Westonbirt rocks

Westonbirt Arboretum hosts Alfie Boe and a host of other music stars in support of the Forestry Commission

In an expanse of grassy fields in Gloucestershire appetising smells wafted from food stalls, cars lined up in multicoloured rows and lights flared on a big stage in preparation for the headline artist. But this was no ordinary outdoor concert. The audience politely arrived in time for the best spots, pulling out folding chairs and tables that were then covered in sandwiches, Mr Kipling bakewell tarts and strawberries and cream. And as champagne was poured, the sun shone down through rare and exotic trees from across the globe.

A Giant Redwood tree at Westonbirt Arboretum

This was one of the Forestry Commission’s summer of live music concerts that took place throughout June and July in incredible woodland locations all over the country. I was at Westonbirt Arboretum, the most important and widely known collection of trees in Britain, planted in the mid-19th century. As Alfie Boe bounded on stage, the audience was able to appreciate the music in an intimate and unique venue, quite unlike the mammoth open-air concerts of Hyde Park and with all the beauty of a small-scale festival.

Other artists such as Will Young and Ed Sheeran performed at forested locations including Sherwood Pines Forest in Nottinghamshire, Thetford Forest in Suffolk and Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire. To find out first which artists are returning for 2013 you can sign up to receive the Foresty Commission’s newsletter at www.forestry.gov.uk

The Old Arboretum at Westonbirt is a carefully designed landscape offering beautiful vistas, stately avenues, and a host of rare and exotic trees