As the weekend of the 19th and 20th of July came around, I swapped the cobbled streets of Durham for the grassy paths of Oxfordshire. It was time for Truck festival, and time to get a piece of the music action.
Truckers were left reaching for their water bottles as temperatures soared, but luggage laden campers did not let the extreme heat extinguish their enthusiasm for the festivals, and rightly so.
Kicking off with Oxford based band, Candy Says on the Market Stage, the weekend was off to a flying start. (See my Interview with Candy Says here)
Boasting five stages, acts launched Truck number 16 at 12.30pm, giving festival goers an excellent display of music, booming into the early hours of both Saturday and Sunday morning.
Despite tickets completely selling out, Truck still managed to maintain the intimate, natural vibe that they are most known and loved for. Rivalling festival gods, Reading, Leeds and Download, Truck still stands to state as one of the longest running independent standing small festivals…(try saying that after you’ve visited the dentist).
An aspect of the festival that was particularly special? The absence of a corporate nature meant that it was up to local people and the local Rotary Club to provide ticket-holders with a good weekend of locally produced food to match the local musical talent. Proceeds went to charity and with the music hungry being fed, it was time to get down to business and enjoy the festival. Stalls offering an array of jewellery, headgear, sunglasses, clothing, and quirky items were aplenty, so if you promised to bring back a souvenir for your non-festival attending chums, you have no excuse not to.
As a Truck newbie, the element I enjoyed the most was the weekend’s atmosphere. With under-12s entering the festival for free, the festival family scene was big. With a fully stocked children’s tent, and Mussel Beach, the festival was ideal for families of a range of ages. Whether you prefer to sit and chill with a cider while listening to life music or opt to join in the moshpit at the front of the stage, there was room and the potential for everyone to do what they enjoyed best. With the site being situated in a village, you can’t walk for a minute without bumping into a friendly resident. Families were strong in number at Truck, and this made for a nice change in comparison to endless bottle throwing at other festivals. Not to mention, there was some excellent fancy dress…and that was just the adults.
With 2012 seeing Tim Minchin, The Temper Trap and Mystery Jets topping the line-up list, 2013 was paved by performances from The Horrors, The Subways, Ash, Patrick Wolf, And So I Watch You From Afar and Candice Gordon, to name a few. With tickets for family camping and standard camping for the weekend pitching in at £74, Truck is exceptional value for money if you consider it weighs in at £37 per day. If you’re local, the cost of getting to Hill Farm will be barely anything, as there is the option to drive and park, be dropped off by a generous feeling relative, or take the bus from a range of points in Oxford, Steventon, Didcot Parkway and Abingdon. If you’re travelling from elsewhere like I did, trains run from London to Oxford on a regular basis for around £20.
Truck prides itself on bringing entertainment, a great weekend for all, come rain or shine. Truck 16 was fortunate enough to be blessed with the company of glorious weather, and with a saloon, and a bar offering a range of cold non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, there wasn’t a sad face around.
So, it turns out that bigger is not always better..Truck has come a long way since its initial kick off in 1998. Ask anyone ‘is Truck this way?’ ‘Am I in the right direction for Truck festival’ and you’ll be greeted with friendly responses. It teams an intimate vibe with a punching, powerful pack of musical talent, see you next year for Truck 17?