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Truck Festival - RL

Truck Festival 2023

Oxford’s finest festival returned last weekend for its 26th edition at Hill Farm to a sold-out crowd of 25,000 revellers! The line-up is always a fine blend of indie, rock and alternative spheres which showcases the best in new and emerging music along with established touring bands.

Arriving back in the fields of Truck felt like I had never been away, all the familiar sites were there including some of the faces that I hadn’t seen for the best part of a year! Once we had pitched the tent in a lovely little spot, we headed over to the press tent to start the ball rolling for the afternoon/evening line up. Joely opened the Truck stage with her alt folk that meets indie pop – Dead Pony then brought their version of alt punk rock in complete contrast to the former and blew the cobwebs off of Thursday! I had been looking forward to seeing The Bug Club for a while and they didn’t disappoint with their quirky catchy numbers which are full of energy. Indie darlings Swim Deep were up afterwards with their dreamy vibes which were perfect for the moment with the sun beginning to set and illuminating the stage with its haze. The Wombats delivered a set that was just full of pure bangers and the longevity that this band had shown since I first saw them some 15 years ago and the way they have reinvented themselves is something to be applauded.

The Wombats
The Wombats – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt (above and main)

Friday saw the arena open in its full glory with The Market Stage, The Nest, This Feeling and The Rockin’ Chair coming into play. This meant it would be a full day of planning my movements and getting my steps in. The festival has a food marquee which sees all the profit of the sales going to charity which in these days of corporate sponsorship is a delight to see at a festival and makes it a go to place to support – crumpets and coffee every morning from there provided a good start to the day! Spangled were first up for us on The Market Stage followed by the Pompey lads Crystal Tides, who had won The Road to Victorious competition which saw them play here at Truck, Tramlines in Sheffield then onto Kendal Calling this weekend before finishing up at Victorious Festival at the end of August – very well deserved for a band that work their socks off! Another off the Fitz Promotions conveyor belt were up next out on the Truck Stage with The Covasettes with their signature indie sound which has seen them achieve many milestones in such a short space of time these last few years – the tune ‘Be Mine’ is mega!

Crystal Tides
Crystal Tides – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt

One of the sets of the weekend for me was Lambrini Girls in The Nest – the festival had issued a no mosh pit rule to the band and that was ignored within the opening of the first song with lead singer Phoebe and bassist Lilly jumping the barrier into the crowd – this is where the chaos descended! Hoisted up on shoulders by members of the crowd and asking them to hold the mic whilst belting out their tunes! Phoebe then gave centre stage to those who identify as queer in the audience before moshing some more with the crowd and then surfing over the top herself! It was just pure chaos but I loved every minute of it!

Lambrini Girls
Lambrini Girls – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt

Heavy Lungs were another of the bands I wanted to see at The Nest over the weekend and they certainly delivered with their lead singer Danny Nedelko (yes, Idles did name their lead single from their second album after him!) bouncing around the stage! One of Friday’s surprises for me came in the form of Kate Nash – Kate started her set by being on the barrier with the crowd and then making her way in to sing with them all – completely unexpected as she was miked wirelessly with everyone assuming she would appear on stage! Foundations closed the set and it was amusing all these years later to hear the crowd shout and sing ‘Cause I am so bitter’. The evening saw another superb set from Wunderhorse over on The Market Stage before a career spanning festival ready set from The Vaccines over on the Truck Stage. Two Door Cinema Club brought the good vibes and their catchy numbers to close out the day!

Kate Nash
Kate Nash – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt
Two Door Cinema Club
Two Door Cinema Club – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt (above and main)

Deadletter tunes have been on heavy rotation for me this last year so I took the chance to check in with their set in the early afternoon over on The Market Stage and as per usual they delivered! It was great to hear new tunes get an outing into the live environment and keeping with the festival tradition (it would seem) lead singer Zac made a foray into the middle of the crowd finishing with some surfing.  

I was fortunate this year to be at Glastonbury Festival and managed (by pure chance) to catch one of Panic Shack’s three sets of the weekend up at Strummerville – I’m a big fan of their tunes and seeing them live at Glasto left me wanting more so I had to make sure I was there for the duration of their set in The Nest. The Welsh quartet delivered with their witty lyrics, and killer hooks with aplomb!

Panic Shack
Panic Shack – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt

DMAs set in the pouring rain epitomised what it’s like to attend a festival in the summer in the UK – the sheer love for music outweighing the fact that you are being soaked the bone by the weather. There’s nothing that a poncho can’t sort for the love of your favourite band. The Aussies lads were immensely appreciative of the crowd throughout their set stating that they wouldn’t be stood their if it wasn’t for the support of the UK fan base propelling them in the charts and selling out many venues every time they tour here.

DMAs – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt

A huge crowd had gathered for The Last Dinner Party and rightly so – the hype that band have received and continue to receive is duly deserved and if you haven’t already then make sure to go and check them out! Sunday was all about the new and emerging bands and I was back to back all the way through to the evening. I managed to catch Chappaqua Wrestling, Prima Queen, the Irish contingent Sprints and Stone whilst sneaking in some of the more established acts including Pale Waves and The Lathums. It was the first time out for me catching The Lathums and I don’t know why it had taken me so long to see the indie band from Wigan! I really enjoyed their set and lead singer Alex’s vocals were second to none!

Pale Waves - RL
Pale Waves – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt
Self Esteem
Self Esteem – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt

Self Esteem brought her ‘Prioritise Pleasure’ show to the Truck Stage to the backdrop of the fitting warm glow of the sun before Royal Blood hit the stage to close out the festival! I’m a fan of the Brighton duo and found myself intrigued by how they would fair with the crowd after their recent incident on stage at the Big Weekend. One thing that I was sure of is how loud Ben and Mike can be and this was still the case when they opened with ‘Out of The Black’ – I had earplugs on and these didn’t make a blind bit of difference – I’m sure I was partially deaf for the next two days! The crowd lapped up the 15 song set, belting out the words and interacting adoringly when Ben went for his customary meanders on to the front barrier.  

Royal Blood - RL
Royal Blood – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt

Truck Festival – you absolutely delivered again and continue to set the bar for the go to indie festival of the summer! Long may the special vibes of this festival continue – it’s just the right size in capacity, everyone I met was just there to enjoy themselves, the crowds were some of the energetic I’ve experienced of late and full of the high energy!

Truck Festival tickets have gone on sale already for next year with the Super Early Bird and Early Bird tickets selling out in 15 mins yesterday! Tier One tickets are now on sale via the following link.

Royal Blood - RL
Royal Blood – Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt
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