Live Reviews

FESTIVAL REVIEW: 2000trees Festival 2022

Photo Credit: Calum McMillan

2000trees is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best festival in the UK. This may sound like a bold statement but anyone who has been to festival will likely vouch for this. The people, the music, the environment, and the surroundings of the stunning Upcote Farm in Cheltenham all combine to make this the festival to go to for fans of music from all backgrounds. Returning with a line-up that has been amended many times due to you know what, it is still the festival’s biggest line-up to date. So, with three years off, does the festival still carry the same magic?


The 2022 edition of 2000trees also saw the first ever time the festival hosted live music on a Wednesday with The Forest Stage being open for business with a variety of underground UK artists taking to the stage.

Heavy Lungs are a band that have had a stuttered start to their career. Their frontman Danny Nedelko has gained a lot of press after Saturday headliner’s IDLES hit track of the same name back in 2018. During this period, they were touring extensively and playing pretty much everywhere and anywhere, whilst also releasing music regularly. However, as covid hit, so did their momentum, with the band not releasing any music nor news of a debut album in nearly three years. 2000trees will have likely marked one of their first shows since before covid, however it didn’t show as the band dusted off any cobwebs pretty quickly as Danny Nedelko’s trademark dance moves went down well with an open-minded crowd, their set consisted of a variety of new songs and old songs which kicked off the start of the weekend pretty well in the lovely Forest setting. 7/10

Palm Reader are a 2000trees favourite, and after this set, you can completely see why. This year, The Forest Stage had been turned into a larger version with a modern wooden stage, in which you could fit a whole band into, rather than a small acoustic set, which is what the stage had been used for previously. Naturally, having a heavy hardcore band like Palm Reader playing The Forest Stage would have been unheard of previously, but this year, it worked fantastically. The crowd lapped up every track they played, from both old and new albums, and the band even got a moshpit going in the middle of the forest. The sound quality was immense, and the quality of the music was even better as tracks such as Stay Down and Swarm had the crowd going wild. As the band finished and chants of one more song were chanted, it was the first time in my experience where a band actually turned around to each other, and the people backstage for a few minutes and came back, and played another song, which was originally unplanned. It was a stunning set, that got everyone perfectly set up for a big first night. 10/10

Black Foxxes drew one of the biggest crowds of the night as more and more people arrived at the festival and set up camp and wondered down to The Forest Stage. Although to be truthful, a lot of their music was drowned out by people in the crowd talking to each other as the band struggled to capture the full attention of the audience. Despite sounding good, Black Foxxes struggled to gain a real connection with the casual onlooker which naturally effected the set. Perhaps it just wasn’t their day. 5/10


After an amazing Wednesday night enjoying the silent disco in one of the most amazing surroundings, you’ll ever get drunk in at the Forest Stage, the first full day of music begun.

One of the first acts on the main stage was Irish rap group Kneecap, who are perhaps not the most rock n’ roll act to grace 2000trees but they were by far, one of the best. Their brand of not giving a shit whilst rapping about shite sniffer dogs, asking the crowd for drugs, and calling the crowd the sexiest crowd they’ve ever seen was as hilarious as it was fun. It was extremely Irish and extremely fun. Against all odds, they managed to get the crowd moshing towards the end of the set to tracks such as H.O.O.D. and Irish rap had truly taken over Trees for 30 minutes. It felt as if you were at a really good gig as well as a stand-up gig, we’re really not sure what more you can want from a gig from a band you previously didn’t know. 10/10

Last minute replacements Holding Absence graced The Axiom stage next, and whoever made that call, made a great call. They are a band that plays Trees every year, and never disappoint live, and this year was no exception. Since the last edition of Trees, the band’s sophomore record The Greatest Mistake of My Life has taken the band to crazy heights, and the packed Axiom stage highlighted this. As the band went through songs both new and old, the crowd were singing every word, you could barely hear yourself think, the energy frontman Lucas Woodland brought was class, and it really felt like they are a band on a massive momentum high, that is only going to continue rising, especially after this performance. Lucas Woodland called for them to play the main stage next, and after this performance, who can doubt them. 9/10

