For the second year running 2000trees is completely cashless. Operating on an RFID system, customers use their wristbands to pay for everything on site. It must be said that everything to do with the system runs faultlessly and it actually makes for an easier life without worrying about cash and having to juggle your wallet when buying food. The cashless system and the few layout tweaks since my last 2000trees in 2016 are all well thought out and executed and I really have no major qualms about the event.
As far as food is concerned there is a great selection available which appears to have been carefully selected by the organisers to offer a decent choice to customers. Much nicer than the selection on offer at the larger corporate events I’ve attended so far this year with shout outs to the Cheese Truck and Happy Bangers!
We once again kick the day off on the main stage. Opening the stage today are Northern Ireland’s The Wood Burning Savages who do a very good job of waking up the crowd; as do another young Northern Irish band Brand New Friend who play a really fun early slot on the ‘Axiom’ stage’.
The first stand out performance of the day however belongs to the Welsh, with the brilliant Dream State on the main stage. Singer CJ Gilpin leads one of the best up and coming rock bands through a set full of massive songs which get everybody moving. Dream State have yet to announce their debut album but new songs ‘Hand In Hand’ and ‘Primrose’ get airings today and show that this band has a big future ahead of them.
The ‘Axiom’ stage today hosts the ‘Xtra Mile Recordings takeover’ which showcases a number of the record labels singings. Up next is Sean McGowan and his band who attract a decent crowd. McGowan is a songwriter on the up and the likes of ‘Off The Rails’, ‘Romance Ain’t Dead’ and ‘Cuppa Tea’ generate some more great sing-a-long moments.
The ‘Cave’ stage tends to host some of the heavier bands at 2000trees and today we spend a good few hours moving between here and the folk-tinged ‘Axiom’ which shows the contrast in scenes that comprises 2000trees fanbase. Hotly tipped young acts Gouge Away, Angel Dust and Drug Church all impress on those in the ‘Cave’.
Meanwhile the ‘Axiom’ hosts the second coming of Jim Lockey And The Solemn Sun, who make their return on home turf after a number of years away. Coming on stage to the Thin Lizzy classic ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ the band are clearly emotionally taken aback by the welcome they receive. The crowd sing back every word of every song and we all pray that the band can make a proper comeback.
Whilst 2000trees does a great job of showcasing young bands, it also brings in some splendid older acts and one of those acts grace the main stage next. The Wildhearts deliver a solid set that mixes songs from their very well received recent album ‘Renaissance Men’ with classics like ‘Vanilla Radio’ and ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’. We even get a cameo on ‘Let ‘Em Go’ from Frank Turner. Yes, Turner is everywhere this weekend and will headline the ‘Axiom’ stage later with his band Mongol Horde!
Next in the ‘Axiom’ however is another band that represents the 2000trees ethos to a tee, Skinny Lister. The band have fans packing out the tent to see them deliver a blistering set of folk punk anthems that surely cements their status at 2000trees even further. I think it’s fair to call Skinny Lister a cult-like band given their following and another such act hit the ‘Cave’ stage soon after. Cancer Bats deliver a hard hitting set including ‘Hail Destroyer’ and ‘Sabotage’ that sends bodies flying.
Headlining main stage tonight is You Me At Six, which as a booking demonstrates the progress the festival has made over the last few years. Josh Franceschi is in a combative mood as he takes shots at various high profile politicians during the set. Interesting that at a festival featuring many folk and punk bands it’s one of the poppier rock bands that choose to get political!
Musically it’s a solid set from the band as they pull mostly from their recent chart bothering albums and little from their early material. ‘Save It For The Bedroom’ does get an outing though and probably elicits the biggest response from the crowd. ‘Lived A Lie’, ‘Bite My Tongue’ and ‘Room To Breathe’ are all highlights however of a typically good You Me At Six set that plays out as the perfect Friday night party.
Once again as the site becomes a mass of red and blue lights from the silent disco headsets, we find ourselves at the peripheries of the site. Firstly there is some fine comedy on offer in the ‘Retreat’ and then a slightly inebriated Sean McGowan serenades us from the ‘Under The Bridge’ podium in the campsites. Again, it’s a magical way to finish the day and demonstrates the unique atmosphere of 2000trees.
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