Truck Festival is a one of our firm favourites on the festival calander and this years did not disappoint at all. Located on Hill Farm in Oxfordshire the festival offered a huge line up with some of the hottest bands around. Headlining the weekend was The Wombats, Two Door Cinema Club, Alt-J and Royal Blood. Every band who performed put on a cracking performance and put all their energy into their sets. The festival had plenty to offer including food and drink stalls, kids activities, gameshows, yoga, karaoke and more. Unfortunately the weather was a typical British type for a festival. Saturday was a downpour which made the site into a slippery mud bath but that did not dampen any ones spirits.
Our photographer Kane Howie was at the festival to document the weekend. You can see a selection of his images below.
2024 tickets are on sale now and are selling fast! We will definitely be returning for next year!
Truck festival is the self labelled “Godfather of the small festival scene” and is one of the longest running small festivals in the UK. The festival based in Steventon in Oxfordshire was founded by brothers Robin and Joe Bennett and originally began as a birthday celebration for Robin. The brothers then handed control of the event over to Matt Harrap and his team after facing financial difficulties in 2012. Now in 2017 in it’s twentieth year, the festival is still going strong with a line up that gets bigger each year. In past years the festival has been known to find talents from up and coming bands that are trying to find their way onto the music scene to become arena sell out artists with many of these artists making their festival debut’s at Truck. Past performances include Biffy Clyro, Mystery Jets, Foals, Catfish and the Bottlemen and many, many more.
This year, Truck has seen a big change to the layout of the festival site compared to previous years’ usual look. The large area provided festival goers with eight stages, each with their own style of performances. Over the weekend, the ever popular Truck Stage, which is the event’s main stage in the centre of the site provided a huge variety of bands and artists for us to see. Secondary to the Truck stage was the Market Stage which brough us performances from popular artists including Honeyblood, Tom Grennan and Twin Atlantic. The other six stages included were The Nest-the third of the bigger stages, then the slightly smaller venues that included The Barn, The Saloon Bar-which is well known for its country style, Veterans and Virgins stage, and lastly, not forgetting The Temple, and The Ruins venues that could be found within the Palm City area of the site which mostly showcases DJ sets including an amazing set from none other than Hollywood actor Idris Elba!
Also on offer on site was an array of activities and stalls for all ages to enjoy. Even fairground rides and games. As this is a family friendly festival, Truck saw the return of Angel Gardens which is a dedicated team of enthusiastic people in a designated children and family area. This area was situated just off of the main arena and provided activities from 10am until 6pm. Their tipi was full of lots of things to keep little ones happy and content. They had planned activities that included arts and crafts, singing and music, dance and movement, sensory play, story telling, cooking classes, races and games and even circus skills performances. Angel Gardens also planned to provide a bath and bedtime hour each evening from 5pm until 6pm where children can wash and relax to get ready for bed. I thought this was a brilliant idea, especially as I took my two year old son with me. Next to the children’s area was a cinema with a diverse range of films for both children and adults. The listings included big Disney movies- Moana, Up!, Toy story 1, 2 and 3 and also films aimed at a more mature audience like Jurassic Park, The Mask, Jaws, The Wedding Singer and the multiple award winning La La Land.
Each year the team at Truck festival has been known to provide ticket holders with a wide variety of food choices. Well this year there was even more! They had almost every corner of the food map covered. What was better is that because there was a much wider choice of foods this meant that people were spending a lot less time queueing for their grub. The food hall tent gave us pizzas, smoothies, indian cuisine, a hog roast, burgers, mac and cheese, tea and coffee and so much more. There was also many street cart food vendors on site around the arena which introduced us to greek street food, vegan and vegetarian cuisine, thai food, the list goes on and on. Feel good food stands were also donating all of their profits to many different charities which is a really nice idea. The one downside that I and many others noticed was the extortionate prices at the bar. I remember going to buy a bottle of water and being charged £2.50 to which I refused to pay, especially as I was able to buy the same amount of bottled water for just £1 at another food stall. Not only this, many people I had spoken to at the event were feeling a little cheated as they were being charged £5 per pint at the bar. And as there was a new no alcohol on return policy in place, this certainly rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way.
