2000 Trees Festival 2013

A lot of festivals try to be everything to everyone, which is no bad thing. But 2000 Trees is unashamedly about the music, new, diverse, intelligent, challenging music, which crosses genres from relaxed foot tapping Folk through to ear bleeding Hardcore. The common factor?…….These six festival organisers have put on a line up of bands that are, or will be, top of their game, even if you don’t know it yet.

The festival site sits in idyllic surroundings in The Cotswolds, is very considerate of the green surroundings and caters for families as well as the predominately young attendees. Ample food and beer on sale, all of a quality you would expect from a West Country, Farm Heavy Shire, where the animals and burgers to be, are treated as royalty, The camping is well layed out, with views of the main stage in the thick of things or further up the site in quieter locations.

The festivals aims to have people leave with a new favourite band. This is exactly what is achieved and a whole lot more. The site consists of four stages, The Main stage, The Cave, The Leaf Lounge, The Green house, each of a different size with its own unique atmosphere.

However, some of the best moments are those unexpected and impromptu performances, be it the three giggling girls and a ukulele playing on the 2000 trees sign up the hill, or the already Legendary Frank Turner in a campsite, playing to 50 or so lucky bystanders. This was one of many appearances by Mr Turner, Playing the The Cave on Thursday night, the BBC Introducing stage and appearing ad hoc during the sets of some of his fellow artists around site. Easily earning himself the title of hardest working artist of the weekend.

2000 Trees

FRIDAY Was mainly spent in The Cave, rather hot and sticky due to the Festival landing on the hottest weekend of the year, much to the delight of fans who attended the Welly worthy event previously. A mid afternoon set saw Hold Your Horse is, step up,to play their Prog Rock to the assembled crowd. As they move further into the set you realise this band has depth, tempo changes, mood swings, that leave you wondering what is coming next.

Black Moth follow with a take on what has previously been considered a Midlands based Rock, An old Skool sound, but reinvented and played with an addictive youthful enthusiasm that pleases all.

INME are the pre headline, they play to a packed tent with people having to stand outside to even grab a peek. The band feel, sound and look massive, Rock with depth, changing direction, worthy of selling out the biggest of venues, but thankfully seen on a more personal set.

Adebesi Skank close day one in The Cave with a memorable performance of insanity. A manic, energetic performance, masked weirdness, a huge wall of sound, that sends fans into frenzied movement in front of the stage, mirroring that of the band.

Whilst on the main stage, Mr Frank Turner holds court, probably the most eagerly awaited performance of the weekend. The crowd are ecstatic from the opening chords of ‘Four simple words’ through some of his most popular and not so often heard body of work, ‘Plain Sailing Weather’ goes down a storm, no pun intended!  As Mr T takes to the stage for an encore of ‘Recovery’ and ‘I still believe’ every foot in the field is tapping and a crowd of voices sing a long with the man himself. It is still a sight to behold as Frank manages to get a majority of the crowd to sit down, then jump up during ‘Photosynthesis’ with the fans singing every word in delight.

Saturday. Today’s opener in The Cave is the metal might that is Grappler. A mention is worthy due to them igniting a Mosh Pit at Midday, on a summers afternoon. The intensity of the Lead singer and wild eyed front man is sure to blow the cobwebs away from the night before. At one point jumping into the crowd, kneeling, screaming to the congregation during a song most personal to himself. The next moment back on his feet and locking heads, with a fan willing to scream back his lyrics.

I have to drag myself away from The Cave and check The Main Stage, a slower pace but with an array of emerging or unspoilt talent. Local Boy Andy Oliveri opens after playing a handful of songs up at The Green House, recorded for a BBC Introducing session. Including a collaboration with Frank Turners new favourites, The Cadbury Sisters, after performing there own set the night before, a family festival indeed, amongst the artists as much!!

The Bluesy John J Presley took command later and with blues hitting a younger generation once more, there is a good chance that Mr Presley could earn his place amongst the great bluesman of the past, the stateside heavies of the 50’s or the Brum based God like Rockers of the 70’s, with his own take on the genre.

Indie heavyweights Mystery Jets close the final night. Some may consider the Indie scene a thing of the past, a floppy fringed predictable style. The Jets have other ideas though with a set of crowd favourites that excite, with a diversity of songs, a band that belie their near decade playing and thrilling audiences.

