2000 Trees -Top 10 Bands To Catch.
I don't recall how I came to hear about 2000 Trees, or what made me decide it seemed worth making the, less than straightforward, journey to a field outside of Cheltenham for. But. as I approach my 7th year in a row of attending, I know that not going is simply not an option.
I got through the rain and mud of 2012 with a fetching 2 piece waterproof outfit and a lot of warming Tibetan stew, and survived the heatwave of 2013 with a lot of watermelon slices and factor 50.
There's something special about the place that is unlike any other festival I've been to. It feels like every music community around the UK just got together in a field for a weekend. Free of corporate sponsors or overpriced alcohol. it feels just like going to a gig with your mates, all be it a gig in a big field, with lots of mates you only see once a year.
Below is a list of 10 bands that I'm excited to see over the weekend.
Creeper | Main stage | Saturday
Mix Meatloaf with a bit of Queen, add some Hardcore roots, a good dose of punk, a smattering of Alkaline Trio and a sprinkling of Disney magic and you have Creeper. They are my new obsession, I just can't help it. It's been a long time since I've felt so excited and invested in a new band. The've a theatrical approach to their music and a thought out approach to the overall aesthetics, and it's easy to see why they're gaining popularity so quickly. I wish this band existed when I was a weird teenager struggling with life and identity... but then again I was still listening to Westlife and Boyzone in those days.
The LaFontaines | Main Stage | Saturday
My favourite Scottish rap/pop/? band play the Main Stage on the Saturday. If you're not familiar with them expect to start their set slightly confused as to what you are watching and ending it wanting more. Their album debut 'Class' released last year is pretty darn perfect. Expect mandatory audience participation during Pon De Font.
Brawlers | Main Stage | Friday
Fronted by Harry George -Johns, Brawlers are at their core what every band should be - a bunch of really good friends making music and seeing the world together. Short, punchy, loud and catchy as hell songs is what they do, and boy, do they do it well. First up on the Main Stage on Friday they will get your festival off to a great start, and shake away any hangovers for those there from the Thursday night.
The Xcerts | The Cave, Thursday | Forest Sessions, day tbc
Last year's set on the Main stage will be remembered for a very long time for everyone in attendance. Such beautiful, huge audience led sing alongs, in particular for Aberdeen 1987 from debut album In The Cold Wind We Smile. The Xcerts most recent offering, 2014's There Is Only You punches you in the gut and stamps all over your feelings. Oh, all the feelings. As has become somewhat the standard now we are again this year treated to 2 sets, one full rock set and another quieter set in the forest. Both should be highlights of the weekend.
Max Raptor | The Cave | Thursday
Over the 6 years I've attended 2000 Trees I've ended up loving a number of bands I'd not previously heard of prior to seeing their set. Max Raptor is one of those. I first saw them when I was listening, almost exclusively, to Scottish bands. An English punk rock band was the last thing I was expecting to fall in love with at that time. But I did, and I've been seeking them out at festivals and occasional Glasgow gigs ever since. A band I thoroughly enjoy screaming the lyrics back at any available opportunity.
Ash | Main Stage | Saturday
There are very few songs that my brain assigns memories to, but Burn Baby Burn and Girl From Mars will forever takes me back around a decade, to lunchtime drives in the summer sunshine escaping from the office. Ive never actually seen Ash outside of a festival setting, but I'm OK with that because of the aforementioned association with summer and the sunshine. There is no photo to accompany this recommendation due to me last shooting Ash back in 2012, and my photos from back then are best confined to a hard drive. If for some reason you haven't had a chance to see Ash live before then put them on your schedule for this year at Trees.
'TBC' | The Axiom | Thursday
Despite 2000 Trees giving their "final" lineup announcement, the headlining set for Xtra Mile's takeover at The Axiom on the Thursday remains at 'TBC'. I hoping for this 'TBC' slot to be Frank Turner, and to be honest I'm not sure who else it could actually be. Whatever the outcome of this headline slot is The Axiom on Thursday also sees sets from Sam Duckworth's new project Recreations and the return of Ben Marwood (expect "Marwood For Main Stage" chants). If Frank doesn't bring his punk folk sensibilities to Trees then I'm going to boycott Camp Turner and enjoy after hours music at Camp Reuben instead. That'll show him *shakes fist in a mildly threatening manner*.
Twin Atlantic | Main Stage | Friday
I couldn't really complete my Top 10 without including Twin Atlantic. A band I've been watching grow and change over the past 8 years. This is their first English festival headline slot and with a new album around the corner this set should be a good chance to hear what they've been working on since last September, as well as hearing plenty of big crowd sing along numbers.. Twin Atlantic's live show is always full of energy and perfect for a late night festival setting.
Muncie Girls | The Axiom, Friday | Forest Sessions. day tbc
As a girl I often feel guilty that I don't listen to more female fronted bands. It's just I rarely stumble across one that I can identify or connect with. Years of listening to male vocalists has programmed my brain to only connect with a song when a man is singing. Bucking the trend for me is Exeter's Muncie Girls. I caught them out on tour with Tellison earlier in the year and have been looking forward to catching them again ever since. They'll be playing acoustically in the Forest too, giving fans 2 chances to catch them over the weekend.
Crazy Arm | The Axiom, Thursday | Forest Sessions, Friday
Crazy Arm headlining The Croft stage in 2014 was a Trees highlight for me. What started as a gentle, seated, semi acoustic set turned into a full on punk folk barn dance in the space of about 2 minutes. Everyone worked together to move the hay bale seating out of the tent and I saw a teddy bear crowd surf. I've been looking forward to this year's set since the last Trees (which they weren't playing but were briefly in attendance) where they assured me they were playing this year. This year we get a rock set and an acoustic set and I couldn't be happier.
2000 Trees festival runs from July 7th - 9th at Upcote Farm, Cheltenham. Further info and tickets can be found at www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk