Festival Review: 2000trees Festival Thursday 6th July 2023

With Wednesday arrivals now settled in, the gates opened for those coming down for the main event. Thursday saw things kick off nice and early with super relaxing yoga sessions down in The Forest as early as 8:45am. What better way to start to the day than stretching out ready to dance.

CREDIT: Jez Pennington

Not only did the early mornings offer a nice physical warm up, but a chilled out experience of podcasts live. Filling up The Word stage, Sophie and Yasmin brought their podcast “On Wednesdays We Wear Black” to life with a loving audience. The whole vibe of the set gave the energy of a group of pals having a catch up over coffee and felt a very wholesome place to be. With a great balance of audience interaction and discussion, the topics of writing a dissertation on Tonight Alive, Slam Dunk Midlands, and making friends with people wearing band tees.

CREDIT: Jez Pennington

For a lot of people starting out in the creative music industry, imposter syndrome can be a nightmare. Having Sophie and Yasmin talk so comfortably and confidently about it being normal gave a real boost to the audience and you could see sparks of confidence coming out of those listening in. Discussing interviewing Metallica and making the way up the ladder for other bands making you feel like a real rock star.

CREDIT: Jez Pennington

With a lot of banter throughout and multiple band shout outs, if you weren’t already a fan or regular listener of the podcast, you were now. Creating a safe environment of talking about gender identities, sexuality and the unnecessary levels of racism and online abuse in the community, there was a great balance of nostalgia and stuff to get you thinking. Providing such an effortlessly cool and charismatic, it truly was the most perfect start to the day.

Moving on round to The Forest, the incredibly talented Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties gave a gorgeous early afternoon acoustic session. Another set that had the forest packed out, there was a hugely chilled out vibe of the audience wanting to totally soak up the atmosphere. Delivering a great stage presence, West even managed to make dropping a guitar pic mid track seem cool and not at all awkward.

Credit: Jez Pennington
CREDIT: Jez Pennington

Even with having a totally different vibe, you could tell this performance was getting people even more geared up for The Wonder Years Main stage set later in the day. With a welcome break from some of the heavier acts across the day and weekend to come, The Forest never fails to deliver to goods. An absolute highlight of course came from the crowd singing along beautifully to ’67 Cherry Red.

CREDIT: Jez Pennington

Following on from an emotional final performance the night before of Press To MECO, the sadness taken over by excitement to check out brand new band Unpeople featuring Luke Caley and Jake Crawford. Alongside fellow bandmates Richard and Meg, Unpeople took the Neu stage by storm.

With their debut performance, this band showed that trees is a champion place for new bands and rising stars. The Neu stage is always a great place to head when theres a gap in your schedule as the organisers always deliver on showcasing the best new talent.

Unpeople offered a great nod to the Press To MECO sound while delivering something fresh and new. Although it was only their first performance, it was so slick and well pulled together you’d have thought they’d been doing this for years already.

After an earlier set in the forest with Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties, there was a definite buzz of excitement to have The Wonder Years back on UK shores. Despite being such a big name with an eager audience, the band sadly fell short to people drawn away to other stages, alongside suffering some sound issues (A common theme with the main stage across the weekend.)


Even the challenges, and having a smaller audience than deserved, the band performed a set of festival favourites and old bangers. Taking audio issues and smaller attendance aside, those who had made it down didn’t seem to be too concerned about preserving their energy and wanted to give it their all. To round things off for the dedicated fans of The Wonder Years, the band announced it wouldn’t be too long before they would be blessing our ears again after announcing a UK tour.

CREDIT: Mac Praed

Gearing us up for the headline slot, we couldn’t have asked for a better sub headliner. Fresh from playing Download festival and Supporting KISS, Skindred gave what can only be described as a 10/10 headline energy performance. With the sun glowing across the fields of Upcote farm, it was time for 11 tracks of total madness from the Newport rockers. Kicking things off with Set Fazers gave a really punchy start to the set that bellowed out across the crowd.

With a set filled with banter and bangers, it’s hard to pick out a standout moment, but L.O.V.E (Smile Please) was one of those that had your face beaming. With such a bright and upbeat vibe, it was the perfect mid setlist track. For a first time experience of Skindred having never really got into them before, this was a perfect performance to convert you into a fan. From start to finish this was an incredibly fun set.

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