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.

Sam Smith announced for Latitude 2013

Latitude is delighted to announce one of the UK’s current hottest talents Sam Smith will be performing as a special guest on The Lake Stage at this year’s festival, taking place at Henham Park, Suffolk from 18th – 21st July. Smith’s amazing vocals featured on one of 2012’s biggest tracks, Disclosure’s Latch and he’s back at the top of the charts again featuring on hot producer, Naughty Boy’s smash Number One single La La La, currently the fastest selling single of the year. Curated by Huw Stephens, The Lake Stage has played host to countless ‘next big things’ including Alt-J, The xx and Everything Everything and as one of 2013’s most exciting artists at just 21-years-old, Sam Smith is no exception.

Also on The Lake Stage this year will be the master of beautiful folk balladry  Benjamin Francis Leftwich, London indie-pop quartet Veronica Falls and hotly tipped Manchester foursome The 1975. Other must see sets include art-noise masters Bo Ningen, UK folk and grunge blend Wolf Alice, Australian rave revivalists Jagwar Ma and tropical pop reggae artist Hollie Cook.

 

 

OBELISK ARENA

Friday
Bloc Party
The Maccabees
Cat Power
Yo La Tengo
I Am Kloot
Stornoway
Tim Burgess

Saturday
Kraftwerk (3D Show)
Hot Chip
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Jessie Ware
Steve Mason
Efterklang
Charles Bradley And His Extraordinaires 

Sunday
Foals
Grizzly Bear
James Blake
Local Natives
The Tallest Man On Earth
Junip

BBC RADIO 6 MUSIC STAGE

Friday
Modest Mouse
Calexico
Villagers
Richard Thompson Electric Trio
Beth Orton
Akron/Family
Willy Mason
James Skelly & The Intenders 

Saturday
Alt-J
Mark Lanegan Band
Everything Everything
Daughter
White Denim
Duane Eddy 
Matthew E. White

Sunday
Beach House
Disclosure
Cocorosie
Rudimental 
MÚM
IamamIwhoamI
Austra
Laura Mvula

Ben Howard headlines Sunday Night at Green Man Festival

Ben Howard joins Saturday night headliners Band of Horses for Green Man 2013, plus we’re delighted to confirm Villagers, Stornoway, Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, Erol Alkan & Daniel Avery, Veronica Falls, Rachel Zeffira, Half Moon Run, Sweet Baboo, Jacco Gardner, Teleman, and Annie Dressner are all new additions for this year’s line-up!

Ben Howard

Ben Howard headlined the Walled Garden at Green Man 2011, shortly before releasing his Mercury-nominated debut album Every Kingdom. He is currently nominated for two Brit Awards!

Villagers return to Green Man with new album Awayland poised to cement the success of beguiling debut Becoming A Jackal. New single Nothing Arrived, currently receiving heavy radio play, is a corker.

Stornoway return in March with Tales From Terra Firma – an album of compositional and lyrical depth, but one that retains the charm of the debut so many fell in love with.

Johnny Flynn cites Yeats and Shakespeare among his influences, and aided by backing band The Sussex Wit, his cerebral folk rock went down a storm at Green Man 2010.

Erol Alkan & Daniel Avery are, respectively, the founder and current shining star of the Phantasy Sound label. The latter remixed the likes of Django Django, The 2Bears and The Horrors in 2012.

Veronica Falls recently released second album Waiting For Something To Happen last week has been given five stars in the Guardian, and needless to say it is great.

Rachel Zeffira released her debut solo album The Deserters in December. The Canadian singer is one half of Cats Eyes, alongside Faris Badwan of The Horrors.

Half Moon Run is a Canadian trio that fuses restless elements of indie, pop and folk with beautiful harmonies, delicate guitar lines and a hint of warm electronica.

Sweet Baboo releases new album Ships in April. Current single Let’s Go Swimming Wild, out yesterday, is a sublime piece of bittersweet, brass-driven Welsh indie pop.

Jacco Gardner is a 24-year-old maverick psychedelic musician from Holland whose Cabinet Of Curiosities album calls to mind disparate influences including Curt Boettcher, Broadcast and Nirvana.

Teleman are an ace new London three-piece that rose from the ashes of former band Pete & The Pirates. Recent single Cristina is one of the tunes of 2013 so far.

Annie Dressner recently moved to the UK from her hometown of New York City; her new EP, East Twenties, showcases her straightforward lyrical style, sharp ear for wordplay and crisp, lilting vocals.