Truck Festival 2014 Review

“Truck Festival? What’s that?” This has largely been the response when telling the tales of my whereabouts on the 18th-20th of July. With our music calendar at saturation point with all the festivals happening during this popular time, you can easily be forgiven for knowing nothing about this harmonious little gathering on a farm in Oxford.

But Truck is not your usual festival. It started 17 years ago as a small alternative to the big names such as Glastonbury, Reading or Leeds; all of which have become corporate, money-spinning beasts. Truck has a refreshingly low ticket count, which means that even though it was a sell-out, there was still plenty of breathing space and an obvious lack of hippies and try-hard rockers.

The weekend vibe was completely laid back and inclusive. It was in no way about wearing the right clothes or being seen, but rather about kicking back and enjoying the atmosphere while soaking up the vitamin-D. There was no fancy VIP area: backstage was purely functional. Instead, everyone mingles. The artists roam the site, picking up beers at the bar just like us “normal folk”. A distinct bohemian quality; Truck is clearly about the people and the music.

Typically claiming the third weekend in July, this year the two-dayer kicked off its Friday with the ‘Tropical Groove’ and Indie vibes of the four-piece HABITATS, making their Truck debut on the festival’s Main/Truck Stage. One of the fabulous things about Truck is that it’s a showcase for the area’s local scene at the same time as bringing in acts both small and big from further afield.

It’s a proper all-round arena: the same stage sees the popular rock back, The Dreaming Spires, with their clashing drums and almost-shouting-but-you-think-I’m-singing vocal sound (resulting in constant sound), immediately preceded by the relaxed and more feminine vibes of Fickle Friends singing to their soft keyboards and jingling tambourines.

Wider afield, the festival plays host to five stages, all very different in the music they were churning out over the fun-filled weekend.  The Barn Stage was focused on psychedelic noise rockers, such as Canterbury and Blood Red Shoes. Set against a corrugated steel roof, and with the scent of manure easing its way up the nostrils, it soon became obvious that we were watching psych-punk wraiths perform on a stage erected in a working barn. It was a surreal experience to say the least.

A mix of haunting sounds, hypnotic, pounding drumbeats and winking strobes were the enticing aspects which drew you into the stage amusingly labelled as The Veterans and Virgins Stage. Hosting bands such as Ralfe Band and the Brickwork Lizards, both of which offering unique experiences, often involving banjos and tambourines, the stage was both unique and alluring, tantalising the musical tastebuds. Similarly, the close-by Saloon Bar lured  people in with its refreshing western atmosphere. Set up as something out of a cheesy western movie from the 50’s, this stage offered a different experience from the other stages with a more acoustic and folk feel to all the acts, which included sets from BMW and The Buffalo Skinners.

Finally, often described as the ‘Second-in-Command’ to the Truck Stage, the Market Stage was a stage which offered a whole range of musical genres from Dance a la Plage with their Indie-Rock ambiance to the folk-electro solo artist, Dan Croll.

With every act, bar the day’s headliners, allotted a half-hour performance slot, it’s nothing if not fair. You can power through bands and stick with sets you might otherwise leave, meaning you get a great idea of each carefully edited set list designed by each band to show themselves at their best.

Friday’s headline act, the much loved The Cribbs, take to the Truck Stage at 10pm, delighting the crowd with a medley of their top hits – they’ve more than you remember after realising five studio albums – before their spectacular closing song, which left the crowds begging for more and sadly dispersing back to the camping site, or for those more eager to other stages, such as the Market Stage which offered an all-night “Silent Disco”. There is no doubt about the fact that this band knows how to rock a festival and plays a pitch-perfect set to a crowd that appreciates their longevity and experience.

When Saturday comes, eager festival goers await Truck Stage sets from M+A and As The Elephants Are. As the day goes on, things get really lively.

When the final act at the Truck Stage for the weekend, White Lies, take to stage they muster an infectious energy. People from outside the tent file in and there are heads nodding right the way to the back of the assembled throng. As they launch into the fast-and-furious first song, all pulsating drums, rumbling bass, blissful synths and deep vocals wrapped up in lyrical genius, the London trio ignite a flame within the audience which refuses to die out until the early hours of Sunday morning.

Truck is unique. Mellow, friendly and under-crowded. It’s like the best village fete you’ve ever been to. Complete with a diverse selection of bands, this is how festivals should be. You can’t help but hope Truck never gets big and becomes the commercialised spawn of the modern music industry.

