Camp Turner before checking out the site-wide silent disco that carried on until 3am. It was all great fun and again showed both the dedication of the organisers to put on the best event and the atmosphere that has been created over ten years of festivals. There is a real togetherness and friendliness at 2000trees which I can't quite place having experienced at any other festival and the best bit was there was still one more day to go.
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