2000trees Festival Review: Hidden Gem in the Cotswolds

2000trees describes itself as: “The multi-award-winning 2000trees festival is a 3-day extravaganza set in the stunning Cotswold Hills”. Whilst this fairly literal description gets 10/10 for accuracy, it is modesty in the extreme and doesn’t even come close to doing justice to what has been achieved with this festival.

Although it’s been around since 2007, we only discovered 2000 trees 4 years ago, but we really really like it. And, barring some Armageddon-like event, we will be going to this festival forever.  We like it to the extent that we were actually in two minds as to whether we wanted to write about it, in case more people decide to go and spoil it. A bit selfish maybe but that’s how special we think it is.

Kerrang! Magazine described 2000 Trees as Britain’s Coolest Festival in 2018. We couldn’t agree more. It has a very personal feel to it that’s hard to describe. It’s like it belongs to the people there and we’re not the only ones who think like this. Other people you speak to at the festival, and this does happen all the time because it’s super friendly, feel exactly the same.

One of those people is Lee from Penzance, who we met at this year’s festival. Lee is a veteran rock/punk/hardcore fan and festival goer. He discovered 2000trees about the same time that we did and has been going ever since. This is what he had to say.

FVL: Hi Lee. It’s great to see you here again for 2000trees 2019.

LEE: Hi, its great to be here again.

FVL: First off, how great is 2000trees?

LEE: From the first minute I arrived at Trees in 2017, I have absolutely loved it. The setting is perfect, and the location is easy to get to. The haul from the carpark to the camp is hard work but well worth it.

Camping is close to the stages and everyone is super friendly. We have accidently camped right by the same people the 3 years I’ve been going. Camp Michael Bolton we salute you! Great bunch and always a good laugh.

I love all the stages and it’s a very well thought out site, but the jewel in the crown has to be the Forest stage. I get goose bumps every time I watch a band play in there.

Forest Stage at 2000trees
Forest Stage at 2000trees

And then there’s the food! WOW is all I can say! Quality vendors (especially the CHEESE TRUCK) at great prices.

FVL: Totally agree about the food. We had a minor panic this year when we thought the Cheese Truck had gone but, it turns out it had just moved down to main stage. Phew!

LEE: The main problem is getting round all the amazing food vans. Unfortunately, there’s only 3 days of lunches and dinners to cater for. Even if you add a late snack, that’s only nine meal opportunities and there are way more things I want to try than that. Hard decisions have to be made. It’s very stressful!

The Cheese Truck
The Cheese Truck

FVL: You live in Penzance. How’s that for a music fan like you?

LEE: Not good! Penzance is a long way from anywhere and bands don’t tend to venture past Plymouth or even Bristol for the most part. There are a couple of festivals popping up on the beach at Perranporth but musically it’s not what I’m in to, so I have to go “Up Country” as we say in Cornwall.

I make a few trips a year just to see music, including visiting 2000trees. I have family in the midlands and quite a few friends in the Northwest as well. I can usually get a few gigs in when I’m visiting.

I have been known to visit friends in Manchester and fit 2 or 3 gigs in over a long weekend. You gotta get your fix somehow! I’m seriously thinking of moving up to Manchester. I’m originally from the West Midlands so I’m used to things being a bit more lively. I would miss Cornwall but there’s so much more to do, music wise, up there and I can still visit Cornwall whenever I want. We’ll see.

FVL: How did you first find 2000trees?

I have been a regular Download festival goer for years and some friends I met there told me about 2000 trees. We have the same music taste and they thought I’d like it. They were not wrong, I’m addicted now! My first year was 2017 and I’ve now done 3 on the trot.

FVL: What kind of music would you normally listen to and go to watch?

LEE: I’m into lots of different music but I mostly listen to Rock, Metal, Metalcore or Punk. Trees always seems to have a bit of everything I like so I never fail to find something to watch and I have discovered so many new bands over the 3 years I’ve been going.

There’s some fun stuff too, that everyone enjoys regardless of what they came to watch. Imperial Leisure always seem to put smiles on everyone’s faces.

FVL: Everyone we talk to mentions the silent disco. What’s the deal with that?

LEE: Oh where do I start!?  Pre 2017, I was a silent disco virgin and had to be convinced to give it a go. It is one of the highlights every year now.  We tend to linger up near the cave stage for the rock/metal DJ’s but the music down at main stage is pretty good too. Everyone just seems to let themselves go and enjoy the music and we always end up dancing around with random people.

2000trees silent disco
2000trees silent disco

FVL: What were your highlights from 2000trees 2019?

LEE: It wasn’t really about the main stage headliners for me this year. The Cave stage headliners were unbelievably good. While She Sleeps and Cancer Bats were my favourite bands of the weekend. The Sleeps set was very special. Loz (lead vocals) was unable to make the 2000trees for personal reasons and Griff Dickinson from Shapes, Lucas Woodland from Holding Absence, Andrew Neufeld from Comeback Kid and Liam Cormier from Cancer Bats filled in. It was like someone had done a Christmas special just for me. It was very emotional, and the crowd was mental.

An unexpected highlight was what has become know as the Vukovi Fridge set. Basically, the guy who ultimately won the fancy-dress competition on Saturday, dressed as a fridge-freezer, was ‘encouraged’ into the pit by Janine (lead vocalist) during Vukovi’s set, whilst she crowd-surfed on a lilo. The fridge went down a couple of times, it was complete carnage, but very funny.

We actually camped next to the fridge guy. He’s a nice bloke so it was great to see him win the prize and get all the attention.

FVL: What are your all time 2000trees highlights?

LEE: I’ve only been coming for 3 years but there are so many already. It’s hard to choose. I would have to say Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes in 2017 were amazing on mainstage and in the forest sessions plus discovering Nothing but Thieves that year after saying I didn’t want to watch them. They are now one of my top bands.

FVL: Is there anything that you think 2000trees could do better?

LEE: There isn’t much wrong in my opinion. More toilets and water points down by main stage, maybe. Security seem to be stretched a bit thin at times. If there’s a lively band on in the Cave, they get little overwhelmed by crowd surfers. There don’t seem to be any security patrols in the camping area, but that’s about it.

FVL: Are you planning to come to 2000trees next year 2020?

LEE: I already have my ticket bought and I plan to be there every year I can for the foreseeable future.

FVL: Lee, it’s been really nice chatting to you. Pleased to hear you’ve had a good time. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s 2000trees for the next instalment of chilled Cotswold rock goodness.