One of the most entertaining figures in British culture today, Big Narstie has become a true superstar of the internet age. The BDL figurehead has helped usher in the new era of Grime dominance with his punchy vocal flow and unmistakable presence, dropping by mainstream TV and chart features with ease. Catching a viral sensation in the flesh, Big Narstie’s appearances on the BBC Radio 1Xtra Stage are set to be a true highlight of a legend in the making at this year’s festivals.
Californian heroes Third Eye Blind are set to return to British shores with a hugely anticipated set on the Festival Republic Stage. Following the sold out London & Manchester shows last November, American alternative rock band Third Eye Blind return to the UK for Reading and Leeds. Expect the classics and fan favourites from the first 4 albums, along with songs from their recently released ‘Dopamine’ album.
The favourites of today and the future reign supreme at Reading and Leeds 2016, as seen by the return of Deaf Havana take to the stage armed with a catalogue of unifying rock tales and new material from an upcoming fourth studio album that’s sure to see airplay at their NME/Radio 1 Stage appearance. Rising pop-soul queen Låpsley has drawn vast plaudits for her recently released debut LP ‘Long Way Home’ and her mercurial sound is sure to create a unique and bewitching spectacle on the Festival Republic Stage, whilst Arcane Roots and their heavy-hitting onslaught is sure to be a massive hit over at the Lock Up Stage.
Across a spectrum of stages, Reading and Leeds provides a true platter of game-changing music with a variety of names added to the line up today.
Joining a mammoth line up on the Main Stage that already boasts appearances from the biggest names in modern music are American groove-benders Clutch, celebrating 25 years and 11 studio albums of forward-thinking alternative rock. They are joined today by Macclesfield trio The Virginmarys whose set of riotous punk comes fresh off the back of sophomore album ‘Divides’. Providing an opportunity to seize the biggest stage of the summer, the Main Stage is lined up to provide festival moment after festival moment at Reading and Leeds 2016.
NME / RADIO 1 STAGE
With Deaf Havana announced for their return to Reading and Leeds, the NME/Radio 1 Stage is also set to host the hotly-tipped six-piece Whitney who’s deftly Americana sound has seen them rise into a bonafide force of their own. Formed for just over a year, their debut appearance at Reading and Leeds Festival is sure to be a riveting affair. Joining them are Fickle Friends who have been on the tongues of new music fans for over 18 months, steadily building a reputation for dazzling tropical indie and delectable pop hooks that are sure to bring the sunshine to Reading and Leeds this summer.
THE PIT/LOCK UP STAGE
Alongside Arcane Roots being announced today is the distorted scuzz sound of Ghost Town. Infusing electronic dance music with dank heavy vibrations to form a true hybrid spectacle, Ghost Town will be coming to The Pit with sheer ferocious intent fresh from having spent the entire summer on the Warped Tour in America. Also on the Lock Up stage, rising favourites Greywind will touch down for a hotly anticipated performance, as the Irish brother-sister duo unleash a wave of sound that cements just why they remain one of the hottest properties in rock today. Full of originality and sensational live spectacles, The Pit/Lock Up Stage once again boasts the best in the heavy rock sphere.
FESTIVAL REPUBLIC STAGE
Full of the headliners and the anthemic sounds of tomorrow, the Festival Republic Stage has added even more of the hottest names in ground-breaking new sounds. Psychedelic Australian rockers King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard will be launching into dense technicolour, whilst ethereal sound-scapers Palace will continue their rise with an emphatic and moon-lit set this summer. With further appearances announced for pop groover Will Joseph Cook, Austrian ‘stoner-rock’ duo White Miles and the alternative neo-indie of Gnash, the Festival Republic Stage is once again the place to be.
With Big Narstie announced today, the BBC 1XTRA Stage packs the biggest urban festival line up of the summer, with new additions including radio icon Charlie Sloth; arguably the voice of British urban music and a true champion of innovative and fresh hip-hop from around the globe. He’ll take to the decks alongside names including established South London MC Sneakbo, Jay Z collaborator Baauer, US underground starlet Mick Jenkins, Kiko Bun and his modern take on classic reggae and admired producer Troyboi. With The Range and Rude Kid also confirmed for moments across the weekend, the BBC 1XTRA Stage will provide an exciting soundtrack to the bank holiday weekend.
