REVIEW: 2000 Trees, The Ultimate Roundup

The 2022 edition of 2000 Trees was an absolute scorcher – and not just in terms of the weather. After a few years off (because of you-know-what), the festival was back and better than ever, playing host to the best in up-and-coming rock bands and household names alike. 

 

Thursday kicked off with noisy rock duo Crashface on the Neu stage, who rapidly welcomed the festival crowd with a moshpit at the early, early hour of 10:30 am. That early wakeup call didn’t stop the duo, however, who absolutely destroyed the tent with their perfectly curated blend of punk, electronic metal and alt-rock goodness. 

The only problem, if it can even be called that, with Trees was that the lineup was simply so stacked that as soon as one band finished, you had to immediately sprint to the next act – something which was helped by the festival’s relatively small site, especially with the Axiom and Cave stages having less than a minute walk between them. After Crashface, Gnarlah and Delaire The Liar were both up next on the Axiom, before Irish-language rappers Kneecap took to the Main stage, immediately winning over the crowd at their first-ever rock festival with stand-out tracks ‘Your Sniffer Dogs Are Shite’ and ‘Get Your Brits Out’. 

Dinosaur Pile-Up played a reliably brilliant set to a packed-out main stage, whilst indie-rockers Airways shone over at the Cave stage. One of the stand-out, and arguably most fun sets of the first day of the festival came from Swedish band Royal Republic, whose blend of modern rock and 80s-Esque metal went down an absolute treat with their packed tent. 

One of the highlights of Trees has to be its Forest stage – tucked away, as the name suggests, in the corner of the woods, it provided the perfect backdrop for South-East punk duo Snayx to absolutely tear it apart with more riffs than you could shake a proverbial stick at. Later on in the evening, Creeper was as wonderfully theatrical as ever, before pop-punk royalty Jimmy Eat World took to the main stage as Thursday headliners, bringing a perfect balance of classic tracks and surprisingly blissful acoustic songs. 

 

Heriot blew away those early morning cobwebs (and hangovers) on Friday, with vocalist Debbie Gough proving that she can truly out-scream some of metal’s greats. Over on the Axiom stage, James & The Cold Gun then showed why they’re being hotly tipped as one of the most exciting new rock bands around. And speaking of a band truly proving how excellent they are, Saint Agnes took to the Main stage early on in the afternoon, cementing themselves in the minds of the crowd as future headliners, with no doubts about that. 

Continuing on from some excellent mainstage sets were Kennyhoopla and Turnstile, with Trees once again demonstrating their ability to book varied yet excellent acts across all branches of the rock genre. The absolute stand-out set from Friday for not just me, but many people I spoke to, has to be VUKOVI, who headlined the Neu stage to an absolutely packed-out crowd – and by packed out, I truly mean that, with the crowd spilling out of the tent in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the highly touted, and rightfully so, of the Scottish rockers. A shoutout has to be given to Mr Fridge, who, as the name possibly suggests, is just a guy wearing a massive fridge box in the middle of the pit. 

As Friday drew to a close, Tokky Horror took to the Forest stage, impeccably covering a track by The Prodigy and overall bringing the party atmosphere with their blend of electronica, punk and hardcore. Nightlife at Trees mostly consists of its fabled Silent Disco, which really deserves a review of its very own, purely for the absolute yet also quite wonderful chaos that ensues when you have four channels of surprisingly differing music. 

The final day of the festival ahead of us, Saturday had an incredibly stacked lineup, kicking off with post-punkers Avalanche Party on the Main stage, before Lizzy Farrall took to the Neu stage armed with alt-pop rock bangers, and fake blood to boot. With the Axiom stage packed out in the early afternoon, it was then the perfect time for Kid Kapichi, whose perfectly political and ferocious punk tracks meant that they delivered one of the best sets of the weekend, reviving a crowd that was simultaneously suffering from hangovers and sunstroke. 

It was also a day that satisfied even the wildest of hardcore fans, with some absolutely storming sets from the likes of Higher Power and High Vis. Later on in the day, Aussie pub-rockers The Chats brought yet another stand-out set to the 2000 Trees main stage – and that’s the thing about Trees: with such a varied and truly exceptional lineup, the competition for becoming a highlight of the weekend was incredibly fierce, but The Chats certainly held their own, ripping through over twenty songs to a truly enraptured crowd. 

Despite some technical difficulties, The Amazons continued to build excitement for their upcoming album during their second set of the day over at the Axiom, having played at the Forest earlier on in the day, bringing indie-rock anthems a-plenty. Also at the Forest, BlackWaters stepped in for a last-minute slot ahead of Zand’s headline performance at the same stage, bringing an incredibly fun blend of indie-punk that had the crowd dancing along, before Zand and their ‘ugly pop’ took over for an exceptional end to the weekend. IDLES provided the last Main stage headline set, with their infectious post-punk energy being impossible to ignore from anywhere across the festival site. 

For a festival of its relatively small size, 2000 Trees certainly packs a punch – and its 2022 edition yet again proves just why it’s such a favourite, not just of fans, but of the acts playing it as well. 

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LISTEN: Why Generation at 2000 Trees – Episode 3

Festival first-timer Mort has taken Why Generation to its first 2000 Trees Festival, the independent, alt-rock festival down in Cheltenham. This episode features: Cherym - We’re Just Friends [LIVE], Mannequin Pussy - Perfect [LIVE], Kid Kapichi - Sardines [LIVE], Gen and the Degenerates - Girl God Gun [LIVE], and Laura Jane Grace - The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton [LIVE].