2000trees Festival 2019
Photo Credit: Jez Pennington

We might have said this before but we’re big fans of the 2000trees Festival. For the Already Heard team, it’s become a highlight of our summer in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Heralded as the “Best Medium Sized Festival”, 2000trees takes great pride in shining the spotlight on some of the best and brightest names in underground music, covering all things rock, punk, hardcore, indie and more.

Hosted at Upcote Farm near Cheltenham, 2000trees brings together music fans to create a friendly and intimate vibe. The 2019 gathering is sure to be another memorable year with a whole host of exciting names to appear across the three days.

When it came to putting together our “must-see” picks for this preview, we were spoilt for choice. If you’re a regular reader of the site, then you’ll know all about our admiration for Turnstile, Puppy, Wallflower, Press To MECO, Slowcrush, Angel Du$t, Cancer Bats, Phowjax, and Lotus Eater, so we’ve omitted them from this list but you should definitely go and watch them. Nevertheless, here are 16 bands you need to see at 2000trees Festival 2019.


You Me At SixYou Me At Six

When you have a plethora of hit singles in your arsenal, it is sometimes a given that some form of success will follow. But for You Me At Six they have scratched and clawed their way to the top.

Forming in 2004, the Surrey-based band shot to fame on a quick rise through the success of their debut album, ‘Take Off Your Colours’. After extensive touring and six albums later, the band have earned their place as 2000Trees headliners.

With songs such as ‘Save it For the Bedroom’, ‘Bite My Tongue’ and ‘Loverboy,’ the Trees crowd can expect sing-a-longs a plenty, mixed in with a splash of nostalgia all making for a formula for a fun Friday evening. (TB)

Where & When: Main Stage – Friday


Every Time I DieEvery Time I Die

Easily one of metal’s most consistently brilliant bands, Every Time I Die will be bringing a very special show to 2000trees this year. The Buffalo metalcore giants come to Cheltenham armed with their classic 2003 record, ‘Hot Damn!’, to be played in full, as well as bonus hits.

ETID have built a reputation over the years as a brilliant live band, and anyone who has seen them will tell you it’s well-deserved. Songs such as ‘Off Broadway’ and ‘Ebolarama’ will see some of the craziest crowd responses and most exciting on-stage performances of the entire weekend. Expect violent riffs, manic drumming, and a masterclass in the art of being a frontman from Keith Buckley.

This is a long-overdue 2000trees set. Fans have been calling to see Every Time I Die demolish the festival for years now, so it feels like it’ll be a match made in heaven… and a party of destructive proportions. (JH)

Where & When: Main Stage – Saturday


Brutus

Brutus are no strangers to 2000trees, where the Belgium trio are quickly garnering the reputation as being the must-see act at not just Trees, but any festival.

As they make it a hat-trick of appearances, their third time at Upcote Farm comes off the back of the release of their acclaimed second album, ‘Nest’. Considered one of the albums of the year so far, it sees the outfit take on new journeys, executing anthemic pieces whilst merging the likes of shoegaze to post-rock.

Brutus’ discography as a whole is a captivating mix of expansive melodies cut with thrashing progressions. Stefanie Mannaerts vocals are a mesmerising illustration to a, at times, minimal yet effective soundtrack.

While a main stage billing might be overwhelming for some, we’re confident the Belgian three-piece will once again serve up a spellbinding performance. (FRJ)

Where & When: Main Stage – Friday


Comeback KidComeback Kid

Canadian hardcore legends Comeback Kid have become one of the juggernauts of the genre. Since their formation in 2000, the band has been relentless and has established themselves as one of the defining bands in the hardcore world.

Even though the makeup of the band has changed a little since those early days, the passion has not faulted at all. With a back catalogue spanning six records, there is bound to be a mix of the hits and some people cuts from the band.

After years on the touring circuit, the five-piece are no strangers to big stages, The Cave stage will be turned into a ball of energy when Comeback Kid take to the stage.  (TB)

Where & When: The Cave – Thursday


The ArmedThe Armed

A band who will undoubtedly put on one of the most talked-about shows at this year’s Trees, The Armed are an enigma. Nobody knows (at least in the public consciousness) where the project came from or even who its permanent members are. The Detroit collective have managed to keep themselves shrouded in chaos and mystery for the past few years, even in the midst of dropping two of the most exciting albums of the decade.

The utter intensity and ferocity of the band’s music is rivalled only by its catchiness, and between 2015’s ‘Untitled’ and last year’s more experimental ‘Only Love’, they’ve consistently been at the cutting edge of heavy music in recent years. To make it all even better, their live show is just as thrilling.

On the border between brilliance and utter insanity at all times, you should never assume to know what will happen at a show by The Armed. 2000trees will see their first ever UK festival performance, and it’ll be absolutely unmissable. (JH)

Where & When: Neu Stage – Saturday


MØL

When it comes to revelations within heavy music over the past 18 months, Danish “blackgaze” group MØL are at the forefront. Last year’s debut full-length, ‘Jord’, was embraced for its blend of pummeling brutality of black metal and shimmering shoegaze.