Stuffed full of incredible music and festival memories, Reading and Leeds 2016 will break new ground with 5 Headliners Over 3 Days, with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals, Biffy Clyro, Disclosure and Fall Out Boy all commanding euphoric celebrations for landmark headlining performances. They head up a bill that includes the leading names in rock, indie, dance, hip-hop, RnB and everything in-between featuring Jack U, The 1975, Two Door Cinema Club, Boy Better Know, Chvrches, Imagine Dragons, The Vaccines, A$AP Rocky, HAIM, Nas, Good Charlotte, Asking Alexandria, Fetty Wap and over 200 more. The epicentre of alternative music, Reading and Leeds is once again destined to cement the next generation of musical legends.
Biffy Clyro (Co-headline) (UK Festival Exclusive)
Fall Out Boy (Co-headline) (UK Festival Exclusive)
Red Hot Chili Peppers (Headline)
Imagine Dragons (European Festival Exclusive)
Two Door Cinema Club
Boy Better Know
The Vaccines (UK Festival Exclusive)
A$AP Rocky (UK Festival Exclusive)
HAIM (UK Festival Exclusive)
Nas (UK Festival Exclusive)
Good Charlotte (UK Festival Exclusive)
Coheed and Cambria
Tonight Alive (UK Festival Exclusive)
Twenty One Pilots (UK Festival Exclusive)
Crystal Castles (UK Festival Exclusive)
Fetty Wap (UK Festival Exclusive)
Eagles Of Death Metal (UK Festival Exclusive)
Parkway Drive (UK Festival Exclusive)
Nothing But Thieves
The Internet (UK Festival Exclusive)
Lower Than Atlantis (UK Festival Exclusive)
Asking Alexandria (UK Festival Exclusive)
The Dillinger Escape Plan (UK Festival Exclusive)
Travi$ Scott (UK Festival Exclusive)
G-Eazy (UK Festival Exclusive)
Five Finger Death Punch (UK Festival Exclusive)
Sleeping With Sirens (UK Festival Exclusive)
The Neighbourhood (UK Festival Exclusive)
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
Die Antwoord (UK Festival Exclusive)
Cage The Elephant (UK Festival Exclusive)
Krept & Konan
Half Moon Run
The Temper Trap
Brian Fallon And The Crowes
Clean Cut Kid
Pulled Apart By Horses
The Magic Gang
Highly Suspect (UK Festival Exclusive)
Lewis Del Mar
The Vryll Society
Giraffe Tongue Orchestra
Danny L Harle
Fred V & Grafix
The Japanese House
David Rodigan MBE
My Nu Leng B2B Oneman + Dread MC (Reading) / Oneman B2B My Nu Leng + Dread MC (Leeds)
If I was going to tell you that I knew anything about the 2000Trees festival as I was stuck on a hellish drive down from London on Thursday, it would be an outright lie- the small festival on the outskirts of Chelt enham has managed to evade my personal radar for 8 years since it’s inception and having learnt about it last year, I can count myself lucky enough to have attended this year. Still, besides all of the hype from previous years’ attendants, I had not entirely decided on what I should expect.
The modest capacity festival is hidden deep in the Gloucestershire countryside, complete with rolling hills, bleating flocks of sheep, and and an idyllic river running around the edge of the site, and even though we were lucky with the weather (A welcome change from the usual rain of the UK festival scene) the scenery would have stood up and still looked beautiful regardless.
Unfortunately arriving later than anticipated, and due to the lack of advertising for Thursday’s acts, we missed some of the earlier performances. However, Thursday night saw the Indie rock and rollers, THE SUBWAYS draw close to the day’s music with their explosively energetic performance at ‘The Cave’ while ANDREW O’NEIL headed up ‘The Croft’ with his Schadenfreude style of comedy, somewhat appropriately referencing to the late Bill Hicks in his set, to warm reception.
I kicked off Friday’s music with a punt on a completely new band to me – BITE THE BUFFALO, and how glad I was that I did. Comparing the 2 piece from Bath, England; to Royal Blood would be short sighted, as the Blues outfit brought filthy riffs, bluesy overdrive, and confident ballsy attitude and stagemanship, yet an honest humility that cemented them as my favourite act of the weekend. ALLUSONDRUGS treated a modest crowd to their blend of Indie rock and acid infused prog, switching seamlessly from one to the other. Heading up to ‘The Croft’ I had planned to catch some of SAM RUSSO’s set whilst escaping the peaking sun- the Singer-songwriter providing a nice contrast from Allusondrugs, allowing those who chose to get respite from the sweltering sun with a calm background of songs about love, friendship and moving on. Having only intended to catch a bit of his set, I ended up staying for the whole thing. Back on the main stage, TAX ON HEAT continued the stage’s bluesfest with sweaty and groovy 70’s era licks, with a stage presence that wouldn’t be out of place on a bigger stage, with a bigger crowd. Catching a bit of DEAD HARTS set over lunch at the Cave Stage, a welcomed heavy and tight performance was only dampened by the Sheffield rockers insistence on perpetually insulting the crowd, and trying to goad them into movement. NOTHING BUT THIEVES brought a massive crowd to ‘The Axiom’, the first act of the day to pack out the tent, fans sprawling around outside singing along to their set.
