To the delight of indie fans everywhere, Oxfordshire’s most finely anticipated festival, Truck Festival, returned to Hill Farm this past weekend. Set to be one of the most fun weekends of the year with a lineup sporting silent discos, acclaimed headliners, paint fights and even an appearance from Mr Motivator, the seven-staged site did not disappoint.
Whilst the weather left something to be desired, the incessant rain didn’t hinder festival-goers from making the most of their weekend. Some took shelter in The Rockin’ Chair, a barn dedicated to providing a range of comedy and entertainment, with cinema screenings of films like Shrek and School of Rock, bingo events, and even a showing of the Women’s World Cup. Others took the approach of embracing the mud, with crowds moshing to just about anything the Truck Stage had to offer, and hurling themselves in the mud in lieu of a slip-n-slide. The arena quickly found itself turning swampy, but guidance from the festival on how to best prepare for the weather was displayed on screens across the site. Saturday headliners alt-J even thanked the audience for their tolerance to the weather, and joked about the unsuitable footwear choices they had spotted onsite throughout the day.
The central focus of the weekend, for me at least, was the shared love for music that unified the crowds. Singing along to nostalgic indie bands such as The Vaccines, The Wombats and Two Door Cinema Club with friends and strangers alike felt joyous in all weather conditions, and reminded me of when I first started attending festivals. The social side of Truck Festival was aided and encouraged by the organisers, with options for the more spacious Zodiac Camping upgrade allowing larger groups to camp together without fighting for a spot. The camp was equipped with flushing toilets and warm showers, perfect for humanising the typical festival experience and allowing users to freshen up with ease. Although the camp was more spacious, gazebos were still prohibited, meaning that groups with a larger space were forced to disperse when the worst of the weather came – something to consider for groups attending next year!
Another highlight of the weekend was seizing the chance to catch some of the smaller, and perhaps more elusive acts that have been on my list for a while. Kate Nash had the crowd at her fingertips on Friday, and the fields lit up at the mere opening chords of her hit Foundations. The following day, Deadletter graced the Market Stage with a fierce energy that practically garnered its own magnetic pull from outside the tent. Wunderhorse, Low Island, and Gengahr were amongst some of these great moments. Returning acts proved to have retained their status, too, as Everything Everything played to an overspilling crowd with a high-energy and dance-inducing groove, and Oxford Symphony Orchestra returning to their beloved slot with instrumental covers of the likes of ABBA and Bee Gees. The orchestra were also joined by Clean Bandit as a surprise guest, injecting a fresh ray of sunshine into the otherwise drenched atmosphere.
Truck Festival is set to return to Hill Farm in 2024, with early bird tickets going on sale Friday 28th July. More information on this can be found on their website.