2000 Trees 2023 Review

Now in it’s 15th year 2000 trees returned to Upcote farm for a mostly sunny edition with an absolutely stacked lineup – we caught around 30 different artists this year and discovered some great new music.

Arriving a little later than planned on the Thursday morning we found a spot to camp which seemed ideal but later turned out to be a mistake as we realised we had camped by the entrance to the forest school which had a little drum kit set up in the woods which meant festival revellers would play drums all throughout the night but it’s 2000 trees so we just let it slide and popped our earplugs in before calling it a night. Anyway I digress. Onto the bands….

Projector were one of the bands we really wanted to catch but only managed to catch the very end of their set on the Axiom but it seemed as though the Brighton based trio had a great reception and we’d clearly missed a banging set. Onwards to our first full set of the weekend with ITHACA on the main stage all dressed in white and Djamila in Orange as is now tradition they blitzed through material from their latest release “They Fear Us” with a message to the UK scene for more inclusion and diversity, A solid set from a band currently at the top of their game. 

Ithaca – Photo Credit (Gareth Bull)

Up next were Graphic Nature, admittedly a band I haven’t heard before but they definitely left an impression and I’ll be sure to catch them again in future as they chanelled their inner Slipknot and got the crowd pumped and ready to take on the rest of Thursday afternoon. 

Graphic Nature – Photo Credit – Gareth Bull

Martha have been held in high regard in our circle of friends so I decided to pop along to see what all the fuss was about and while I enjoyed the first half of their set I found myself feeling it all a bit samey and decided to move on to catch the remainder of Svalbard’s set over in the Cave, The post-metallers are very much engrained within the UK music scene by now and deliver an epic set to a packed out tent.

It’s actually surprising how many heavier bands are on the trees lineup this year and it’s Bristol’s finest purveyors of doom Sugar Horse up next in the darkened Neu stage with their crushingly heavy world ending riffs before some uplifting math/post rock from Belfast’s And So I watch you From Afar who played an absolute blinder and treated the crowd to some new songs. A band that know how to whip a crowd into a frenzy guitarist Rory Friers spent a lot of time in the thick of it among the party people before we headed off into the forest for BAT SABBATH which was Cancer Bats performing a set full of Black Sabbath Classics and one of my highlights of the day as a massive Sabbath fan. 

Bat Sabbath – Photo Credit – Gareth Bull

I ended up watching The Bronx as my headliner and did not regret my decision, having never seen them before this was a lesson in how to get crowd fired up and the tent was brimming full of energy which was unleashed in full force for the duration of their set and ended with one of our crew being taken to get his knee bandaged up following a pit injury!!!!

THE BRONX – Photo Credit – Gareth Bull

Another hot and sweaty day on the Farm as Friday begins and we had an absolutely stacked day ahead beginning with one of our favourites The St Pierre Snake Invasion assaulting the crowd with a mix of new and old bangers on the Main Stage, having released my AOTY so far I was curious to see how the songs would translate on a bigger stage and it just works so well, definitely a band made to play bigger stages they just deserve more attention! 

Following on from that was my discovery of the weekend in Canada’s Motherhood who played a quirky set full of twists and turns that reminded me in parts of a mathier PILE. Definitely looking forward to hearing more from this trio in the future. 

Lakes – Photo Credit – Jez Pennington

Firm bUTTONpUSHER faves LAKES performed a beautiful set full of songs from their latest album Elysian Skies in the Forest and were joined by some guests on vocals and trumpet and I genuinely think the Forest stage is one of my favourite places in all the world to watch bands.

Northern Irelands New Pagans were up next for us and it was a real nice contradiction in sounds as the raw punk rock energy from the band is on full display mixed with gorgeous vocals from Lyndsey. The Irish contingent was strong at this years trees but it was time for some Belgian action from Brutus over on the main stage and again the trio put on a fierce show as always as they hold the crowd in their hands in the blazing sunshine.

Empire State Bastard – Photo Credit – Joseph Singh

Feeling the burn from the heat I enjoyed Empire State Bastard from a shady spot outside the tent but thoroughly enjoyed the noise from Biffy boys Simon Neil and Mike Vennart who are making the rounds on the festival scene this year ahead of the release of their debut album. We closed out our Friday in the Forest with another Irish band, The Scratch, they were easily one of our favourite bands last year but this year their set was shorter and consisted of lots of new songs which unfortunately just missed the mark with me and I feel they should have had a longer set on a bigger stage. 

Photo Credit – Gareth Bull

Before arriving at the festival I assumed Saturday would be the more chilled out day for me but damn was I wrong. Not having a list of bands I wanted to see meant I ended up catching lots of great new music that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have known about.

I started my morning with a coffee and a bacon sandwich before heading off to see Witch Fever on the main stage, the Riot Grrrl vibe was strong and they played a rager of a set as the weather tried to make up its mind about what to do. 

Modern Error – Photo Credit – Gareth Bull

Modern Error had an air of NIN about them which I enjoyed but quickly tired of as the sound just wasn’t that great for them and so I left to go check out High Vis on the main stage where someone recommended yet another Irish band Enola Gay who brought some post punk/ hardcore action to the afternoon before it all got a bit silly with Electric Six and one of the biggest crowds I’d seen down at the main stage all weekend. 

Electric Six – Photo Credit – Gareth Bull

Time for a quick break before we caught One step Closer and Holding Absence who admittedly aren’t really the kind of thing I’m into but both put on solid perfomances and the latter were clearly delighted to be on the main stage after playing every stage at 2000 trees now over the years.

Frozemode and Cody frost were both on fire and definite highlights on the forest stage with Frozemode enjoying some sunshine and Cody Frost playing through a set filled with torrential rain and a surprise guest appearance from Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds, the Shikari fans all made a beeline for the front ensuring this was a set Cody Frost will remember forever.

Hundred Reasons had the misfortune of playing the main stage during the worst weather of the weekend and it all becomes a bit much so we decided to go see TSPSI for the second time this weekend as they had replaced Loathe who unfortunately had to pull out last minute. 

The St Pierre Snake Invasion – Photo Credit – Joe Singh

Pitchshifter were a band I never managed to see growing up so off we headed for some nostalgic riffs from the Nottingham rockers who while putting on a sterling show seemed to be more obsessed with the fact they are an old band now which became quite cringey very quickly as JS Claydon showed off his “Dad Bod” – one of the bands i wish I’d seen when they were doing it the first time round instead!

Time for a hot take but American Football are not a band for a festival in my opinion, despite being great on record they just don’t keep your energy levels up enough so we left after a couple of songs and decided to close the festival out with an absolutely thrilling set from Belfast’s Kneecap who were phenomenal. The Hip Hop trio mix Irish and English language and gave fair warning to the packed forest that if you are on psychedelics you aren’t going crazy their just mixing up the two languages and to great effect. High octane energy and plenty of laughs from the two frontmen while their DJ wearing a balaclava drank cans in the background. I would highly encourage anyone to go see these lot if they get the opportunity. 

Kneecap – Photo Credit – Joe Singh

So as we donned our silent disco headphones and closed out another year at 2000 Trees it’s say to say this was another successful year and there’s probably way more we could have written about how great this festival is, it’s an absolute credit to the organisers who manage to smash it every year!

We’ll definitely be back next year!!!!!