First acts announced for OFF Festival

OFF Festival is a way of life, one that flies in the face of current trends and stays true to itself, and the ethos of organiser Artur Rojek is firmly aimed at supporting art and music with the festival bringing many acts to Poland for the first time.
Growing in prominence year on year with this years event promising one of the strongest line-ups to date in line with Rojek’s forward-thinking, eclectic music policy. From the greatest alternative music stars from around the world to the increasingly strong Polish scene, OFF festival has inspiring music in abundance. This year’s edition will showcase over one hundred acts across four stages.
primal screamAmongst the first acts to be announced are; Primal Scream playing “Screamadelica”, Gang Of Four, Mogwai, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Deerhoof, Low, Liars, Actress, Meshuggah, Kury playing “P.O.L.O.V.I.R.U.S.”, Czeslaw Spiewa Tesco Value, Abradab plays Kaliber 44, Lech Janerka, Bielizna plays Taniec lekkich goryli, L.Stadt, Omar Souleyman, Junior Boys, Kode9 & The Spaceape, Warpaint, Glasser, Xiu Xiu, Destroyer, Neon Indian, Ringo Deathstarr, Oneohtrix Point Never, Factory Floor, Twin Shadow, Matthew Dear, Male Bonding, Igor Boxx, Olivia Anna Livki, DVA, Liturgy, GaBLé and Barn Owl. Plus a special opening show with Current 93 + guest.
Artur Rojek likes to share his music.
Back in the day, before he became a celebrated music star of his own right, he would simply play his favourite records for his friends, or make them tapes, forcing them to listen to his latest discoveries. He went on to become one of the best-selling Polish artists of all time, regularly playing tracks that he found fascinating or had caught his attention on the radio. And he still does actually… But back in 2005 Rojek found a new, all-encompassing way to share good music with others. The perfect way to experience this music together with others and to share the emotions carried by the sound. And so it was that OFF Festival was created.
A true paradise for fans of great music.
Last year marked the 5th anniversary of Artur Rojek’s loud brainchild and an exciting development for the festival as it moved from it’s former home, the Skupna Water Park in Myslowice to a brand new location at Dolina Trzech Stawow, which translates to ‘Three Lake Valley’, in Katowice – a beautiful green oasis in the heart of industrial Silesia.
Over the years, the OFF Festival has amassed its own demanding yet appreciative audience as well as a well deserved reputation in Poland and abroad. Not without reason has it been said and written that OFF is the best alternative festival in this part of Europe and the only place east of Berlin where one can catch a glimpse of the boldest and electic acts on stages worldwide. This year, over 15,000 music fans are expected to flock to Three Lake Valley to witness Artur Rojek’s musical vision come to fruition once again.
More than just music
OFF Festival is about more than just music. It also features a number of accompanying events: film, art, performance and poetry. It’s also an event which keeps the environment in mind – all food and drinks come in environmentally-friendly packaging and there is a big emphasis on recycling. It’s a completely safe place, an event where diverse tastes and appearances are welcomed and where everyone is the same because everyone is different.
* Allows entrance to all concerts taking place between the 5th and 7th of August in the area of Dolina Trzech Stawów (gate opens at 13:00)
35 EUR (45 EUR with camping included) – until April 30th
40 EUR (50 EUR with camping included) – May 1st until June 30th
45 EUR (55 EUR with camping included) – July 1st until August 4th
50 EUR – August 5th, on location

*Allows entry to the concerts taking place in one chosen day of the festival
August 4th – Special opening show with Current 93 + guest (gate opens at 18:00)?22 EUR – pre-sale until August 3rd ?27 EUR – August 4th, on location
August 5th or 6th or 7th – Three Ponds Valley (gate opens at 13:00)?25 EUR – pre sale until August 4th?35 EUR– during the festival

Please note that camping (Festival Village) will not be sold this year separately – unless there is space available when the festival starts.?17 EUR – August 5th or 6th or 7th
buy tickets from:

Travel and accommodation
There are regular cheap flights to from the UK and Europe to Katowice with Wizz Air, Ryan Air, Lufthansa and KLM.
Arriving at Katowice/Pyrzowice airport – take the bus marked “Lotnisko” to the Katowice train station (Dworzec PKP) and then transfer to one of the below lines.
Buses from Katowice train station (Dworzec PKP):
– to the Muchowiec airport (OFF Festival grounds) – lines 0 and 50.
– to the Trzy Stawy bus stop (shopping center, 500 meters from the
festival grounds) – lines 10, 110, 672, 674, and 910.
Katowice has a broad range of accommodation, from cheap hostels to luxury hotels, but you can also live the festival life 24 hours a day at the OFF Festival Village, providing you with a place to stay, take care of sanitary needs, and grab a bite to eat. The Festival Village at OFF Festival Katowice 2010 will open August 5 at noon, and close on August 9 at 3:00 pm. A stay at the Festival Village costs 4 € (16 PLN) per person, per day.
More information on all the travel and accommodation is available on the festival website
OFF Festival online