After a little break, emo outfit Creeper graced the main stage with their full catalogue of theatrics to wow the Trees crowd. Another Trees favourite, the band have previously headlined the second stage, and it almost feels like they are on the way to headlining the main stage. The set included an eerie Hannah Hermoine solo, pyro, and an eerie end to the set as a man walked onto the stage warning about the band’s upcoming headline show at The Roundhouse in London. As the boiling sun shone down, and the band played hits from their first two records and rare cuts, it was a lovely way to end the evening. 8/10

A slightly different vibe followed in festival favourite folk singer Beans on Toast ramblings at The Forest stage – a stage almost seemingly designed for his style of live show. For anyone who’s not seen Beans on Toast live, he essentially writes songs about anything, from people he wants to be to going to festivals to those with a load of ecstasy. With his tongue in cheek lyrics, he also saved time for more thoughtful songs for topics such as the climate and the current state of the political landscape, as he ended on a song in which he emphasised the point of “there is always more money for war”. It was a set that was as thought-provoking as it was funny. 9/10

Jimmy Eat World will undoubtedly be one of the main reasons a lot of fans came to Trees in 2022. Their hits span over a 20-year period, with songs like The Middle, Bleed American, and Sweetness are almost designed for the festival crowds. As their set spanned their whole career, there was slight lull in the middle of the set with the band playing lesser-known tracks to the majority of the crowd. Speaking of which, Jimmy Eat World did pull the biggest crowd of the festival, which does speak to the size of the band, and they undoubtedly got the biggest sing-along of the festival in the format of The Middle – which is a cracking tune. Despite not having loads of fancy live production, the band sounded great, and produced a headline set that clearly showed that they are veterans of playing big shows. 8.5/10


The weather somehow got even hotter on the Friday, and after a sweaty night’s sleep, you didn’t really envy any of the band’s playing on the boiling hot stages, but they did, and in a similar way to the previous day, the standard of live music was unreal. The electronic rock trio Calva Louise hit the Forest Stage with their own take on rock music, with their influences spanning from Venezuela to France. Lead singer Jess Eastwood was teaching the crowd insults in different languages whilst also producing some stunning vocals that had you on the edge of your seat, it was a great introduction to the band if you had never seen them before as they added a bit of heaviness to a quiet scene, however it was welcome. 8/10

Blackpool heavyweights Boston Manor took to the main stage later in the day. The band had played Trees numerous times before, with one particularly memorable set in 2018 almost taking the roof off the Cave stage. With that in mind, it was no surprise the band were playing high up the main stage. They are one of the UK’s best young bands and their live show is quality. The band debuted tracks from their upcoming record, as well as playing tracks such as England’s Dreaming and Halo. In spite of the heat, they got people moving and put on a great show. 8/10

Next up was one of the hottest bands in the heavy music scene right now, Turnstile. Fresh off an unreal Glastonbury set, and their huge 2021 LP GLOW ON, you could tell there was a huge sense of anticipation in the air for this headline set. As the band came on fifteen minutes late, the place was completely ready for a bit of mayhem, and mayhem is what they got. The whole place was moving from the first lyrics of “And it’s been so long/Has all the mystery gone” to the insane ending of T.L.C. where frontman Brendan Yates entered the crowd and created a circle pit around him and his mic stand. It was just the perfect hardcore set, the energy never faded, the band brought the energy, and the crowd lapped up every second of the set. Brendan Yates barely addressed the crowd, but he also didn’t need to whatsoever as the band could have stood there and played the same song over and over again, and the crowd would have gone crazy. The set was a complete credit to the size of this band now. 10/10