In a live setting, they’ve built a reputation for being a ball of energy, especially vocalist Kim Song Sternkopf. He’s also known to explore his surroundings, no matter the stage, screaming right in the face of gig-goers with no remorse. Add to that, the occasional moment of reflection, and you’re left with the exciting prospect of MØL being the band of the weekend.

Our tip is to head to the Neu stage tent early as MØL‘s 2000trees debut is sure to be one to remember. You’ve been warned. (SR)

Where & When: Neu Stage – Saturday


Drug Church

In the last few years Albany, New York’s Drug Church gained a reputation as a must-see live act. From the charisma of vocalist Patrick Kindlon to the catchy riffs, the band are one of the most exciting punk bands around right now.

With lyrics full of passion and conflict weaved into upbeat melodies with a punk rock edge, Drug Church bring a more aggressive brand of punk which at the same time can be fun. Musically the band mixes hardcore punk in the style of bands like Black Flag with alternative rock and grunge elements.

Drug Church, in particular Kindlon, are a band who do not mince their words and it is the heart on the sleeve approach which has endeared them to a wider audience. Having headlined smaller venues across the UK, appearing on the Cave stage looks set to showcase the quintet to a wider audience, who will be ready to embrace them with open arms. (TB)

Where & When: The Cave – Friday


Petrol GirlsPetrol Girls

Music has been used as a tool for change for many years, and when it comes to Petrol Girls, the band are not afraid to use their platform to implement change. Politics and feminism is something that is at the heart of the band’s ethos and their latest record, ‘Cut & Stitch’, puts these issues once again at the forefront of their music laced with a punk sound.

It isn’t just in their music where Petrol Girls discuss issues where they want to see change, the band are actively pushing for safer places in the music scene and trying to make the punk world a better place.

Petrol Girls have been giving the patriarchy a much-needed kicking since 2012 and it seems that since the release of ‘Cut & Stitch’, the band’s platform has got event bigger.

When vocalist Ren Aldridge is screaming on the 2000Trees stage, people will stand up and take note.  (TB)

Where & When: The Cave – Thursday


Gouge AwayGouge Away

Calling a band, a hardcore band can paint quite a broad picture. So when it comes to Gouge Away they need a colour pallet all of their own. Having burst onto the scene with their record ‘.Dies’, it was the raw aggression in the band which many people gravitated towards.

However, their first release on Deathwish Inc, ‘Burnt Sugar’, seems to have opened to the door to a whole new world to the band. Vocalist Christina Michelle uses the band as a platform to unleashing her furious screams and reflect on matters which have affected her and shaped her life.

Having come to the UK with Culture Abuse for the first time, the UK crowds embraced the Fort Lauderdale band, and there is a lot of anticipation surrounding their set on the Cave stage at 2000Trees. (TB)

Where & When: The Cave – Friday


haggard CatHaggard Cat

Matt Reynolds and Tom Marsh may have first written their names in 2000trees folklore as members of HECK in 2014 and 2016, but it’s with Haggard Cat that they may become regular favourites of the festival. Returning a year on from their mightily successful main stage slot (and their set of Nirvana covers from the top of a bar), the bluesy two-piece will be looking once again to steal the weekend this time around.

With two albums chock-full of ragers under their belt (and another on the way), Haggard Cat will be bringing their best infectious, stomping, riffy tunes to The Cave on Thursday. The potential to hear some new material is exciting enough even before you consider the massive songs the band’s setlist boasts already. From the singalong chant of ‘American Graffiti’ to the headbanging guitar lines of ‘Gravedigger’, there’ll be no shortage of bangers, and it’s likely to pull a significant midday crowd as well. Make sure you’re a part of it. (JH)

Where & When: The Cave – Thursday


Palm Reader

Having been crowned our ‘Record of the Year’ for 2018, Palm Reader are an obvious choice when it comes to recommending who to see at 2000trees. ‘Braille’ broke new ground for the Nottingham-based band, proving to be as melodic as it is heavy.

They are also no strangers to 2000trees with this being their third year in a row playing. While some festival-goers would moan that a handful of bands continue to play at Upcote Farm, the 2000trees crowd welcome the likes of Palm Reader with open arms.

With an early evening slot on the Neu stage, expect Palm Reader to serve up a rip-roaring set full with soaring choruses and savage guitar onslaughts. (SR)

Where & When: Neu Stage – Thursday


Holding Absence

Back in March, Holding Absence unleashed their debut album. We always had a feeling it wouldn’t disappoint but it’s safe to say the Welsh group certainly exceeded expectations. Their eponymous collection served to be an enthralling, and at times, empowering set of cinematic rock with a strong emotional core. With Lucas Woodland’s stunning vocals at the forefront, songs such as ‘You Are Everything’ and ‘Last Of The Evening Light’ thrive with sonic density and lyrical rawness.

