LIVE: 2000 Trees Festival

By Lais

Celebrating its 10th Birthday this year, 2000 Trees has come a long way since its inception. We headed to the Gloucestershire countryside for three days of great music, great food and a great atmosphere – here’s what we got up to:


Kicking off our 2000 Trees weekend was the bandana-wearing Rob Lynch and his army of sidekicks. With new album ‘Baby I’m A Runaway’ only weeks away, ‘Trees was the perfect time to catch the new songs live, including recent single ‘Prove It!’. However it was fan favourite ‘My Friends & I’ which really made an impact, the roaring crowd drowning out Rob’s vocals as he stands back with a massive grin on his face. Brian Fallon and Frank Turner might want to watch their backs, because Lynch is right on their heels and doing exceedingly well. [TW]

Three years ago, I arrived at my first ever 2000 Trees Festival and one of the first bands I watched that weekend was The Xcerts. Now, standing in almost the same spot as I did then, it’s easy to see the growth the band have made in those few years. With a packed out Cave Stage, the Scottish trio power through tracks from the last album and their new found confidence is staggering. ‘Aberdeen 1987’ receives a sing-a-long that could probably be heard from hundreds of miles away and Festival romance filled the air as a couple get engaged during the ever-emotional ‘There Is Only You’, aww. There is a reason that The Xcerts keep getting asked back to 2000 Trees and we’re sure as hell not ready to let them leave yet. [TW]

The Forest is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the Festival, with hammocks and hay bails aplenty to chill out with your pals and soak up the acoustic niceties of the artists who play. Somewhat of a local hero at ‘Trees is Jim Lockey, better known as the frontman of Solemn Sun. Two years ago he stood on this exact same stage and spoke the words that he would never play his old (Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun) songs again. Alas, you can’t deny the crowd for too long and the turnout for his solo acoustic set was huge. Songs of old are met with huge praise and love from fans & friends alike and with his final tune came the humblest of endings. Standing amongst the crowd, his closest companions gathered around him and sung the words back as loud as they could, and for once it was nice to take a step back and witness the effect music has on personal friendships, a sight that can only leave you with a smile. [TW]

843A0655Tonight sees secret headliner Frank Turner take to the stage in the Axiom tent, and judging by the excellent turnout, the ‘secret’ didn’t stay secret for very long. 2000 Trees is exactly the right crowd for Frank Turner: from old Million Dead fans to the devoted followers of his solo career, everyone is delighted to see him play. There are too many singalong moments to mention, but with a setlist that includes tracks like ‘English Curse’ and ‘The Balled Of Me And My Friends’, it’s safe to say everyone present is having a lovely time. [LMW]

Over on the Cave stage, The Bronx are more than ready to let loose. If there’s one band who know how to play a rip roaring live show, it’s ‘The Motherfucking Bronx’. From start to finish, it’s complete and utter chaos, exactly as you would expect from a The Bronx show. Even playing on big stages, they come across just as raw and passionate as they did when they first started out, and that’s a pretty impressive feat for a band who have been going for over a decade. Long live The Bronx. [LMW]


Alcopop Records’ latest darlings Happy Accidents probably weren’t the most popular kids in school, but they make one hell of a cool indie band. Frontman Rich is all limbs and laughter as they work through tracks from recently released debut ‘You Might Be Right’ and drummer Phoebe proves that chicks can sit behind a kit and slay just as much as if they were up front. The trio deliver their indie-punk melodies with a huge side of fun and it’s easy to see why so many have warmed to the band. The Neu Stage at ‘Trees is about bringing Festival goers the best in emerging talent and Happy Accidents are a band everyone should have on their radar. [TW]

2000 Trees isn’t the only great thing to come out of Cheltenham you know, and the guys in Crooks made it their duty to do their hometown proud with their main stage performance. Though possibly the band would have been better suited to the Cave, as some of vocals and guitars were lost amongst the overpowering bass, Crooks still put on a stellar performance. Vocalist Josh Rogers is as energetic and emotional as ever and the delivery of the tracks from debut ‘Are We All The Same Distance Apart’ is almost faultless. With Solemn Sun’s Chris Capewell joining in the fun for his guest vocal slot on ‘What Might Have Been’ the performance is one they’ll surely remember for years to come. [TW]

Trash Boat are one of those bands who have a lot of hype around them right now, and after watching them play the Cave stage, it’s well and truly justified. The band have a fairly early stage time and they still manage to fill the tent. They have fantastic energy, bouncing around the stage, and teamed with some great songs, they’re a pleasure to watch. [LMW]

