Music writer Phil Davies first discovered the band And So I Watched You From Afar at 2000trees, describing them as ‘one of the greatest bands on the planet’. Here he shares memories of other first encounters at 2000trees and what makes it so special.
Thanks again to all who purchased an Xmas Special Ticket, we salute you! If you missed out, our regular tickets will be back on sale on the 27th January at 7pm from www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk/tickets … Roll on the summer! Andy, 2000trees
Phil Davies and friends at 2000trees Festival
2000trees has become Gloucestershire’s premier music festival. The home of new and unsigned British music. And each year it has gone from strength to strength. Not only in size and reputation, but in the quality and diversity of the acts presented to us as an audio banquet. It’s a feast for the ear, if you will. I want to share with you my musical musings on why 2000trees is awesome.
This beautiful festival really encapsulates everything you need from a smaller, more intimate event. The site is within the gorgeous countryside of Gloucestershire. It is easy to navigate and the food vendors really do deliver quality food at a reasonable price. No one likes buying food at festivals, but it helps when you’re not paying through the teeth each and every time, and with the likes of Pieminister there – everyone’s a winner.
As for the music, each stage is an alcove of discovery. From the simple intimacy of the ‘Greenhouse Stage’, to the pummelling wall of noise emanating from ‘The Cave’ – there are so many audio hidden gems dotted around.
At night, the main stage is lit up with gorgeous lighting and colour which bounces off the hundreds of branches on the surrounding trees, making beautiful shadows and a fantastic backdrop. With headliner acts such as British Sea Power, Fightstar, 65 Days of Static, The Futureheads, and the festivals very own hero – Frank Turner; it’s great to see how the festival continues to move forward and strives to support great British music.
One of my favourite memories of 2000trees was discovering one of the greatest bands on the planet – And So I Watch You From Afar. The year was 2010 and my cider-induced coma was interrupted by the scream of a siren. The eerie, ghostly drone rung out across the whole site, promptly followed by an earth shockingly loud trio of thuds from drums and guitars. I scrambled to get changed in my tent and as close to that stage as I could. I wasn’t disappointed.
The set panned out to be more than I could have ever imagined. It was really one of my first forays into the world of instrumental music, and I couldn’t have asked for a better host. The tracks for their debut album echoed around the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside. With the wailing guitars frantically mashing a million more notes than you can even comprehend, it was a wall of noise which was oh so sweet.
The likes of ‘that’ opening song – Set Guitars To Kill – and guitarist Rory Friers who was humble and warm throughout the set, and always took his moments to smile and thank the ever-growing mass of people in front of him. These four Belfast boys were more than a band that day. They were to me, the birth of music once more.
2000trees welcomes the support provided by the local community. University students help create a lot of the fantastic artwork scattered around the site and the stages, and help to run the festival in numerous support roles.
There are plenty of signposts dotted around which ensure you can’t put a foot wrong. Although some are more useful than others – I couldn’t help but smirk at the ‘This is a sign’ post each time I walked past it, showing the hard-working organisers have a great sense of humour. Even the steward and support staff seem genuinely happy to be a part of the festival.
A week before the festival, loads of people chip in to get the crucial set-up tasks done. They help put up fencing and assist in the construction and positioning of everything. For their hard work, they’re rewarded with a massive BBQ and some beers at the end of each day, as well as a free festival ticket. Being able to share stories with a group of dedicated volunteers which seems to grow larger and larger each year is brilliant, and not just because of the free drinks at the end!
The organisers themselves are the six nicest people you could ever find running a festival. I’ve watched them grow into their roles each year – from running around like headless chickens in 2008 – the ‘wet year’ – to standing proudly in front of a stage, cider in hand in 2013. But each and every time you see them they will make time for you. They will talk and share the war stories of Fightstar being late, or food vans sinking into the mud, or losing Frank Turner because he’s gone into the campsite to play in someone’s tent.
This is what makes the festival so accessible and real. It’s run by real people who are fans of good music and a good festival experience. So Andy, James, Si, Mark, Rob & Bren – thank you. You’ve brought this festival so far, and come rain (mostly) or shine (lovely), each year has been fantastic. Here’s to many, many more.
Phil Davies is a freelance music writer from Cheltenham, contributing to the Big Cheese, efestivals/egigs and more. His favourite 2000trees bands are And So I Watched You From Afar, Kong and Vessels.