The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, The Vaccines, The Wombats, Twin Atlantic, Maxïmo Park, Deaf Havana
This list of bands is usually one you’d expect to fill the stages at huge festivals such as Reading and Leeds or Glastonbury, which explains why Truck Festival, a small, Oxfordshire-based celebration of indie/rock music, sold out so quickly. It wasn’t just the huge names, either; BBC Introducing Oxford gave their take on the most exciting new artists, while actor Idris Elba put on a two-hour long DJ set. As proof of appreciation, former England footballer Stuart Pearce was spotted at the festival. Where else would you get such a combination?
Truck began 20 years ago and has since built up a reputation as one of the best small festivals in the country. Two Door Cinema Club, Biffy Clyro and Foals have all graced Hill Farm in the past, with Catfish and the Bottlemen headlining just last year. For their 20th birthday party, Truck put on their biggest show yet.
Friday’s traffic issues were soon forgotten once tents were pitched in the small, friendly campsite, and fans were greeted with an opening day of music headlined by Franz Ferdinand. Meanwhile, smaller acts showed their talent, such as Bath-based Bad Sounds, and The Big Moon. Friday night saw the worst of the weather, but the festival went on triumphantly despite the pools of mud, (unlike its sister festival, Y Not).
Saturday’s main stage line-up proved just how good the bookings were, with Sundara Karma, Nothing But Thieves, The Wombats and The Libertines all playing in succession. These will be remembered, but earlier sets from the likes of VANT and The Magic Gang continued to prove that the future of guitar music is in safe hands.
Sunday was the same, with The Vaccines providing a memorable closing set, but the highlight of the festival came in the early afternoon. The Oxford Symphony Orchestra opened the main stage, covering classics you’d hear in SWX on a Friday night (such as an ABBA medley), mixed with normal classical music. You may haveseen the video of the hungover, knackered crowd moshing to Strauss, (this was on a muddy Sunday afternoon, remember). Deaf Havana and Twin Atlantic continued the stellar line-up, while Banfi, Palace and Cassia showed off more up-and-coming talent.
There was plenty to explore on site, with countless food stalls and a merchandise tent that not only sold band T-shirts, but also shirts of German Bundesliga teams and the Danish national football team (because, you know, that’s the target audience of Truck). There was also the Truck sign, so you could get the typical festival photo.
This was all available for just £120, and prices haven’t gone up for next year. First tier tickets are currently £90, or there is an incredibly cheap monthly instalment plan. The only downside was the length of the sets, as it was difficult to fit in massive hits as well as deep album cuts for dedicated fans in just an hour, but you could see more bands you love during the day, so swings and roundabouts.
Truck has shown that if you want a weekend filled with great music and experiences, but you don’t want to pay hundreds of pounds and get stuck in crowds of 90,000 people, Oxford is the place to go. Be there July 20-22 2018, or you’ll regret it!
Written by Oscar La-Gambina