WACO are one of those bands who don’t sound anything like anyone else, and it’s their uniqueness (and loud shirts) that make them so interesting to watch. Frontman Jak Hutchcraft and his band are incredibly watchable, so make sure you keep an eye on these guys. There’s a reason why Venn Records signed them. [LMW]

With members from Gallows and Sikth (as well as Radio 1 Rock Show’s Dan P Carter), Krokodil were never going to be anything but relentlessly heavy. When they take to the Cave stage, there’s a huge turnout, and rightfully so. This band have some fantastic chugging riffs and it’s almost impossible not to headbang while they play. Brilliant. [LMW]

Counterfeit only formed last year, but they’ve already achieved a lot: they played a hugely successful first UK headline tour in April, and they’ve been playing European festivals this summer, as well as shows with the mighty Billy Talent. Frontman Jamie Campbell-Bower (also known for being in Twilight, Harry Potter etc) has a wonderfully unique voice and fantastic charisma to match, and the whole band are a pleasure to watch. Songs like their newest single ‘Enough’ are only a small taster of what’s to come from these guys. Definitely ones to watch. [LMW]

In a stroke of perfect timing, the sun comes out just in time for Neck Deep. And if there’s one band in the world who sound good in the sunshine, it’s them. They get a huge turnout, one of the biggest of the whole weekend, and they get an incredible reaction. There are gigantic sing-a-longs and genuinely great pop-punk vibes, and it truly feels like summer while they’re playing. The highlight of the whole set is predictably their ‘Can’t Kick Up The Roots’ finale, but the whole set’s pretty damn great. Bravo. [LMW]

Similarly to The Xcerts, it was at 2000 Trees a couple years ago that I first got to see Lonely the Brave live and I haven’t looked back since. Back then though, the band were still finding their footsteps as a group, with only a handful of songs to their name. Now, they’re two albums deep and they’re tighter than ever as live performers. Vocalist David Jakes has become somewhat known for his timidness on stage, often standing at the rear rather than playing the part of a flamboyant frontman, but this evening we see him take a step forward and really make the most of his time on the stage. The newer songs are just as powerful as those that won us over at the beginning and though they don’t follow any ‘trends’ within music, what they do create is heartfelt and beautiful and they should feel proud of everything they’ve become. [TW]

843A1590Next up are Mallory Knox on the main stage, and they are just as wonderful as ever. This band are the absolute best for catchy choruses and huge sing-a-longs, and they sound completely glorious this evening. Playing songs like ‘Getaway’ and ‘Shout At The Moon’ off their most recent album ‘Asymmetry’ throughout the set and then dropping the huge ‘Lighthouse’ as their finale, everyone in the crowd is delighted. [LMW]

It’s safe to say Basement have been pretty popular for a long time, especially since they returned from their hiatus in 2014. Tonight they completely pack out the Cave tent, which is overflowing with gushing fans, and it’s a great night for them. It’s also a good chance for fans to hear material off ‘Promise Everything’, which was released in January, along with some older hits. They sound great tonight, and everyone comes away extremely happy. [LMW]

Over on the Axiom stage, Moose Blood have more than packed out the tent, and it’s a truly special night for everyone involved. Moose Blood are one of those bands people really connect with, and ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time’ is one of those albums that truly touches people. With the mixture of Moose Blood’s excellent show, the sing-a-longs and the lighting, it makes for an incredible atmosphere. The most special moment of the night is when they play ‘Gum’ and everyone starts an almighty sing-a-long to “Do you wanna come over later…?” There are people sitting on other people’s shoulders with arms in the air singing their little hearts out, and it’s wonderful to see. Bravo Moose Blood. [LMW]

843A2057In the weeks running up to 2000 Trees, it seemed like Twin Atlantic’s headline performance could be put in jeopardy after vocalist Sam McTrusty caught a severe viral throat infection, which lead to the cancellation of many shows and other Festival slots. Fortunately, he battled through and they arrived to the main stage ready to give it everything they’d got. ‘Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator’ kicked everything into gear, big, bright lights emphasising their arrival. All worries of Sam’s abilities were shattered as he threw himself into the song, looking effortlessly cool and ever the rockstar as he bounced around the stage, flaunting the somewhat new direction Twin Atlantic are heading in with the new album.

From then on it is full-throttle, Twin Atlantic at their absolute best. ‘Hold On’, ‘Make a Beast of Myself’ and ‘Yes, I Was Drunk’ are pure crowd pleasers, but it’s ‘I Am An Animal’ that causes havoc, with Twin demanding we drop to the floor and throw ourselves back up to the final, hyperactive chorus. Understandably, ‘Free’ is a must-hear for the thousands that have gathered to see them and it is made oh so sweeter by the additional vocals from Murray Macleod (The Xcerts), you can almost feel the Scottish pride oozing out of all of them.

