Monday, 16 July 2012

My First Festival: 2000 Trees

On Friday the 13th of July I went to my first ever festival. For years I have considered going to Glastonbury, but the stories of how disgusting the toilets are and how muddy it is had put me off. Occasionally I will see the bands and decide it is still worth it, and one year I even got as fas as submitting a photograph for the tickets, but they had strict guidelines and I couldn't be bothered to submit another.

This year I finally got around to going to one... 2000 Trees. This festival strives to be nicer than the others. They are the most eco friendly, and even got "2nd best toilets at a UK festival" awards. The line up isn't the best around, but it is decent enough, and the main reason I wanted to go was for the festival experience.

And... well... I got that.

The when we got there it was very, very muddy. Brandi had bought some wellies before, but I decided against it, until Mike sent me a text strongly recommending I do. It was the best £14 I've spent. There was so much mud.

Mike had saved us a position next to him and his friends, but it wasn't quite big enough for my main tent. Thankfully my dad had lent me one, but it was a really small 2-man. It was easy to put up though, and meant we would have somewhere to stay.

We trudged through the mud to see some bands. The evening before it must have been raining loads as the ground was so sticky. I didn't see that many play before my legs ached and I wanted to sit down (I am getting old...). We watched 'Maybeshewill', who were really good, and also 'Lanterns on the Lake', and 'We Were Promised Jetpacks'. There were a few other bands on while we were standing around/walking, but I wasn't paying a lot of attention.

2000 Trees is the most middle class festival I can imagine. Aside from everybody having a hipster beard, most of the people seemed friendly enough (in that they weren't chavs looking for a fight). Instead of the expected burger vans they had Pieminister (a really well-rated pie place), Tibetan cuisine, Thai cuisine, burritos and a sausage BBQ. I wasn't hungry enough to justify buying anything though, and decided I would have something on the Saturday.

As mentioned before, my legs ached, so we went back to the tents to sit around drinking for a bit. I was drinking cider (dry, as I've decided to watch my sugar intake). It was really really hot, to the point that I had burnt my nose, and slightly burnt my arms. And then I noticed a really dark cloud.

It rained a load. It was pouring off the gazebos Mike's friends had set up. I had to have an umbrella up even though I was undercover. The tents didn't fare well. Early reports from people coming back from theirs was that they were flooded. I didn't even want to imagine how mine was.
We stayed under cover for the rest of the night (until about 1am when I went to bed... as I said, getting old...). I got through a few ciders, and was talking to a few people.
A little later in the night I needed to go to the toilet. I drunkenly stumbled over the Shanty Town-like tent setup, trudging through the mud with the ground lit by the light bouncing off the puddles of rain, with music playing in the distance, and towards some haystacks set up with the intention of being makeshift urinals. That is exactly what I expected from a 'festival experience', so I felt it was a success.

Mike tried to convince us to sleep in his car, but after previous attempts at sleeping in a car I thought it was best to avoid it if possible. When we got into the tent there were a few puddles of water which we got out using a cup (yep, enough water to scoop up with a cup...). I lay there, curled up (due to the tent not being long enough for me) in my unzipped sleeping bag (zip was broken), and resting on a bag as a pillow, and prepared for the worst camping sleep I've had. Worse than the walk.
The next morning I awoke to it still raining, my sleeping bag soaked, and my knee really hurting from keeping it bent. The sticky mud that was there yesterday had been replaced by 4 inch deep slush. Neither of us were in the mood to stay around for long. Even though there were a few bands I wanted to see we decided it would be best to pack up and head home for a shower. There was no way I was going to stick around for the rest of the day.

One may think the story would end there, and I wish it did...

We had parked on a field. I already thought it was going to be difficult to get off, but hoped that since we were leaving early it would be OK. When we got to the field it wasn't actually as bad as we thought, and figured it would be fairly simple to get off. Nope. For the first few metres I couldn't get over 5mph. The wheels were spinning and there was nothing I could do. In the end I got out and tried to push it while Brandi drove, except she has no experience driving a manual car and stalled every few seconds. Eventually we got it moving, only for it to stop about 20m down the field.

Two girls came over and offered help. I asked one to get in the car and drive while I push it, and we managed to get it another 30 metres more, but she left it in a place that was even more muddy. We couldn't slightly move from there, even pushing it wasn't doing anything.

While waiting around for help, I helped two women get their car off. While pushing it I was hit all over the face with mud, and it was in my hair. Eventually one of the event staff helped push the car and we got off. My car is literally covered in mud now.

All in all it was an experience, and though not a very pleasant one, I now know what a UK festival is like. I don't plan to return to one any time soon.


  1. Oh dear. I used to go to lots of festivals when I lived here in the late 70s; your experience was pretty typical I'm afraid. Now I just go running in those conditions (for fun)

  2. You really should have stayed just slightly longer! I wanted to leave at the same time as you, but didn't and stayed the extra night. It rained through 2:54, so their crowd wasn't as good as it should have been, but they were amazing. I was gutted that S.C.U.M were cancelled, but Summer Camp were brilliant and in sunshine too! (Shook hands with Jeremy AND Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a fitty.)

    Hundred Reasons were OK too, just made me feel 15 again. Johnny Foreigner killed it as usual. Up there with Maybeshewill (who played a second set) as highlights. Future Of The Left were hilarious and worth it, but I think I would have enjoyed being home early over staying at that point!

    Tickets for next year are on sale now, shall I get yours?

  3. 2000 trees is a great festival experience, the weather was just really bad. it also sounds like you were under prepared for a festival. Buying a cheap tent/sleeping bag or general camping supplies tends to be a false economy. i go to a large number of festivals and preparation is always paramount. i had a good tent, bed and sleeping back, all put up well and despite the rain and not being able to sit down had an absolute blinder. those pop up tents are a disaster. the atmosphere in the cave is fantastic, food is great and so is the line up.

    i would suggest going again but it sounds like your main issue was with the weather not the festival, be prepared and you will have a banging weekend no matter what.