©KaneHowie
©KaneHowie
Catfish & the Bottlemen
Catfish & the Bottlemen

July saw Truck Festival joined by more music-lovers than ever before and over 200 performers and DJs who basked in glorious sun rays amid the Oxfordshire countryside.

Recent years have seen a boom in the number of big festivals as well as an increase in the commercialisation of smaller festivals. Truck has always been proud to be an independent festival with a niche list of performers and a very intimate vibe.

While Truck stayed true to it’s roots as a smaller and less commercial festival, it has still been growing ever since it was established in 1997. This year saw a major expansion of Truck with increased tickets, an additional arena, a new entrance, and an extra day.

Truck prides itself on providing a platform for local and underground artists to showcase their talents alongside big, well-known artists such as 2016 Brit Award winners, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Manic Street Preachers, and Kodaline. Truck’s local connections run deeper than just the line-up however, with the local Rotary Club handling a large proportion of the food catering (although their importance is shrinking as more food stalls are being sourced to feed the growing audiences).

While the three-day event was a bargain (working out less than £30 per day), returning festival-goers may have been shocked at the increased charges once they were there. Truck Festival has always boasted a large “children’s tent” for the under 12’s, full of creative arts and crafts and some poets etc to entertain them. This year the children area had expanded but with everything charged at a minimum of £3, it was difficult to last out the morning without going bankrupt. There was plenty on offer – climbing frames, dream catcher workshops, jewellery workshops, rubber archery, etc. but everything was charged which was not mentioned prior to arrival and was unexpected for anyone who had attended previously. Prices for food had also increased dramatically at the Rotary Club stalls, with a bacon sandwich costing £4, and only a choice of 3 stalls for breakfast.

But this didn’t effect the overall vibe of the weekend which was completely laid back and inclusive, once again. It was in no way about wearing the right clothes or being seen, but rather about kicking back and enjoying the unique atmosphere while soaking up the festival sun. There was no fancy VIP area like you’ll find at other big festivals; backstage was purely functional. Instead, everyone mingles in the main arena – the artists roam the site, picking up beers at the bar just like everyone else. Truck is clearly about the music and people enjoying themselves, something that feels lacking at the bigger festivals which seem to be just money-spinning corporate beasts.

Organisation had also failed slightly this year when it came to the much-loved paint fight. I have been to the paint fight every year I’ve attended Truck – it is one of my personal highlights of the weekend. But this year I was one of many who missed out because it was advertised in the wrong arena. There were crowds of teens clad in all white waiting at 4 o’clock on Saturday in Arena 2, but when 4 o’clock came and went, cheers were heard coming from Arena 3, and paint covered bodies began walking passed. And that was that – we had missed what, for many of us, was something we’d been very much looking forward to.

With the fabulous line-up, a new site layout and even a new bridge across the stream, alongside the perfect festival weather, this was the festival you’ll be gutted to have missed.

Words: Renee Betts

Photos: Kane Howie

Yonaka ©Kane Howie
Yonaka ©Kane Howie
Everything Everything ©KaneHowie
Everything Everything ©KaneHowie