With their headline performance coming to its end, Twin perform a stunning rendition of ‘Crash Land’, bringing everyone together for a (slightly wobbly) sway before we all have one last hurrah to ‘Brothers & Sisters’ and ‘Heart and Soul’. To some, Twin Atlantic were an unlikely choice to headline 2000 Trees, but they pull it off better than many who have graced the same slot before. With their fourth album on its way, it’s doubtful that this will be their only Festival headlining slot for years to come. [TW]


UK hardcore has seen a surge of credible acts breaking into the limelight recently and Terrible Love are a band that stand out amongst the ruckus. Debut EP ‘Change Nothing’ blew my head off when it was released and despite feeling slightly broken (it is the third day after all) I was very much ready for more of the same. Opening with the EPs title track, frontman Jonathan Desmond demands us to wake the fuck up, his throaty vocals raw with emotion. The set is short but devilishly sweet and proves that Terrible Love are onto something really great. [TW]

Scotland is well represented at 2000 Trees this year, what with Twin Atlantic headlining and The Xcerts kicking off the Festival on Thursday night, but the one band who well and truly bring the party is pop-rap-rock outfit The LaFontaines. Fusing together huge choruses with Kerr’s unique Scottish rapping (really, it works) this mad bunch have everyone off their feet, even those that were so adamant to remain on their bums. With fellow Scotsmen in the crowd, chants of “FREEDOM!” were bounced back and forth throughout, Kerr impressed with his tennis skills thanks to the fancy dressers in the crowd and overall everyone just had a really good fucking time. Sometimes music can get a little too serious and a lot of drama unfolds, but then there is The LaFontaines and they’re here to remind you to enjoy yourself every once in a while. [TW]

Creeper are another of those bands who have a lot of hype around them right now, and approximately a quarter of the crowd at 2000 Trees seem to be wearing their merchandise. Pretty impressive for a band who haven’t been around all that long, but they deserve it. They don’t sound a million miles away from a love child of Alkaline Trio and AFI, but that’s a hell of a compliment in itself. Today they are raw and energetic while also maintaining a great sound, and there’s no doubt they’re ones to watch. [LMW]

Zoax are one of those bands you can watch over and over again and never get bored of them. Every show is a little different, each one a little more bonkers than the last and frontman Adam Carroll never disappoints. This time he aggravates anyone who’d chosen to sit just outside the Cave stage and enjoy their food, stole a bottle of whisky and coke and also borrowed approximately 7 hats from those gathered around him. All of this while the rest of the band seamlessly deliver the funk-infused hardcore rhythms which make up the band’s debut album. Aside from all the fun and frolics of their live set, Zoax have worked incredibly hard to get to this stage of their career and it’s really great to see them becoming so widely adored within the alternative music scene. [TW]

Over on the Axiom stage are Black Foxxes, who are about to release their debut album ‘I’m Not Well’. There’s a great turnout for them, and their mixture of big riffs and often melancholy lyrics makes for a special performance. They’re undoubtedly a band with a lot of potential, and there’s not long to wait to see what they’ve got under their sleeves with their debut album (spoiler: it’s pretty great). [LMW]

File643Grumble Bee probably isn’t a name you’d put with a music act, but it’s one you definitely need to pay attention to. Jack Bennett & crew, aka Grumble Bee take to the Neu Stage as if they’d played it a thousand times over. With only one EP, it’s amazing to see so many people singing every song word for word and becoming emotionally involved with the performance. Bennett is an exceptionally talented musician, with a jaw-dropping vocal tone, it’s hard to not just stand there in awe of the man. He’s thankful for everyone who’s shown up today, when really it’s us who are thankful for the music he has written. Big, BIG things are still yet to come for this humble man. [TW]

Tonight While She Sleeps more than bring the fire to the Cave tent. The crowds are overflowing and the suspense before they come on is huge. As they take to the stage, the crowd go absolutely wild, with While She Sleeps flags flying and the fans chanting for them. This is one of the rowdiest crowds of the whole festival, and the band incite a circle pit that’s so massive it goes around the outside of the tent. It’s bloody fantastic to see, and with their setlist including absolute bangers like ‘Four Walls’, ‘Seven Hills’ and ‘This Is The Six’, it couldn’t get much better. Utterly glorious. [LMW]