special because it's full of actual music fans

2000trees Festival 2019 review - Saturday

published: Mon 15th Jul 2019

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Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th July 2019
Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 4BL, England MAP
currently £115 for 2 days; £129.50 for 3 days; £60 a day
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Fri 14th Jun 2019

The atmosphere at 2000trees has always been a positive and friendly one. As such it has always been welcoming towards families, if perhaps not fully accommodating them. This year they appear to have really made an effort to encourage the next generation of music fan to the festival. With a dedicated camping area and importantly numerous activities put on for children. In fact it’s noticeable the amount of extra children in attendance this year compared to my previous visit in 2016.

A whole new area has been created this year and is suitably called the ‘Retreat’. Here there is plenty on offer for all ages, but in particular for children you will find the essential sandpit amongst other toys and workshops. You will also find organisations such as Extinction Rebellion and Safe Gigs For Women. There are chillout areas, talks, comedy and much more. Although I don’t spend a lot of time here, it’s clear that the area is a fantastic addition to the festival.

Another important aspect of any festival is the bar! There are a number of bar areas on offer and they in turn offer a range of choices. Reusable cups are present as they are at most festivals these days and the service is quick and friendly each time I visit. Prices of drink and food it should also be said are decent considering it’s a festival. As far as the toilets go, there were never really any terrible queues and they were always relatively clean. Perhaps a few more urinals at the main stage would be beneficial but all in all the facilities at 2000trees are as good as can be expected.

On to the music and Saturday which is the last day of 2000trees starts at the ‘Cave’ for a trio of young and heavy bands. Rival Bones, Dangerface and Normandie all put in decent performances that blow off any cobwebs from the night before. The same can’t be said for Muncie Girls over on main, who fail to really get going and help a few who perhaps over indulged last night have a nice peaceful nap.

We stay at the main stage for the next two bands who are at opposite ends of their careers but whom are equally impressive today. Firstly Soeur enthral with their Nirvana goes pop sound, before the brilliant A give a lesson in stage banter. Of course they also have some classic songs and ‘Starbucks’ and ‘Nothing’ receive huge reactions. Then there was the “age appropriate walking circle pit” to ‘I Love Lake Tahoe’ which was a great moment. Since making their comeback a year or so ago, A have been joined by McFly bassist Dougie Poynter and he has added fresh life to the band. Sadly they announce today is his last date with them which is a real shame, but I’m still looking forward to them performing ‘A vs Monkey Kong’ in full later in the year!

We then have an eclectic run of music from the heaviness of MOL and the pop punk by numbers of The Bottom Line on the ‘Neu’ stage sandwiching the rather enjoyable ska samplings of The Skints on the main stage. Next with the festival nearing its end, there are still two of the most hotly anticipated sets of the weekend. Firstly American hardcore band Every Time I Die performing ‘Hot Damn’ in full, then My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero bringing his current band The Future Violents to the ‘Cave’. On a personal level I found Iero’s set the far superior of the two, but both attract big appreciative crowds.

It’s been another fantastic few days at 2000trees Festival which just gets better with age. Whether it’s catching the established acts on the main stage, the next big thing in the tents or extra special performances in the Forest or campsites, musically there is always something on offer. If you need a break from the music, the ‘Retreat’ will have you sorted and there is always something to do after the music finishes. 2000trees really is a never ending pick ‘n’ mix of entertainment.

Deaf Havana

To bring the main action to a finale, we have Deaf Havana returning to headline the festival for a second time having previously topped the bill in 2015. Deaf Havana appear to me to be in an odd place at the moment having taken a change in direction with their most recent album ‘Rituals’ seemingly geared to take on the mainstream. It led to their biggest ever headline show, but failed to reach the chart heights of its predecessor ‘All These Countless Nights’ which must have been disappointing. Not to mention their keyboard player departing the band to not be replaced despite their new album being less guitar based.

Playing just a few randomly selected shows and festivals this summer, it’s hard not to wonder what is next or the band. For now though they have 2000trees and the fans welcome them with open arms. With the audience clearly in party mood the band start well with ‘Boston Square’ and ‘Fever’ before dipping into ‘Rituals’ for both ‘Hell’ and ‘Holy’.

This theme continues as they mix old tracks such as ‘Mildred’, ‘The Past Six Years’ and ‘Anemophobia’ with new songs like ‘Worship’ and ‘Ritual’ and add in some traditionally awkward stage banter. Perhaps they could’ve taken some lessons from A on the stage banter front, but either way the crowd love every moment, even moshing in between songs.

This prompts singer James Veck-Gilodi to theorise that the reason the atmosphere at 2000trees is so special is because it’s full of actual music fans and not your drunken festival fodder that some of the larger festivals attract. A point very well made by Veck-Gilodi. ‘Hunstanton Pier’ brings a big time sing-a-long before the band finish with ‘Sinner’. All in all, it’s as good a performance as we could expect from Deaf Havana at this time, but they can be better and hopefully will be again.

With 2000trees 2019 in the history books, the festival has forged its place in the summer festival line-up and the evidence suggests it will only continue to grow.


review by: Paul Barnes

photos by: Denis Gorbatov

Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th July 2019
Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 4BL, England MAP
currently £115 for 2 days; £129.50 for 3 days; £60 a day
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Fri 14th Jun 2019


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