After doing the interview with James, one of the organisers of Two Thousand Trees it was just too tempting not to go and see the festival with my own eyes. So I packed up the tent and drove to Upcote Farm in Cheltenham to experience the first ever Two Thousand Trees Festival.
On arrival the weather sucked…it rained, it was muddy, it was cold, but the atmosphere was buzzing and there was a real sense of spirit in the air. Everybody seemed to be expecting good things from this festival. Despite it being the smallest festival site I’ve ever seen it worked and everybody got into the swing of things pretty quickly. The tents managed to go up despite the hellish wind and never-ending rain and once the bar opened and the festival cider (aptly named Badgers Bottom!) got flowing things started to liven up. The first band took to the stage and the Festival began!
The rain got worse into the evening but the festival picked up momentum and everybody had a great time! Highlights for me were The Anomalies who despite not being my normal cup of tea at all put on a great show and got the crowd going, The Novocaines were another great band and Frank Turner who headlined went down a storm! I made sure I was at the Acoustic Stage in time to see Jim Lockey who is a personal favourite of mine, having seen him in Bristol a few times and he didn’t disappoint. With a full tent audience he put on a great show!
Sleep was as rare as always at a festival but mainly due to the rain and wind which were horrendous through the night (although the person falling into our tent and landing on my head didn’t help!!). I’ve known worse noise at festivals though and people were pretty respectful of others, which made a nice change! We woke up Saturday to beautiful weather. The wellies were still required wear due to the rain the day before and through the night but it was all systems go for Day Two!
I stuck to the main stage for the whole day…there were just too many bands I wanted to check out so I found a not so wet spot and got comfy! Highlights of the day were Bizali a Bristol band who were fantastic (and have had a Number One in Luxembourg!), Halagoogoo who were another Bristol band and full of personality…just their outfits (or lack of Mr Drummer!!!) said it all, Irritant were particularly good as a traditional rock band, great musical breaks, Devil Sold His Soul were brilliant and a band I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on. Brigade were good as always and headlining were InMe, one of my favourite bands, so I’m probably biased, but they put on a great show full of a mix of new and old tracks and closed the festival in true rock style!
Unfortunately I missed the last night revelries in the campsite which looked set to be great fun, as rushed back to make Ashton Court’s Sunday set….which as everyone will know by now was a waste of time!
So did we get what we were promised from Two Thousand Trees? A back to basics festival that had all the important aspects and none of the commercial ones. Well…there was good food on offer at reasonable prices (and a lot of fair trade/organic which adds a bonus), the bar was fairly priced and had local brews (the cider being a particular hit), the few stalls were for more low key products, no big name traders and not too many! The music was well picked and completely enjoyable, the atmosphere was the best festival atmosphere I’ve been part of and finally the thing that I enjoyed most was that every band on the main stage was introduced…a personal touch that I’ve never seen at a festival and really liked!
I have to add a note about the environmental aspect of the festival…the stage electrics were run by generators using bio-diesel…the rubbish was looked after by an organisation called the Maker Green Team, with recycling bins all over the festival site this was the cleanest and greenest festival/gig site I’ve ever seen! A sign of how things should always be!
A big well done to the organisers….it was their first time organising a festival and they did a sterling job! Roll on Two Thousand Trees 2008!