Live Review: 2000 Trees Festival – Upcote Farm, Cheltenham 09.07.2022 Plus Gallery

Paul Harries

After starting the day with some forest yoga, the S’appenin Podcast record their Live episode with Saint Agnes. Meanwhile Violent Hearts kick off 2000Tree’s music scene for Saturday on the NEU stage and they definitely give a good indication of how the days going to go; they give great vibes and a sound that gets people cheering and moving, preparing whoever is awake this early for what is to come. The Cave stage quickly proves that it will be providing the heavier sounds for the day starting with Defects as Avalanche Party lay the foundations of the main stage with their unique sound; the saxophone really helps make this performance their own and it seems like they’re drawing more and more people in as their setlist goes on. CheryM are an alternative 3 piece band with a distinct sound that distracts people even during their sound track, luring them into the tent ready for when they hit the stage. Over on the Axiom stage, people are pouring into the tent for Panic Shack, proving that they maybe have a bigger following than they realise but are humble enough to thank everyone for coming to see them so early in the day.

This is the last day of the festival and though the crowd are tired, they’re still going to make the most of it. The campers start to pour into the festival come 12, ready for Dream Nails on the main stage. Dream Nails are quick to get anyone and everyone involved, jumping & joining in even in the peat heat of this gorgeous summers day. The NEU stage really starts to find its ground with Lizzy Farrall. She packs the tent fully and then some by giving and electric show and proving that she should’ve probably been on the main stage. Mannequin Pussy create quite the ruckus on the main stage, attracting one of the largest audience the day has seen so far whilst over at The Cave stage, Kid Kapatchi claiming
“It’s fucken busy in here, innit?” during his sound check just about sums up the entire festival. Even though he only left the stage 60 seconds ago, this crowd go absolutely wild for him when he enters again for his set; dramatic western music plays as he casually walks back on stage and does his thing so effortlessly. Kid Kapatchi quickly demonstrates that he is a very underrated act worth going out your way for.

As the day gets hotter, more and more people are reaching for shade, sitting under trees (and any raised platforms they can get under) to watch the sound checks of whichever act they can find next. Angel Du$T & Nova Twins are forces to be reckoned with on the main stage, each pulling their own crowds that aren’t to be sniffed at. In between these two power acts, the fancy dress competition winners are announced. The ever so adorable Flinstones family (complete with Pebbles & Bam-Bam) win VIP tickets to 2023’s 2000Trees and they’re joined by last years winner, Mr Fridge & his little brother mini fridge, complete with working cocktail dispenser. Nova Twins make it clear exactly why they have their own cult following; the stage presence of these two truly has to be experienced to be believed and their talent is also out of control. It’s exciting to see how big this young act are going to go.

False advertising‘s audience starts off relatively small for so late in the day but they ones who’ve made it from the beginning are absolutely loving it, proving that it’s definitely quality over quantity though the crowd quickly grows as other acts come to an end. Higher Power add some personality to their set by advising their fans to make out with someone they love during their breather between songs. Everyone stops what they’re doing to get in on the action for their new song “fall from grace”; moshing, jumping, hands in the air, head banging – you name it, this audience we’re doing it. Back to the main stage now for Knocked Loose and 30 seconds into the first song, these moshers are quick to leave the barrier to join in with the circle pit and get involved in the action. This crowd is so ready for it with any demand from Knocked Loose being met immediately – crowd surfing included. This is easily one of the wildest shows of the day so far. They Fell From The Sky deserve a bigger crowd than they get. They’re a very talented and passionate band full of energy and the ‘aw’ factor is added when lead singer adds that his son is on stage watching him perform for the first time.

As I walk my way past Camp Kevin to find the Forest Sessions stage, I’m stopped by a camp member asking me to spin a wheel and see what I win. With a small amount of trepidation, I spin the wheel and win ‘advice from a camp elder’. I’m not sure what I was expecting but to be fair, the advice was sound.
“1) Always be Kevin Bacon and 2) never be Kevin Spacey.” Makes perfect sense to me. I finally made my way to the extremely cramped Forest Sessions stage for Twin Atlantic‘s acoustic set; they were a pleasure as always and this acoustic setting allowed them to show off even more of their personality than usual. Theres a slight awkwardness as they walk on to stage but an off-hand comment from a crowd member breaks the ice as Sam McTrusty retorts
‘You can’t understand me? Yellow card for racism. You must be American with that stupid fuckin’ hat on.’ Laughter fills the forest and we’re all immediately more relaxed. There’s no set list for 2 third’s of the Scottish alt rock band leaving them confirming between themselves and the audience as to what they’re going to do next which this audience loves. The sound of hundreds of people singing back to Sam and Ross McNae is beautiful and the wooded surroundings only make it more incredible – not everyone gets to say they’ve seen Twin Atlantic do a last minute acoustic set in a Forrest.

As we reach our headline act, You Me @ Six are celebrating 10 years of their Sinners Never Sleep album and their audience are still very dedicated to them and this album though it only take the first 3 songs of their setlist to prove that ‘Sinners Never Sleeps‘ is still a winner of an album after all these years. Leadman Josh Franceschi shouting ‘Jesus’ during ‘Wreckless‘ prompts everyone to turn around to see a guy dressed as Jesus Christ himself with an inflatable cross sat on someone’s shoulders; this is definitely has to be up there as one of the most surreal things to see on the last day of the festival. This 5 piece are loving every second they have on stage as they lap up the never ending cheers from the first note to the last.

It’s obvious from the get go that the majority of Saturday’s audience are here to see headline act, IDLES. Starting their 21 song strong setlist with ‘Colossus‘, this crowd are ready to go wild for what they’ve been waiting for all day. IDLES have been having a hell of year and you can tell they want this. Their post-punk sound is refreshing from a lot of acts that have been making the scene recently and this individuality makes for an incredible atmosphere across the whole audience and stage presence on their behalf. With ‘Never Fight a Man With a Perm‘ being their biggest song, it was surprising to see it appear half way through their set but this didn’t stop the crowd from going ape and carrying on for the rest of the night. Songs from ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance‘ are this crowds favourites with ‘Danny Nedelko‘, ‘I’m Scum‘ & the aforementioned ‘Never Fight a Man With a Perm‘ being arguably the loudest of the entire day, let alone the night. Ending on ‘Rottweiler‘ and leaving every single person wanting more, its easy to see how 2000Trees has got so big so fast; this is a hell of a festival.

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