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'2000trees can give you a line-up with more strength and depth than Download'


Objectively, 2000trees grows each year. The annual forest-based festival pits some of alternative music’s biggest, best and most powerfully rising stars on stages throughout the woods of Gloucestershire.

By putting an emphasis on intimate performances, great music, and a welcoming atmosphere, it really is a festival like no other in the UK.

This year, it’s being headlined by The Gaslight Anthem, Don Broco and The Chats.

While now 2000trees is one of the best-loved experiences in the scene, organiser and band booker of 2000trees James Scarlett recalled starting the project as a way of hitting back at other festivals.

“We set it up as a lover of festivals,” James exclusively told Express.co.uk. “And we basically made a list of all the things we didn’t like about other people’s festivals and we tried to change them. It’s intentionally a nice place to be and a nice thing to go to. There was all these boutique festivals out there, but they didn’t really have rock line-ups. They had indie and pop line-ups, electronic. So we took that kind of boutique feel from festivals like Truck Festival, but we put a proper rock line-up on it.”

Although James and the 2000trees team are taking on the alternative and rock side of the music industry… they certainly have a lot of competition.

Glastonbury certainly has a lot to answer for with Foo Fighters hitting the stages, as well as other stalwart annual events. But does James feel a sense of rivalry against these other events?

“I don’t feel any competition with Glastonbury – because I think Glastonbury is going to sell out whatever … I think we used to compete with Reading Festival, Reading and Leeds, but that’s changed so much. So I don’t really see that as a competition for us.

“If you’re talking about big festivals: Download [Festival] is the one – although Download is a lot more metal than 2000trees. But yeah, there’s definitely competition there. But that’s so different.”

He went on: “You know, can I give you headliners like Download? No. I haven’t got Queens of Stone Age, and I’m never gonna get Metallica – but I can definitely give you a line-up that’s got more strength and depth. And I can give you a line-up that you will be able to get close to.”

James is obviously passionate about the festival, and that bleeds through into the event and keeps his punters happy… but there’s an inherent problem.

As 2000trees’ popularity blooms each year, more people attend, and the bigger it becomes. This, naturally, removes some of its familiarity and its personal experience. How do you combat that?

“I mean, we don’t really have a long-term plan,” James laughed. “I think the number one thing that we always come back to is: Don’t ruin the thing that people like most about 2000trees. So, the community, and the vibe, and the feel of the festival. No one in the world could make a 90,000-capacity festival that feels like 2000trees does, it’s just not possible. So there is a number somewhere between 15,000 and 90,000 where you’ve ruined it.

“The only way I know to manage that is to only increase 2000trees very gradually. The moment we feel it’s too big… that will be the end of that.

“It is a very hard game to make financially sustainable – no one’s like retiring to the Caribbean if they run festivals. They are extremely expensive. Costs have gone up since COVID by about 35 percent, and that means you need to sell more tickets… people don’t want to pay a higher price, so you do need to squeeze 1,000 people in every year, probably. I don’t know where that ends, but at some point it definitely does. Because the 2000trees vibe was why people love it… and we’ve got to keep that.”

2000trees takes place from Thursday, 11th July to Saturday, 13th July, 2024. Get tickets here.

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