The forest tour was launched in 2001 with Jools Holland and the Levellers performing at four participating Forestry Commission sites – Sherwood Pines, Dalby Forest, Bedgebury Pinetum and High Lodge, Thetford Forest.
The concept was to attract major acts for a series of concerts in outstanding locations. Previous to 2001 Thetford and Westonbirt had been independently running limited but successful concert programmes.
Over the years the tour has grown and the Forestry Commission is now a major promoter of summer concerts and, with the addition of Delamere Forest and Cannock Chase, Forest Live events are regularly staged at seven forest venues.
To date artists have included:
- 2013 Paloma Faith, Blondie, Paul Weller, The Script, Olly Murs, Jessie J, The Charlatans, James, Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Elvis Costello.
- 2012 Plan B, Will Young, Ed Sheeran, Madness, Alfie Boe, The Darkness, Steps, The Wanted, The Wombats
- 2011 Erasure, Simple Minds, Bryan Ferry, Texas, The Script, Scouting for Girls, Status Quo, The Courteeners, Westlife.
- 2010 Simply Red, Keane, Doves, Scouting for Girls, JLS, Blondie, Status Quo, James Morrison, Katie Melua
- 2009 Paul Weller, Doves, Simply Red, James Morrison, McFly, Sugababes, David Gray
- 2008 The Zutons, Crowded House, Elbow, KT Tunstall, McFly, Status Quo, Charlatans, Katherine Jenkins and Jools Holland
- 2007 James Morrison, Travis, The Feeling, Blondie, Van Morrison, The Charlatans and Jools Holland
- 2006 UB40, Embrace, Massive Attack, Jamie Cullum, Van Morrison and the Pet Shop Boys.
- 2005 Madness, Beautiful South, Ian Brown, Daniel Beddingfield and Jools Holland
- 2004 Paul Weller, Bryan Ferry, Jools Holland, Sugababes, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Status Quo
- 2003 Status Quo, Jools Holland, The Beach Boys and Courtney Pine
- 2002 Pulp and Jools Holland
- 2001 Levellers and Jools Holland