Speaking of grievances, If anyone reading this review has also read any other 2017 Truck festival related news, you will have undoubtedly seen a lot of negative articles about this weekend’s event. Here on behalf of myself and everyone at Summer Festival Guide, I do not intend to focus on the negatives that have appeared to over shadow many peoples opinions of this festival. Lets get the negativity out of the way. Firstly the weather was absolutely awful. It rained, and rained and then rained some more. This of course turned the festival grounds into a giant muddy slip and slide and caused many campers tents to become flooded, including my own. No one is at fault for the very unpredicable weather conditions, but the security teams and production teams on site tried to help as much as they could by covering the worst effected parts of the ground with straw in an attempt to soak up the mud. Which worked to a certain extent.
While at the festival and since the event, I have spoken to many people as they were wanting to express their concerns to pretty much anyone who would listen as unfortunately the organisers of Truck festival haven’t appeared to be overly co operative. It appeared that the layout of the camping areas were not as well thought out as they maybe should have been. There were five campsite areas which surrounded the arena, one of which was for the production team. The rest included general camping, the glamping and Zodiac camping areas which were priced higher than general camping as it provided extra facilities such as showers and larger tents and lastly the family camping area. Family camping was the furthest away from the arena to which I can only assume was an attempt to keep it quieter for families with younger children which in therory is a good idea. Although in order to get the the festival arena, families were expected to walk through the general camping area which in my opinion and in the opinion of many others wasn’t such a good idea. Especially as it required walking down a hill that was turned into a giant mud slide after the heavy rainfall. Not only that, it also was not ideal for young children to be walking through a campsite full of other festival goers that had a lot of alcohol and even recreational drugs on them which also left the general admission campsite in a bit of a state. There is a very strict no drugs on site policy in place so clearly there would have been further security issues there too. Further issues with campsites included broken showers in the glamping and Zodiac camping areas. Ticket holders in these areas had paid over £30 extra to be able to use these shower facilities only to discover that they weren’t always able to. Lastly regarding complaints and unfortunate situations, over thirty reports were made to the organisers about items being stolen from tents, not only while the tents were empty but also when occupied while people were sleeping. Even though many people are left confused as to what is being done about these reports, it does appear that reports of stolen goods are still being dealt with. In all honesty it looks like the organisers at Truck festival will have a lot to think about while preparing for next year’s event.
Who’s ready for the fun stuff? The music highlights! The weekend provided us with an amazing line-up with so many great acts to see. It was so hard to pick which acts to go and see as many of “the ones to watch” had timing clashes so it mean’t a lot of running around for myself and our photographer. But totally worth it, no matter how much mud we may have been covered in. There are so many artitsts that I would love to include in this review but I have narrowed it down to just a few. One of the performaces that really stood out for me was the set from South London band Arcane Roots. If you enjoy music from Biffy Clyro then these guys will be right up your alley. The band who have recently been raved about by DJ Annie Mac, attracted a lot of fans into the tent, which was eventually full to capacity. Just after perforfming their latest release, titled “Off The Floor” which in itself is a great head bopper, they then went on to sing a small segment of the massive Linkin Park hit “Crawling”, which I have no doubt was a touching tribute to the band’s front man Chester Bennington who has recently passed away. This was definitely a stand out moment for me and clearly many others in the room as it was met with applause.
An act that is defintly worth a mention is the unforgettable and high energy four piece, Yonaka. The band’s first appearance at Truck was in 2016 and they were named as one of the best sets of the weekend’s event. This year they had returned to find themselves performing on the main stage. With striking vocals from Theresa Jarvis and her very theatrical movements they had an amazing stage presence and captivated the audience. The band performed some of their singles including “Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya”, “Ignorance” “Bubblegum” and the intense “All In My Head” to which they encouraged the crowds of people to sing along with them. If you get the chance to see them perform live, don’t miss out!
Saturday lunchtime brought us the very energetic Truck festival veteran that was the one and only Mr Motivator. This was certainly a segment to help festival goers get up onto their feet to shake off their friday night hangovers. With great music, funky moves and inspiring words during his half an hour time slot Mr Motivator really did bring out the inner sunshine in all of us during a very damp weekend.
Sunday evening saw probably one of the best acts of the weekend at the Market stage. Scottish alternative rock band Twin Atlantic. The quartet who formed in 2007 completly packed out their venue at Truck. Not only was the Market stage bursting at the seems being at full capacity but they area surrounding was jam packed too. The band performed well known singles “Brothers & Sisters”, “Heart and Soul” and had blown the roof off of the venue during big hit “No Sleep!”. Clearly these four lads would have been better suited to the festival’s main stage. I really hope they will return to make this happen.