Friday night was undoubtedly huge, but Saturday was arguably the big day of the festival as fan favourite after fan favourite graced the main stage. Beginning this was up and coming alt rock outfit Nova Twins, who have been gaining plaudits up and down the country, and have really exploded onto the scene after their Bring Me The Horizon collaboration on their latest EP. The band have a great live reputation and understandably so, however they struggled to keep the crowd moving in the boiling heat, which is reasonable. Musically, they sounded great, and the tracks from the new album sounded brilliant live, but sadly the band struggled to gain a connection with the audience. 6/10

Arguably the heaviest band to play this edition of 2000trees, Knocked Loose were here to smash up the main stage, and they did just that. Opening with tracks from their latest EP – A Tear in the Fabric of Life, they got one of the rowdiest and roughest sets of the weekend. It was so heavy, and suited the Trees crowd perfectly, who didn’t need much prompting. After the first half of the set which comprised of more obscure cuts from their first two records, they began to play fan favourites such as Oblivions Peak, Counting Worms, and Mistakes like Fractures which started some of the craziest pits of the weekend. Originally, due to the heat, you didn’t expect the set to go off that much but Bryan Garris and the rest of the band’s energy was unmatched. If you like heavy music live, you’ll like Knocked Loose. 9/10

A slightly different vibe followed but equally rowdy was Australia’s The Chats. There are honestly no modern live bands like The Chats. Their old-school style with their modern take on punk is second to none, and really, really fast. Songs that were two minutes long ended up feeling about a minute long live due to the sheer pace of the band as they went from track to track like the set was just one continuous song. Tracks about pub food, web cams, drinking, and 6 litre GTRs all make this band hand made for a British crowd in the midst of enjoying their last night at 2000trees. It was rowdy, fun, and a good laugh. It was proper. 10/10

Now a completely different vibe live, Twin Atlantic were arguably the pick of all the bands playing The Forest stage over the festival. Now a two-piece, Sam McTrusty and Ross McNae played a crowd-pleasing setlist to a packed-out Forest Stage. Despite the band headlining 2000trees twice before, McTrusty remarked at how surprised he was to see so many people turn up, although he was perhaps the only person in the forest who was surprised at this. The set was pitch perfect and ended perfectly with one of the best singalongs in Heart and Soul, which felt truly magical. 9/10

Second stage headliners The Amazons were evidently inspired a lot by The Chats as lead singer Matt Thomson remarked maybe we should start writing songs about pub food, which was greeted well, however the songs they did play, went down very well. Despite a slight technical hitch, which they played off very well, they sounded great. They gave the crowd exclusive songs from their upcoming record, as well as playing the hits, and creating a great connection with the crowd through Thomson’s ramblings. Closer and fan favourite Black Magic was undoubtedly the highlight as guitarist Chris Alderton played the riff with the guitar above his head, which will never not be cool. 9/10

IDLES are a band that divide opinion, as a lot of punk bands do, and as with a lot of punk bands, you perhaps don’t expect them to be headlining festivals, but giving credit to IDLES, you cannot deny them headline spots with their catalogue and huge popularity. The band ended up playing for nearly two hours, which was a surprise to many (including the organisers most likely!), however the large crowd they attracted did stay until the end, which is always a good sign. The band went through their catalogue, playing songs both old and new to a great reception. Although perhaps the whole place was not rocking from the front to back, like it has been for previous IDLES gigs we’ve attended, they were working with a crowd that had been through a hell of a lot over the festival’s duration. Tracks from the new record fit perfectly into the set, however a criticism would be the strobe lighting throughout the set as it felt like it was none-stop, and just a bit too much at times, to the point where you just had to close your eyes. Despite this, it was a fun live show, and a pretty awesome way to top off a pretty awesome weekend. 8.5/10

Written By: Joe Loughran

Photo Credit: Calum McMillan

Photo gallery featuring:

Thursday – Kneecap, Holding Absence, Stick To Your Guns

Friday – Orchards, Salem, Rolo Tomassi, Boston Manor, Turnstile, Vukovi, Thrice

Saturday – Knocked Loose, Blood Command, IDLES