2000 Trees, 2016

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This year marked the 10th anniversary of 2000 Trees festival. Taking place in Upcote Farm in the Cotswolds, the festival prides itself on bringing incredible bands, amazing food (big shout out to the Split Screen Ice Cream van) and a hugely positive atmosphere from music lovers of all ages. Over the past decade the festival has established itself as one of the events of the summer and 2016 was no exception.

Thursday

Milk Teeth were the first band we saw in The Cave tent on the festival’s opening day and we couldn’t have asked for anyone better. Short, sharp punk songs that cover some of today’s most important issues, there’s a boundless enthusiasm in their stage show that makes them so easy to love. Their dedication to a girl who recently came out as transgender was one of the first emotional moments of the weekend – there were many more to come. Black Peaks then brought the rock, riffs and a really energetic moshpit along for a very loud set. Declared by the organisers as the best new UK rock band around and with plenty of touring experience already as well as the success of their album, they’re now a phenomenal live act. They owned this tent so the Westival performance next week is certainly going to be something to treasure.

We’ve written at length about how much we love The Xcerts and last year’s main stage set was one of the great Trees moments. Back in the Cave tent, they delivered what we’ve come to expect – passion, huge singalongs and a Springsteen-inspired new song. Our favourite band, it’s amazing to be in a place where everyone loves them just as much. There’s a positive atmosphere at every Xcerts show that reminds us of the bond between Reuben and their fans. Finishing with ‘There Is Only You’ – which saw a young couple get engaged during its brief pause – we will never get bored of watching them. Murray Macleod has made a bet that he’ll be headlining this festival in 2017. Here’s hoping he’s proved right.

How do you follow that up? Well, a triple bill of Trees favourites We Were Promised Jetpacks, And So I Watch You From Afar and Frank Turner (in a tiny tent) is a pretty good way. More dancing, singing and general good vibes were all around the gorgeous site. The Bronx closed the night with a brutal assault in the Cave which appeared to see them taking control of the country. We’re more than happy to bow down to them.

Friday

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We recently covered Monarks and were pleased to see their entire set lived up to the potential of their recent single. Grunge tinged but melodic, we reckon they’ll be rising up the stages before too long. Happy Accidents followed and this young band will not fail to bring a smile to your face. A trio signed to Alcopop, they reminded us of Shrag but also had the punkier elements of Johnny Foreigner running throughout. After this, we headed into the woods to catch some Forest Sessions from Muncie Girls and The Xcerts. Playing acoustic gave even more focus on Lande Hekt from Muncie Girls’ introspective lyrics that cover a wide range of topics and had the whole forest watching in awe (the later full-band set was one of the most eagerly awaited of the weekend and they again confirmed why they are so beloved by both fellow bands and fans). Once again, Murray and Jordan played quiet versions of loud Xcerts songs in the Forest and even threw in a Brand New cover. Of course, ‘Aberdeen 1987’ was a highlight and you can see it in all its drunken glory below.

Video by @DonnaKurylak

The Smith Street Band were on the main stage and their pop-punk was perfect for the afternoon sunshine. Their singer Wikl had a bad leg but the reaction of the crowd to his band couldn’t help but cheer him up. Dinosaur Pile Up played their hits and celebrated singer Matt Bigland’s 31st birthday while inflatable dinosaurs fought in the audience and then The Magic Gang‘s all-too short set was full of soon-to-be classics that combined 50s-style crooning with melancholy Smiths moments. The Axiom Stage has hosted some classic headline sets over the years and now we can add Moose Blood, 2016  to the list. Entering to a heroes’ welcome, they stuck mainly to the familiar favourites – only giving the singles from the upcoming new album an airing – and seemed genuinely touched by the passion and gusto as the whole tent sang back every word at the top of their lungs.

Saturday

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The final day of this year’s festival saw Terrible Love blow away any hangovers with their aggressive mix of post hardcore and passionate screaming. Reuben are fondly remembered at 2000 Trees and Jamie Lenman seemed genuinely touched by the amount of people who’d come to watch his special covers set in the Forest. Opening with The Beatles’ ‘Help’, he followed this up with songs by Weezer, Queen and Madness before finishing with the double whammy of a Neighbours and Home and Away theme tune megamix. The sharpest-dressed person on site, his later performance also saw a huge crowd in the Axiom as he played solo renditions of songs from his ‘Muscle Memory’ album, a cover of Frank Turner’s ‘God Save the Queen’ and a rousing rendition of Reuben’s ‘Let’s Stop Hanging Out’ to close. He was also joined by The St Pierre Snake Invasion for a stompalong to ‘A Day in the Life’ and  Andrew Groves of Arcane Roots for a poignant ‘Little Lives’.

Recently praised by Biffy Clyro, Black Foxxes are set to become a very treasured brand. Equally brash and melodic, once their album is released you can imagine them going from strength to strength in the coming months. This set was a real highlight – probably the best act we hadn’t seen before – and they even had time to pay tribute to David Bowie. Festival stalwarts Ash brought out the hits on the main stage and then Refused closed the festival with an all-encompassing set that showcased their dips in and out of various genres. Relentless, often brutal but full of positivity, there were also some snazzy suits and strong dance moves on display. After Refused, we made the walk up to Camp Marwood to listen to Matt McKee play some sad songs in the dark as the weekend came to an end. Here’s to the next 10 2000 Trees festivals – and beyond!

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