The main convenience of 2000trees scheduling is that most of the line up is staggered over the stages, meaning you only ever have to choose between 2 acts to see or easily catch half of both sets enabling whole days of tent hopping and the potential to (talking in extremes here) see every act (or if you realise that you are in the wrong place entirely, to avoid every act.) I spent a bit of time in the hidden ‘Room No.7’ to sit down and chill out on a sofa, with the sounds of ACOLLECTIVE bouncing across the site.
Back to the Main Stage, and YOUNG GUNS had already seized control of their crowd, with frontman Gustav Wood commanding their crowd with professional bravado that one would expect of a band of this caliber, while the band behind ran a tight ship, as the stadium filling hits kept coming. Headliners DEAF HAVANA, making a welcome return after a self realised absence kicked off their set with ‘The Past 6 Years’, before packing out their set with most of their more recent hits, with the whole crowd throwing back the lyrics right back at them. Humbled by the crowd’s staggering response, an emotional James Veck-Gilodi apologised for their recent absence and with the promise of a new album, a headline tour and new drive and enthusiasm for Deaf Havana, before closing off their night with nostalgic anthem, Hunstanton Pier.
The night didn’t end there for the people of 2000Trees, however. Silent discos then kicked off across the site at the Main Stage and The Cave, whilst The Axiom provided silent cinema until 3am, and acoustic sets around the site on the various busk stops and down at The Forest kept those who missed out on headphones for the silent activities entertained until around 1am, or until they staggered off into the night.
Saturday’s music kicked off with an unusual act on the Main Stage, HUMAN PYRAMIDS. Described as Neo-Classical meets Post-Punk, Axe’s Paul Russell’s brainchild soothingly eased everyone into the day’s music, starting with a melodic introduction from their String quartet and horns section, before gradually coming to a crescendo with roaring guitars and heavy bass. Opening up ‘The Cave’ at 12:25 were Blackpool’s BOSTON MANOR (check out the interview HERE), who didn’t see fit to spare audiences hangovers, and bust straight into a flurry of fast paced punk hits from the go, not relenting until their time was up, having been a fan of BOSTON MANOR for a while, I am glad to have caught their set, before interviewing them later in the day.
Through other people’s suggestion, I headed over to check out MILK TEETH (on ‘The Axiom’), but was unable to get closer than the side of the tent, due to their massive pull for their time slot. The Stroud based group cranked out grungy punk, often showing their very heavy Nirvana influence, but unfortunately failed to capture my attention for all that long, as their (maybe purposefully, and fitting with the grunge genre) set sounded unpolished and loose. I caught a bit of BOY JUMPS SHIP’s set back on ‘The Axiom’, which keeping in the ‘Pop-Punk’ theme of the stage going, managed to play their faster, more intricate set than the preceding band with a lot more technical proficiency and enthusiasm, creating a more enjoyable experience for the casual music fans loitered in between stages for their lunch.
On the subject of lunch, 2000trees has a modest selection of food vendors dotted around the site, by each of the 3 main stages. Festival food for me seems like it has a bad rep, but the team at 2000trees only seem to have booked vendors who would offer a fair service for non-extortionate prices. Grilled Halloumi burgers and sweet potato fries kept me sustained throughout Friday, while a chunky bacon butty and fresh scotch eggs kept me alive Saturday. Monmouth Coffee being served as well was a really big surprise, and you’d get change from a tenner for a meal, which when coming from London is a rarity.
After lunch, songstress ALICE PHEOBE LOU dazzled the crowd with her beautiful voice, serenading the crowd with angelic highs with a bit of Sia-esque grit hidden behind. Forgetting lyrics aside, as she bonded with the crowd over the weather, and treated us all to a chilled, eerie set. As the day edged to an end, and after an outstanding genre spanning set from THE SKINTS, I found myself back up at ‘The Croft’ for THE BIG SIXES, only due to the fact they had spent the day attaching terrible posters to everything across the site advertising their set, and not knowing what to expect initially, my doubts were swept away by a tide of harmonies, expertly crafted songwriting, and top notch inter-song conversation, before their encore consisting of a couple of songs in the crowd, surrounded by a mass of singing fans. THE BIG SIXES managed to work up a predominantly neutral audience into a hyped crowd, a feat that would be natural for an established fast paced Pop-Punk band, but not for a slow and groovy act such as The Big Sixes.
