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Truck Festival: strong on indie rockers but is it time for more variety?



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Truck Festival at Hill Farm, Steventon, from Thursday, July 21 to Sunday, July 24. Review by Cameron Blackshaw

Three years have passed since Hill Farm last opened itself up to thousands of bucket hat-wearing music fans, all giddy at the thought of hearing indie rock music all weekend.

With Truck Festival’s 2022 return, you could tell that punters couldn’t wait to unleash three years of pent-up energy throughout the fun and chaotic weekend.

Truck, picture Cameron Blackshaw
Truck, picture Cameron Blackshaw
Truck, Kasabian, picture Gaelle Beri
Truck, Kasabian, picture Gaelle Beri
Bombay Bicycle Club, picture Gaelle Beri
Bombay Bicycle Club, picture Gaelle Beri
Truck Festival Sam Fender, picture Gaelle Beri
Truck Festival Sam Fender, picture Gaelle Beri

The line-up was particularly strong this year, with indie titans Bombay Bicycle Club, man of the moment Sam Fender, and anthemic dance rockers Kasabian all fitting headliners for the alternative-flavoured festival filled with up-and-coming bands and artists.

However, the festival’s indie agenda is a blessing and a curse. Those who love the genre will see Truck as their Mecca, but those who wish for a little more variety will go wanting.

Bombay Bicycle Club’s Friday headline slot was certainly the most chilled of the weekend. Their signature brand of tight, danceable grooves shimmered over the main stage crowd before the mosh pits began to form when the band turned to songs from their more rock-orientated debut album.

Truck Festival Mainstage, Oxford Symphony Orchestra, picture Caitlin Mogridge
Truck Festival Mainstage, Oxford Symphony Orchestra, picture Caitlin Mogridge
TruckFestival Inhaler, picture Gaelle Beri
TruckFestival Inhaler, picture Gaelle Beri
Truck Festival, Easy Life, picture Gaelle Beri
Truck Festival, Easy Life, picture Gaelle Beri
Truck Festival Kasabian, Mainstage, picture Caitlin Mogridge
Truck Festival Kasabian, Mainstage, picture Caitlin Mogridge

Saturday’s music began with the Oxford Symphony Orchestra’s beloved lunchtime set. Suitably hyped festival-goers were treated to orchestral performances of both classical gems and pop greats.

The orchestra’s conductor participated in a lot of friendly banter with the crowd who were loving it, chanting “Schubert” throughout and pirouetting as one during a performance of Dance of the Cygnets from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

The American singer Kelis brought a welcome and invigorating slice of R&B, pop and dance to Saturday afternoon’s proceedings. Performing a mix of her own tunes and recognisable covers, it was hard not to enjoy her infectious energy.

Truck crowd, picture Caitlin Mogridge
Truck crowd, picture Caitlin Mogridge
The Kooks, picture Cameron Blackshaw
The Kooks, picture Cameron Blackshaw
Truck Festival, Bombay Bicycle Club, Mainstage, picture Caitlin Mogridge
Truck Festival, Bombay Bicycle Club, Mainstage, picture Caitlin Mogridge

She was followed by indie poster boys The Kooks who delivered a warm and rousing sing-along sunset performance filled with all the iconic songs from their debut record, Inside In/Inside Out.

Sam Fender’s set was a bit of a disappointment. He had to stop the rowdy Truck crowd on multiple occasions to make sure people weren’t injured or hurt from the constant moshing, which led to songs being cut and the flow of the set disrupted.

His style of crooning over clean guitar chords quickly became repetitive, with most songs lacking a unique quality.

Sunday would be marked by a duo of entirely different bands hailing from Leicester. Easy Life, a fun and groovy five-piece known for their hip-hop flavoured brand of indie pop, got the entire arena moving in the early evening, with frontman Murray Matravers crowd-surfing on multiple occasions.

But it was Kasabian that stole the show, and the entire weekend, with their triumphant headline set.

Following the recent departure of frontman Tom Meighan, guitarist and chief songwriter Serge Pizzorno took on the role and filled former bandmate’s shoes with ease.

Leading the crowd through a set filled with iconic tunes such as Club Foot, Underdog and Fire, Pizzorno confessed that the Truck crowd had been the best the band had experienced all summer.

The whole arena was bouncing, dancing and singing as if their lives depended on it.

Truck Festival’s return was full of what was expected. A whole host of bands, both new and old, vying for the attention of the Oxfordshire festival’s relatively small crowd.

When bands seized their opportunity, the results were amazing, with punters never failing to give back the energy performers were showing off.

Truck is still the prime destination for indie rock lovers and a fantastically fun little festival, but with many believing the guitar-driven genre is going stale, Truck might suffer the same fate if it doesn’t add more variety in future line-ups.

  • Super Early Bird tickets went on sale yesterday (Friday) at 12pm for 2023’s festival.


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