Performance of the festival for me? Math Rock Mammoths, Future of the left playing an epic set, loud, manic, intelligent, mind blowing.  ‘You need Satan more than he needs you’ being possibly the best song live I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing.

2000 Trees live up to all the promises. It was the most pleasurable of festivals, fuelled by copious amounts of caffeine, courtesy of the Coffee Crew at The Paper Cup Café. If you are a Muso, forward thinking, or just want to expose yourself to new sounds, creative genius, a new family, a fantastic festival and atmosphere, 2000 Trees 2014 awaits, will have you wishing you had more ears……

Photos by Dale Wozencroft

Wychwood, Beer, Cheer and Bubbles.

This is the 9th Wychwood festival to take place, which is a tragedy for me as it means I have missed 8 years of this fun filled, family friendly, yet modest event, that gently launches you into the summer festival period.  Set in the grounds of Cheltenham race course and overlooked by the Cotswold Hills, this venue is used to horseplay of a four-legged nature, but with neigh a nag in sight, Prestbury Park comes alive with a wide spectrum of characters.

The first days sound track set the pace for what would shape up to be quite the eclectic mix.  Early evening The Beat proved how they secured their rightful place high up the Ska tree. With Rankin Roger & Son getting the crowd stomping to the ever popular Ska beats. Toploader followed with their breezy, sing a long songs, that keep the crowd on a high.  Friday night headliners Soul II Soul with their blend of R&B, Soul and Electronica, surprised many who thought them a one song band (Back to life). With each song played you couldn’t help regret not paying more attention 25 years ago. But better late than never!! They exit the stage, leaving the crowd craving for more.

Saturday sees the music shift to a broader range. Unfortunately the delectable Kate Nash pulls out poorly. The Wedding Present are a crowd pleaser as they work through some of their phenomenal body of work. A French twist next from festival favourites The Caravan Palace, who’s zany Gypsy Jazz, Electro swing, is a sight and sound to behold, a big band wall of music fronted by the mesmerising stage presence that is Zoé Colotis a must see. The night’s headliners are 80’s Electro New Wave sensation The Human League and with a catalogue of hits, the crowd were on their feet from the opening “Mirror Man” to the ever popular “Don’t You Want Me” ending another great night with “Together in Electric Dreams”. The set and backdrop pay homage to the futuristic approach of the 80’s, that seem just as futuristic and relevant today, Little wonder so many artists since, have voiced this Flamboyant and eccentric group as an influence.

Sunday becomes a field of laughter with the humorous yet skilful take on classical and popular songs by the Ukele Orchestra of Great Britain.  Smiles a plenty but with admiration from this musically talented troop.  The laughter continues as Bill Bailey and his side splitting comedy take over.  Nobody being prepared for the music, jokes and insanity of this middle-aged madman. This massive force could have easily have been the finale for the main stage, but the organisers decided to bring the evening to a close by treating an appreciative crowd to the Dub Powerhouse that is Dreadzone.  This reggae tinged set was the perfect end to a fabulous weekend, having the crowd bounce and groove out the evening.

 A couple of standout performances on the smaller but no lesser stages included Becky Rose, with her one gal, synth based beats and Craig Charles funk and soul show, where the crowd were whipped up in to a frenzy to match that of the energetic, multi-talented showman.

When the main attractions have finished and the majority of the crowd have turned in for the night, one stage is determined to party on regardless. As I approach the big top tent with strobes escaping from the entrance I can’t help but think that there is something missing?   Upon entry I am handed a pair of wireless headphones and as I walk on through to a sea of crazy revellers it is apparent that I have entered a nut house.  This is the silent disco, a room full of clubbers and two DJ’s but no music through the loud speakers.  I put the headphones on and find myself instantly condemned to the madhouse as I flick between the two DJ’s and adjust my dancing style accordingly.

Music for all genres means that young or old you will at some point find your dancing shoes and at the very least discover new and exciting sounds.  There are over 100 workshops to choose from, complimented with cuisine from the four corners of the world.

A lasting memory of the festival will be that of a  man releasing  another wave of bubbles they glisten like the northern lights as they pass over the light filled stage.  Wychwood really captures the essence of what a festival is about with a great energy and atmosphere.