We’ve now had the pleasure of attending Oxfordshire’s Truck Festival for two years on the trot. Last year, we left begging for some shade from the hot, blazing sun. This year, we left covered in mud, very damp and trying to remember what solid ground feels like.
The weather, as quintessentially British as it is, seems to be one of extremes when it comes to Truck Festival. What is also extreme, is how quickly the festival seems to be growing. Last year we heard mumbles among the regular Truckers that the festival had massively jumped in growth just in the short space of a year, arriving on the site this year and it was instantly clear that this had happened once again.
The layout had undergone a transformation, with general campers now camped out on a hill, with an almighty walk down a fairly long corridor to the campsite. Not the best when carrying all of your camping essentials, but it makes the reward of a cold bev or two even more appealing (this is what we tell ourselves, right?)
There’s possibly nothing more surreal than setting up camp, whilst in the distance, you can see and hear The Big Moon performing on the main stage. Sounds of ‘Silent Movie Suzie’, we can confirm, are an excellent tent pitching soundtrack.
Once all set up, we headed to the arena, this year a proper, fully-fledged one, as opposed to last year where it was half mixed in with the campsite. Slaves, we also can confirm, are even better to watch from a swing carousel, the highly energetic sounds of ‘The Hunter’, mixed with the adrenaline of swinging around in a circle make quite the pairing.
Jagwa Ma took everyone on a mind-bending journey with their super smooth, flawless set including highlights ‘Come Save Me’ and much, much more. We defy you to see them live and not break into a full dance, they are absolute masters of beats. Friday night’s headliners Franz Ferdinand powered through the torrential rain that had joined us at Truck and gave everyone a reason to remember the night aside from the fact that the clothes that they were wearing would remain damp for the remainder of the weekend. They weren’t the end of our Friday however, as we travelled across to The Virgins and veterans stage to be delighted with the super synthy sounds of Low Island, an under looked gem of the night.
Waking up at a festival is always an experience. Waking up, opening your tent and seeing a literal sea of mud is quite another, but that’s exactly what Truckers experienced on Saturday morning. That didn’t stop us traipsing through the mud to go and watch our faves Bloxx perform at the very early time of 11.30, though. They oozed with the promise of exciting things to come, their set was peppered with energy, melodies and general excitement. We guarantee you won’t be seeing them at such an early time of day this time next year.
The likes of Yonaka and Will Joseph Cook wowed the troopers of the main stage who pushed through the rain to stay in the midst of the action in the arena. Performing very different yet ultimately equally as polished live sets. Sundara Karma took things up a notch, with their back catalogue of singalong indie hits on their definitive journey to become festival headliners.
The Magic Gang packed out The Nest tent, and after their mishap at Barn On The Farm earlier in the year, they actually made it through a whole set without any injuries! Bathed in harmonies enough to woo any heart and the pro-ess of a seasoned live band, it’s 100% clear why these Brighton lads have won so many hearts up and down the country.
The Wombats gave everyone their fill of super bubbly pop next, while The Moonlandingz provided the most interesting set of the weekend, their super psych sounds transported everyone away from the mud, away from the cold and to wherever they wanted to be (the moon perhaps).
Of course, most the arena was alit with talks of tonight’s main act The Libertines, but they were not our true headliners. Ours was over in the Barn in the form of Get Inuit. Their set is never one to disappoint and tonight proved this ten-fold, infusing their crowd with energy from their ace live performance, littered with the comedic notions from frontman Jamie will undoubtedly continue to see this band go from strength to strength. Oh, and The Libertines were good too…
Peaness, our recent new faves, opened up Sunday with their unique charming sounds and super contagious tracks. There is nothing about this band that we cannot praise enough, a fantastic, humble group that deserves every success. Banfi softened our souls that were slightly broken from the abysmal weather, with their soft vocals and lively edge.
Sløtface well and truly livened things up, however, with crowd ‘woo-hoo-hoo’’s and track after track of engaging tunes, they’re well and truly on their way to a pretty mega album release in September.
The rest of the day was pretty jam-packed, from the off kilter, chirpy sounds of Girl Ray, to the illustrious vocal sounds of Tom Grennan. Before our Scottish faves, Honeyblood blasted through their set of hits, before Palace blew us away.
All in all, Truck Fest is well on its way to being something special, but it definitely needs to keep itself in check, not get too carried away with its exponential growth and keep their beloved Truckers front and centre of their minds. A few more lineups as ace as this one though and the potential for where it can be in a year or three is unreal.