He was there at the very beginning to perform at the first ever 2000trees in 2007. More recently he did the Olympic Games opening ceremony, headlined Wembley and went on a world tour.
Then he returned to Trees last year, his ‘favourite festival’, and popped up to sing at least a dozen times… the man is a 2000trees legend, he defines what we are all about, and we are proud to call him a friend.
Check out the video at the end too, it captures such a brilliant year for 2000trees!
Frank Turner on main stage at 2000trees Festival 2013 – photo by Dom Meason
I’m happy and proud to be able to say 2000trees Festival and I have a long history together. I played there the first year, 2007; played a crazy four times in 2008; had my first festival headline slot there in 2010; and came back in 2013 to top it all off with five sets over the weekend. It’s safe to say we’re family these days.
Last year was my favourite, for a number of reasons. James and the crew asked me and the Sleeping Souls to come back and headline again, and I gladly agreed – I’d been talking about coming down to the festival just to hang out anyway. Once that had been agreed, I thought it’d be fun to also play a solo show as well, on the Thursday night. En route to the festival, it occurred to me that it might be fun to do an “album show” – play one record in its entirety. I’d recently played all of my first record at a show at the Southampton Joiners, so it seemed appropriate to play Love Ire & Song at Trees. In fact, I’d say it’s the perfect place to play that record, the old-school fan favourite, as it were.
Frank Turner on the Cave in 2013 – photo by Jacqui Sadler
In the event, that meant I actually had to sit down and relearn a couple of songs, or at least figure out a solo way of playing them. I didn’t pre-announce what I was doing, I just let the crowd figure it out from the first few songs. It was awesome when people twigged what was happening, and it was a really magic atmosphere in the tent, I think. That record has a special place in the hearts of many, myself included – and it was lovely to enjoy those songs at a festival that I’d played so many times with a crowd of people including many who’d been there every step of the way.
After that set, I ended up wandering over to Camp Reuben – an institution that started the second year, when Reuben broke up before they were able to come play the festival. I played some Reuben covers back in 2008, and it was great to see that people were still keeping that flag flying (Reuben being one of the great lost British rock bands, in my opinion). I played a bunch of songs, including a badly-remembered Reuben cover. Then it was bed time in preparation for the big day.
The following day, I started off with a short set at a tent to end off a discussion involving Xtra Mile Recordings (more on that shortly). Then I headed over to Elly’s tent to play some songs there. Elly had won a competition for me to come play and she and her friends were lovely. I then spent the afternoon mooching around, catching friends’ sets, guesting on a couple here and there, watching some killer new bands (The Cadbury Sisters, wow). At one point I headed up onto the hill above the farm, from where you can see the whole festival site, and just enjoyed some peace on an English summer afternoon. Then finally, the Souls and I headlined the main stage to a big old crowd and saw the day off in style. It was an idyllic couple of days, and one I hope to repeat in years to come, whether or not I’m playing.
I’ve always been suspicious of the idea of “scenes” – in my experience they’re usually something journalists construct out of laziness, and / or contrived attempts to solidify various lame fashion trends within music. Having said all that, in the last few years I’ve really started to feel like there is something like a scene that I’m part of. It involves Xtra Mile Recordings, bands and singers like Chris T-T, Ben Marwood, Emily Barker, Jim Lockey and his boys, Beans on Toast and many others. And it also involves 2000trees Festival, which is starting to feel like the annual gathering for this little music tribe.
And the thing I love most about it is that it’s a scene which isn’t borne of one specific style or musical cul de sac. I spent a while trying to figure out what the unifying factor was, and in the end I think it’s this: it’s unaffected music, music that isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is, music that isn’t in any way concerned with fashion, cool, trends or anything like that. Just cool underground British (and friends!) guitar music.
Everyone is welcome, and everyone just loves the music in a totally unpretentious way. In some ways I feel like it’s what I was looking for as a kid, in both metal, punk and hardcore. I’m deeply, deeply in love with it, and happy to be some small part of it. I hope it continues for many years, and that it gathers every July in the hills at Upcote Farm.
Check out this video of last year, featuring an interview (or two!) with Frank…
For more information on the legend that is Frank Turner please visit: www.frank-turner.com