It’s that time of year again and festival season is well and truly underway. Isle of Wight was a wash-out. So was Parklife. And with July looking wetter than a duck in a shower, there are no signs that any of the upcoming musical extravaganzas we Brits are treated to each summer will be any better. Regardless of the weather though, we persevere and enjoy the one thing that the rain can’t wash away, great music. Festival season is a time of discovery for me each year and I make a habit of steering clear of the main stages and heading out instead to catch some new bands and widen my horizons with some obvious exceptions (Brian Wilson & The Cure @ Bestival 2011 // Stevie Wonder @ Glastonbury 2010 // Bloc Party & Radiohead @ Reading 2009).
First up on my festival calendar this year? Truck 2012!
Not heard of it? I’m not surprised. Truck is a tiny festival based on a farm in the small town of Steventon near Oxford. Now in its fifteenth year this beautifully compact two day event was the staple of my teenage years being a grand total of 7 miles from my front door. Each and every year between the ages of 14 and 18, I was treated to an aural assault of new music with bands that have gone on to bigger and better things. Oxford underground-math hipsters This Town Needs Guns in a marquee, the blistering The Joy Formidable in a cowshed, soon-to-be folk-punk hero to the masses Frank Turner in a tent smaller than my front room (which is by all accounts not particularly large), then the most memorable of sets from Scottish rockers The Xcerts, Sheffield noize-rock pioneers Rolo Tomassi. And all of the above before they were getting write-ups in the Guardian and NME, before they were being played on the BBC (with the exception of Tom’s BBC Introducing Show of course). The city of Oxford has a reputation for supporting musical innovation and experimentation and with the founders of Truck Festival intimately involved in the development of the local music scene it seems that the festival itself has developed this admirable attribute.
There had been much speculation that the festival was to be cancelled after it struggled last year with a more ambitious line-up and a new three day format unfortunately coinciding with a downturn in festival attendance linked to the UK’s difficult economic climate. But with the organisers of YNOT Festival stepping up to the mark to help salvage the fortunes of Truck, the festival soldiers on into another year and another fantastic line-up.
Don’t get the wrong impression. Truck’s ability to pick the best emerging acts for their smaller stages doesn’t detract from the prowess of their main stage line-up, this year proudly hosting the likes of The Temper Trap, Mystery Jets, Villagers, Get Cape.Wear Cape.Fly and Tim Minchin. Plenty of household names there to attract anyone without an unhealthy obsession for new music. But it’s the smaller stages that have got me really excited, once again boasting a who’s who list of unsung talent. Friday brings the much hyped Theme Park, the fantastic Future of the Left and FOTN’s favourite Oxford band Spring Offensive to the Second and Barn Stages amongst a list of other acts that would make NME’s new music editor weep for joy. Whilst on Saturday, Tellison, Tall Ships and Three Trapped Tigers combine to create a line-up on the Barn Stage that’ll twist your tongue and tingle your earholes. Add to that the likes of Lucy Rose, King Charles, Frightened Rabbit, Emmy the Great, Dog is Dead and a few of Oxofrd’s finest in the shape of This Town Needs Guns and Gunning For Tamar (video below) and I am sure to leave the Truck site on Saturday night horse from shouting and exhausted from running from stage to stage. Reports on Truck discoveries in 2012 will follow as soon as I have fully recovered.
Truck 15 is next Friday & Saturday 20th & 21st July at Hill Farm, Steventon. Tickets are still available here.