Saturday’s headliners ALKALINE TRIO took to the stage at 21:45 just as the clouds began to burst, having held out -threatening rain- for the latter half of the day. The initial swell of excitement quickly died out, as those who were not diehard fans were let down by what was a lethargic performance, frontman Matt Skiba giving an uncomfortable appearance, whilst he murmured out lyrics to songs with little emotion. Bassist Dan Andriano however was giving a lot more to the crowd, interacting well with drummer Derek Grant and moving around the stage between swapping vocal priorities with Matt. Unfortunately for ALKALINE TRIO, and what may have be exacerbated by a disappointing lack of crowd compared to their stateside presence, or what Matt Skiba may now be used to playing for Blink 182, a more instant degree of stagemanship is necessary to win over a crowd that may not only be there to see you, as not to fade into the background.
So what would I say about my first experience at 2000Trees?
I’m going to be bold with this statement, the attitude at 2000Trees reminds me of that at Glastonbury, albeit on a tiny scale. You get the real feeling that the people around you haven’t just come to see their favourite band, and will spend the rest of their time getting into as much trouble as possible, but more that it’s an annual tradition for them. The nine year old festival caters for everyone, and whilst running about the site this weekend, the amount of friendly faces I would bump into at each act astounded me, only to bump into them 20 minutes later at a different tent.
The site itself is relatively tiny, but not cramped. Even those arriving half way through Friday were finding spots to camp up with ease, with enough room for stoves, barbecues or extra gazebos to sleep under when their tents got too hot.
I’m not sure what my favourite part of this weekend has been- whether it’s the terrific atmosphere from the punters in the know and relish the intimacy of this little festival, the picturesque surroundings that the festival is lucky enough to have, the fantastically located Forest stage or what has been a fantastic line up, bringing some names such as Deaf Havana, We Are The Ocean, MClusky* and Alkaline Trio, and providing emerging and underground UK music a proving ground on the UK festival scene. This weekend at 2000Trees has been one that shall be remembered, relished, and hopefully repeated in the coming years.
Tickets for 2000Trees 10th year are now on Sale, and can be picked up on their site.
The final raft of bands has been revealed for the 2000trees Festival, as organisers confirm they expect the event to sell out.
Joining the likes of DEAF HAVANA, ALKALINE TRIO, IDLEWILD, WE ARE THE OCEAN, THE SUBWAYS and YOUNG GUNS are…
Errors / Skinny Lister / Honeyblood / Kiran Leonard / ROAM / Tax the Heat / Boy Jumps Ship & Oh Boy!
The award-winning 2000trees Festival celebrates its ninth year near Cheltenham, on 9-11 July. It features the very best new and underground music on six stages, plus comedy, DJs, a silent disco, quality food and drink and children’s entertainment.
Other acts among the 100-strong bill include And So I Watch You From Afar, Mclusky*, The Skints, Future of the Left, Kerbdog, Pulled Apart By Horses, Arcane Roots, The Xcerts, Bury Tomorrow, The Twilight Sad, Benjamin Booker, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Turbowolf, Feed the Rhino and Defeater.
Electronica showstoppers Public Service Broadcasting will bring their unique visual and musical performance – including TV sets, sampling and live video – to this summer’s 2000trees Festival.
Itch, Blitz Kids, Hawk Eyes, The Virginmary’s, Winter Villains and Verse Chorus Verse have also joined the 100-strong line-up, with organisers promising ‘the best year yet’ for discovering new favourite bands.
Organiser James Scarlett said: “2000trees has won national awards for encapsulating what many music fans want – a wide selection of new and underground British music in an affordable, fun and friendly environment, not to mention the beautiful Cotswolds countryside.
“Our line-up is strongly influenced by fans’ input as well as our own experiences as music fans, so we are proud to say this will be the best year yet for variety and strength in depth of acts.”
Already announced acts are: Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Jamie Lenman, Tall Ships, Wolf Alice, Canterbury, Arcane Roots, Gnarwolves, Johnny Foreigner, Ben Marwood, Lonely the Brave, Natives, Dad Rocks!, &U&I, Slaves, The Retrospective Soundtrack Players, Oxygen Thief, Radstewart.
Acts now announced:
Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Public Service Broadcasting, Jamie Lenman, Tall Ships, Wolf Alice, Canterbury, Arcane Roots, Itch, Blitz Kids, Hawk Eyes, Gnarwolves, Johnny Foreigner, Ben Marwood, Lonely the Brave, Natives, Dad Rocks!, &U&I, Slaves, The Virginmary’s, The Retrospective Soundtrack Players, Oxygen Thief, Radstewart, Winter Villains, Verse Chorus Verse.