Besides a UK and European tour that immediately followed the album release, Holding Absence has been rather quiet on the live front making their appearance at 2000trees is even more anticipated. And for those who are in much need of their Holding Absence fix, you’ll be pleased to know the Cardiff group will be playing two sets on Thursday.

Before they’re out in full force headlining the Neu stage at night, you can head to the Forest in the afternoon to catch them in their stripped-down, acoustic glory. Both sets are certain to add to Holding Absence‘s growing status as one of the UK rock’s brightest prospects. (SR)

Where & When: Neu stage & Forest Sessions stage – Thursday


Can’t SwimCan’t Swim

For a project which started as a bedroom project, Can’t Swim have had a meteoric rise. From the release of the band’s EP, ‘Death Deserves a Name’, people have gravitated towards the band who put forward a very honest approach to punk rock.

With vocalist Chris LoPorto’s lyrics at the heart of what Can’t Swim do, it is his openness and earnest take on life which fans have been pulled towards. After an extensive touring, the band has already gained in popularity on this side of the Atlantic and 2018’s ‘This Too Won’t Pass’ put them on the map even more.

Now, with the platform of 2000Trees, the band look set to spread their reach even further and win the hearts of a whole new audience.  (TB)

Where & When: The Cave – Saturday


OrchardsOrchards

Last time Orchards appeared at 2000trees, they were tucked away in a late-night acoustic slot. They’ve considerably come on a long way since. Championed by a host of magazines and websites (like us), the Brighton quartet have complimented their rapid rise with routine touring, festival slots and new music.

This past Spring saw the release of a 7″ single with both ‘Young’ and ‘Mature Me’ showcasing their dizzying brand of math-tinged indie-pop. Just like last year’s insatiable ‘Losers/Lovers’ mini-album proved, Orchards have a flair for writing sun-drenched songs complimented by twisting instrumentation and Lucy Evers’ sultry vocals.

Appearing as part of ‘Lenmania II’ on the Axiom stage, Orchards are a fine example of 2000trees‘ growing diversity yet firmly sticks to the ethos of showcasing rising underground talent.

Where & When: The Axiom – Thursday


Pengshui

The tried and tested union of grime and punk is one which is timeless. Pitching in with their own brand of havoc, Pengshui are an unmissable billing.

Their latest single ‘Leave It’ is an onslaught of drum & bass with gritty vocals which induce mosh pits aplenty. Their material thus far is a myriad of volatility. Individually, the trio have worked with the likes of Foreign Beggars, Gentleman’s Dub Club and loads more. While their remix of The Prodigy’s ‘Light Up The Sky’, should give you a taste of the kind of anarchy this London outfit are capable of.

Their 2000Trees debut comes off the back of appearing at both Download and Glastonbury, all the while working on their debut album. Their slot inside The Cave stage tent is sure to be the perfect introduction to the genre-busting group. (FRJ)

Where & When: The Cave – Friday


Floorboards

Now, time to talk about a Cheltenham outfit which undoubtedly shouldn’t be slept on. Floorboards tap into the same beloved sound as British emo favourites Basement, where their intricate material paired with inspiring vocals from Jay Mansfield are overwhelmingly touching.

Last year’s ‘Cocoon’ EP is laced with imagery which is delightfully raw. In a live setting, this band boast unparalleled promise where they display seasoned songwriting abilities. More recently, their latest single ‘Low’ sees the local four-piece supply a grunge-fuelled number full of angst, while keeping their sentimental core.

Having already captured the heart of their hometown, this set at Trees comes with huge anticipation and we can’t wait. (FRJ)

Where & When: The Neu Stage – Thursday


Late Night Acoustic Sessions

Besides the host of bands we’ve picked as our “essential” picks for this weekend, it’s also worth checking out some of the late night acoustic sessions that will be taking place across the festival site. Amongst them will be Manchester promotion, Under The Bridge, who have names such as itoldyouiwouldeatyou, Sean McGowan, Oxygen Thief, and Crazy Arm lined up.

While Camp FRabbit will be returning and has expanded to three nights with Luke Rainsford, Chas Palmer Williams, and Brightr, being some of the names announced. To make that stage even more special, it will be home to three special cover sets; Weatherstate will be performing a Green Day’s cover set, Camp FRabbit organiser George Gadd will pay tribute to the late Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison and Wallflower will be giving in to public demand with a set of Weezer covers. Let’s just hope they avoid anything from the ‘Black‘ album…



Follow us on Spotify for more playlists.

2000trees Festival 2019 takes place at Cotswold Hills, Upcote Farm, near Cheltenham from Thursday, 11th July to Saturday, 13th July.

2000trees Festival links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Tickets are available here.


Words by Sêan Reid (SR), Tim Birkbeck (TB), Jack Hardiman (JH) and Ffion Riordan-Jones (FRJ).

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