Lastly I cannot forget to mention the awesome headline acts! Truck organisers did not disappoint with these big names. Friday night concluded with the chart topping Franz Ferdinand. The glasgow based indie rockers opened their impressive set with the very familiar “Matinee”. They also performed hits “Walk Away” and the massive “Take Me Out”.
Saturday night’s headline act was The Libertines. The band ushered on to the music scene in the early noughties with their debut single “What A Waster” competing with the likes of The Strokes and Doves. Following a hiatus in the mid noughties the band then reunited for gigs at the ever popular Leeds and Reading festivals in 2010. At truck crowds of fans saw them perform hits such as “Time For Heroes” and “What Katie Did”.
The biggest and probably most anticipated performance of the weekend was also the one that brought the weekend to a close. This came from huge British band The Vaccines! These guys had drawn in thousands of people to the main stage (even England footballer Stuart Pierce!) while they performed many of their greatest hits which included “If You Wanna”, “Post Break-up Sex”, “Melody Calling”, “Norgaard” and even sampled some new music from their forthcoming album. Their set ended with a spectacular firework display which left the entire site reeling in feel good vibes
To me, Truck festival 2017 was a success. I really enjoyed my time there and I would absolutely love to go again. Yes there were a few hiccups this year that can be improved upon, which the organisers need to take into consideration when planning the 2018 event, but I won’t let it dampen (pardon the pun) my view of a well rounded family friendly festival.
Truck Festival expands to a three-day event for 2016 2016 full weekend tickets on sale Thursday 28th January 6:00pm
Oxford’s original music festival, Truck, confirms that for 2016 the event will expand to three days across the weekend of Friday 15th until Sunday 17th July at the Hill Farm site. A whole extra 24 hours will be on offer packed, once again, with the best indie, rock, pop and electronic acts. Truck Festival 2016 full weekend tickets priced at only £86.50 + booking fee go on sale via Truckfestival.com on Thursday 28thJanuary.
Last summer Truck heralded a great success with a sell-out crowd enjoying sets from Basement Jaxx, Charlatans, Clean Bandit, Slaves and many more. With the first 2016 line-up announcement due shortly the festival is thrilled to reveal to fans that this year’s festival is to add a whole extra day.
Truck Festival's Director, Ralph Broadbent comments:
“We're so excited to take Truck to three days for 2016. We're, as always, very conscious to remain one of the most accessible festivals in country, we believe festivals should be available for everyone. As a result, we will keep the ticket price as affordable as possible, £86.50 means that Truckers get an extra day of partying for £7, that's less than £29 a day!
2016 sees Truck in a stronger position than ever before, as a team we're totally tuned into how best to run the event and how to take it to the next step. The success of previous years has proved a real spring board from which to take Truck to the next level.”
Clean Bandit, Temples and Public Service Broadcasting lead the third series of bands announced for TRUCK 2015
Without further ado, we have the pleasure to introduce you to….
Our two sub headliners; Grammy award winning and chart conquering Clean Bandit and Temples alongside other huge names and the best brand new bands.
Clean Bandit’s rapid rise to fame has seen the quartet bag a Grammy for their hit ‘Rather Be’, now this summer we'll see them perform this and other smash hits for our wonderful audience.
Formed whilst studying at the University of Cambridge the band hail from enemy territory, no doubt a serving of polished electro-pop will build bridges during their set.
Temples, signed to the much-respected Heavenly Recordings, bring a slice of psychedelia to proceedings. The band has previously supported The Rolling Stones, while Brett Anderson personally invited them to tour with Suede. Temples’ set at Truck therefore comes with some very weighty recommendations.
Also joining the bill are the heady mix of rock, samples, spoken word and synths make up the mind-bending experience that is Public Service Broadcasting. The duo consisting of the enigmatically named J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth will provide a not-to-miss moment at Truck.
Further additions to appear alongside headliners Basement Jaxx and The Charlatans include:
DJ Luck and MC Neat All We Are D.I.D The Bohicas Summer Camp DMA's Rat Boy The Magic Gang Neon Waltz New Desert Blues
“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.