Of course, that’s not to say Trees is in any danger of forgetting its own roots. Such eye-catching additions are resolutely at the service of the broader bill, with a clear eye to introducing the punters drawn in to closer-to-home acts they mightn’t otherwise come across. Derry’s The Wood Burning Savages set fire to the main stage with their politicised punk. Aberdeen’s Cold Years find a wave of fresh fans in the aptly-named Neu tent. Brighton’s Yonaka, Glasgow’s Vukovi and especially South Wales’ Dream State play to some of their biggest-ever crowds. And that’s not to forget Surrey’s You Me At Six and Norfolk rockers Deaf Havana getting to add further mainstage-headline experience to their increasingly bulging CVs. When festival season’s far-more-faceless giants come knocking, it’s worth remembering they pulled it off here first.
“More than any other festivals,” Damien continues, “2000 Trees (and August’s math-rock extravaganza ArcTanGent [run by much of the same team]) feel like the places you can play without a massive following or the support of a label. If you’re good, you can get on. The organisers really are at the forefront – more than any other festival in the country – at putting forward new talent who wouldn’t otherwise get the spotlight. It all comes back to that sense of community.”
“Ultimately, there’s nothing more important our the line-up,” James nods. “I really think that 2000trees plays a vital role in giving bands their first chance to play at a major UK festival. The likes of Twin Atlantic, Black Peaks, Nothing But Thieves and Creeper all played sets at Trees well before they were well known. And I fully expect the 2019 crop to go onto equally big things – people should keep an eye on Sœur, False Advertising, Brutus and St. Pierre, for sure. All of them are awesome!”
“I think what Trees does is celebrate and prove the demand for greater variety within the alternative music scene,” Jamie concludes, with a sense of real pride in the event he’s played his own little part in building. “I can’t think of any other festival, except perhaps Glastonbury, which has a wider range of music on offer, from folk to dance to extreme metal – sometimes all in the same set! They have their finger on the pulse about what’s new and exciting on the UK scene and they book bands on individual merit instead of hype or publicity, so for every band you already recognise there are ten more waiting to be discovered...”
For those still sleeping on what might just be the UK’s finest festival experience, you’d be barking not to head down to the woods this time next year...