22 July 2022 (gig)
28 July 2022
Truck Festival returns to Hill Farm, Steventon in Oxfordshire in 2022 to celebrate its 25th Anniversary. After a three year absence due to Covid 19, the indie heavy festival is back with a bang! This year upwards of 25,000 festival goers are attending the ever growing event, with the camp sites filled to the brim with people who can’t wait to be back and experience something we have missed for too long. Thankfully the weather had chilled down from the UK record breaking 40+ degrees a few days earlier.
Those lucky enough to come by a Thursday Early Access Ticket are treated to a cracking start to the weekend, with music from the likes of Brooke Coombe and Vistas, before Black Honey take to the stage and first night headliners Blossoms. The Stockport based band fronted by Tom Ogden in a green suit offer a great way to end proceedings, finishing on "Charlemagne". A show visiting the back catalogue, but a special moment when they covered The Human League’s “Don’t you want me” had the crowd belting the lyrics back.
Friday began with a chance to see a few bands on the smaller stages, including Beach Riot on The Nest before heading to see one of the weekend highlights in Yard Act (the first of two acts this weekend to go on and receive a Mercury Nomination just after the festival) on The Market. Heading back to the main stage after a spot of lunch (a Truck favourite - “Return of the Mac”) we get to experience Spector who comment on it being one of the biggest crowds they’ve ever played to, before something quite strange where they stopped during “Chevy Thunder” for someone to perform some ‘Fingerboarding’ on the big screen. Odd, but the crowd went for it. Next up on the main stage were Sea Girls, who attracted lots of girls to scream at the top of their lungs when Henry Camamile and band took the stage.
Following this one of my highlights took to the stage, Norwegian singer songwriter and all round pop superstar Sigrid. In a hit filled set the crowd never waivered with the singalongs, especially when it started to rain during “Bad Life”, before ending with “Strangers” and “Mirror”. An amazing talent who will no doubt have a career which will go a long way.
A quick dash across site to catch Sundara Karma on The Market enabled me to witness crowd pleaser “She Said” before heading back to the Friday night headliner, the first for the crowd who arrived with general weekend tickets earlier on to see Bombay Bicycle Club. The guitar heavy outfit put on a great show, revisiting classics from previous albums before finishing on the lively “Always Like This”. A great show, showing exactly what BBC can do.
Saturday arrived, and so did a Truck mainstay - Oxford Symphony Orchestra on the main stage. They never fail to attract all the festival goers out of their tents for an early circle pit, it really is a sight to behold. Later on Saturday we caught Baby Queen on the main stage who had a great sound. This was followed by an energetic Sports Team fronted by Alex Rice sporting a cracking outfit. Alex even went for a climb up the side of the stage, much to security's annoyance. After this a bit of stage hopping ensued - with a march over to see The Murder Capital deliver a great show with James McGovern’s stage presence not disappointing. A quick run back to the main stage to see Kelis of “Milkshake” fame showcasing a career spanning decades with an upbeat DJ based set. Next up a run back to see The Big Moon play The Market stage before leaving a little early to see The Kooks, a band who I have not seen for a long time. They interspersed their set with tracks from the new album before revisiting classics from “Inside In/Inside Out” with Luke Luke Pritchard stopping at one point to put the crowd at ease that “Yes, they will be playing Naive” this evening. The sun was setting, and it was time for man of the moment, Geordie legend Sam Fender.
Fender is at the top of his game right now, and the second of two acts this weekend to come away a few days later with a Mercury Nomination. The set started with personal favourite “Will We Talk” before the most bizarre event of the evening. Rumours were going round about a special guest coming out to join Sam on stage, but we didn’t see this one coming. Earlier in the day, Shaun Williamson aka Barry from Eastenders was on site as usual performing his Barrioke show (he performs karaoke songs on stage with audience members), and he then joined Fender on stage, even bringing Sam a mask on stage to wear of himself. They proceed to collaborate with “Getting Started” with Shaun providing backing vocals on the chorus. Odd, but the crowd lapped it up. Shaun left, and the show continued with “Dead Boys” and a few others before Sam stopped the show for quite a while to allow people in the crowd to get help from security. Sam went on to say the show would be slightly less lively to save any other incidents happening. The show picked up pace towards the end with Sam asking is anyone 17 before firing out “Seventeen Going Under” and then ending with the song that got him into all this trouble, “Hypersonic Missiles”. A great show.
Usually that would be the end of the bands for the day, but a rumour had been circulating about who the special guests would be on the Virgins & Veterans Stage later that evening. I hot-footed my way over, as I had put 2+2 together and worked out that “Roy Watson & The Battery Humans” was the homecoming of Stornoway (it has also been confirmed by the official Twitter account as well so I can’t take all the credit). The Oxford band were back together for this special show, who gave the packed out tent a great show.
A late night then turned into a late-late night with a visit to see Wilkinson put on an amazing DJ show in The Market Stage.
Sunday begins in similar fashion to Saturday, with Truck Festival stalwart “Mr Motivator”. If that man cannot shake off your hangover and get you full of energy for the final day, no one can. Early music today consists of future favourites Enola Gay and Alfie Templeman.
After a spot of lunch, Sunday continued at fast pace, catching The Magic Gang on the main stage, followed by Jade Bird. Then a run between stages again with Orla Gartland on The Market, Inhaler on the main stage before Eurovision favourite Sam Ryder back in The Market. Ryder was full of energy running, jumping and just in a happy place, with an amazing vocal talent. A trip back to the main stage we were treated to the Easy Life, with the Indie/HipHop band warming the crowd up for the main event of the day. Possibly the weekend.
Kasabian were up. And boy did they deliver. Being lucky enough to be in the photo pit for Leicester’s finest was certainly something I will cherish for a long time. With the adjusted line up, it seemed Serge has a point to prove. Out he came, full of energy, running around the stage making sure he was seen. Point proved. Even though it was the final band of a four day weekend, the crowd had gone for it. Any band that can start a set with the trio of “Club Foot”, “Ill Ray” and “Underdog” are always going to put on a good show. With less than 90 minutes to play with, the band didn’t hang about, pausing briefly to praise the crowd for their energy. They had a crowd to please, and they knew how to do it. Rattling through the classics the crowd were still in fine voice - and also colourful with flares going off. A fireworks display during final song “Fire” was an amazing way to finish the weekend. Another fine choice of headliner.
Truck, don’t change.
Photo Credit: Russ Fujak