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Events expert wins national award for success of Gloucestershire music festival

A University of Gloucestershire lecturer has won a national industry award for the third time in four years due to the continued popularity of an independent music festival that he founded with five friends.

Andy Rea, a lecturer in Business and Events Management within the University’s School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences, launched 2000trees festival in 2007 with Mark Gardiner, James Scarlett, Rob Scarlett, Si Maltas and Brendan Herbert. 

The 15,000-capacity event in Withington, Cheltenham, which provides placement opportunities for University students to gain real-world experience to support their academic learning, has been named as the Best Medium-Sized Festival at the 2023 UK Festival Awards celebrating excellence in event management.

a band performing on a stage with the audience in the foreground

This latest success, following a public vote and assessment by a panel of industry experts, means the festival has won the award in three out of three past four years (excepting Covid lockdowns), following previous successes in 2018 and 2022.

Headliners at this year’s three-day festival at Upcote Farm in Withington, Cheltenham were Bullet for my Valentine, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes and Soft Play, among a line-up of more than 150 acts across music, comedy and spoken word.

Student placement opportunities

Andy Rea said: “We’re all absolutely thrilled to have won this prestigious award again, especially as music fans play such a large part in deciding the winner.

“We are music fans first and foremost who love going to gigs, concerts and festivals, so 2000trees was borne out of our frustration with the existing offerings which we felt all put profit ahead of people.

“We started with a simple passion for music and the desire to create a dynamic, energetic and accessible event that puts the festival-goer at the top of their priorities.

“It is also extremely important that the festival offers high-quality placement opportunities for our students, so they gain practical skills and real-world opportunities in supportive learning environments.

“For me, as a practitioner academic, my involvement in the festival enables me to share professional experiences alongside academic theory, both in the classroom and during the student placements.”

Image: Andy Rea (third right) and his friends who launched the award-winning 2000trees festival