With the modern day festival becoming ever more commercialised with each summer that passes, it is rare to find a festival that sticks to its original values whilst still maintaining a quality line-up. It is even rarer that this festival doesn’t set you back a month’s wages for the privilege. This is where Truck stands out from the crowd.
Returning for a nineteenth year this July, Truck is one of the UK’s leading small festivals and has built up quite the reputation over the years. Based at Hill Farm, Abingdon in Oxfordshire, the festival can only hold around 5,000 people, making it a brilliant place to get up close and personal to some great bands. We had a hell of a time hanging out at Truck last year.
Whilst being largely based around the indie rock genre, Truck offers a little something for everyone. The Barn stage plays host to a number of metal and punk bands, whilst those after their EDM fix can head over to the Market Stage after eleven for live sets from the likes of Wilkinson and Preditah. Meanwhile, the Truck stage has been graced by some pretty special bands in recent years, and 2016 is no different with Catfish & the Bottlemen, Manic Street Preachers and Kodaline set to headline this year’s incarnation.
But it’s not all about the music and, as always, in 2016 Truck offers a great variety of stalls and tents aside from the music to keep you entertained. All run by local residents, they play a massive part in giving the festival a great community atmosphere and this year will be no different to any other. And, for those charitable souls out there, Truck is no doubt the festival for you, with all profits gained being put straight back into charities.
The festival has been a key player in uncovering top new talents from around the UK and the 2016 line up is once again full of a host of great new bands and artists all on the fringe of doing great things. Last year’s stand out set came from Slaves, who packed out the Barn, but whose turn is it this year to wow the crowds? Here’s five acts, some new, some a bit more established, that we think could smash it this year:
Ones to Watch
WHO: Catfish and the Bottlemen
WHY:The Welsh rockers have been working the festival circuit tirelessly over the last few years, playing some great sets at some of the biggest festivals around. Now, with a new album due out at the end of May, they turn their attentions to Truck’s headline slot with a whole host of new tracks to treat fans to, whilst crowd pleasers like Cocoon and Kathleen are sure to light up the opening night at Hill Farm.
WHEN: Friday, Truck Stage, 22:00-23:00.
DON'T MISS: New track Soundcheck has been all over UK radio over the last few months and the Truck crowd will be one of the first to hear it live on the festival scene this summer.
WHO: Sundara Karma
WHY: With their debut album set for release this year and a set on Reading’s Main Stage already confirmed later this summer, Truck could be one of the last times fans get to see Sundara Karma on a fairly intimate level. Having released a bunch of great EPs over the last couple of years, the four-piece from Reading already have a great back catalogue to grace their live sets with and sound just as great live as they do in the studio. We saw these guys play in Moles in February and it was flawless.
WHEN: Saturday, Truck Stage, 18:15-18:45.
DON'T MISS: Stand-out single Flame is impossible to not jump along too, but also keep an ear out for some new tracks with an album expected sometime this summer/autumn.
WHO: Circa Waves
WHY: One of the finest guitar bands to come out of Liverpool in a while, Circa Waves released one of 2015’s top indie albums in the form of Young Chasers last year whilst establishing themselves as a leading light in the UK’s festival scene. Playing sets to huge crowds at Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds and T in the Park among others, they’re another great addition to the Truck line up and from part of an exciting looking Saturday line up, joining the Manic Street Preachers, Rat Boy, Spring King, Pretty Vicious and the aforementioned Sundara Karma on what should be a great day of music. Expect a feel good set, full of great tracks and, hopefully, one or two surprises in the form of some brand new music.
WHEN: Saturday, Truck Stage, 20:30-21:15
DON'T MISS:: Summer anthem T-Shirt Weather.
WHY: Championed by Radio 1 and, more importantly, by your very own URB, Vant only formed two years ago yet have already made quite the impression on the UK indie rock scene. Having played a number of notable festivals last summer, as well as supporting Royal Blood earlier in 2015, this year should see them make a real breakthrough, with the band already confirmed to play at Bestival and T in the Park, among other big events. Their live sets are intense, sweaty and hold nothing back, so do not miss out on this one.
WHEN: Sunday, the Nest, 18:00-18:30
DON'T MISS: Named ‘Hottest Track in the World’ last year by Annie Mac, Parking Lot is sure to trigger mayhem at the Nest when it comes on.
WHY: Named on the BBC’s Sound of 2016 poll, big things are expected of Blossoms. Set to become one of the defining acts of this festival season, they’ll be starting their summer off with a bang when they support Kasabian at Leicester’s King Power stadium at the end of May. They’re another act who’ll be gracing much bigger stages in future so this could be a great chance to see them on a more intimate level before it’s too late.
WHEN: Sunday, Main Stage, 17:30-18:00
DON'T MISS: Charlemagne’s had regular airplay on Radio 1, Radio 6 and Radio X, as well as being on URB’s Daytime Playlist, so expect it all to kick off when this comes on.
And if that doesn’t take your fancy, then how about these guys?
• 2014 Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers will headline Saturday’s Market Stage.
• Sandwiched between Sundara Karma and Circa Waves, Rat Boy has been causing stage invasions all over the country this last year. Expect nothing different when he plays the Truck Stage.
• Grime lovers will be delighted to hear that Big Narstie will also be playing the festival’s Market Stage on Saturday, shortly after Young Fathers’ headline set.
• And, whilst Saturday is clearly the stand out day, indie rockers Everything Everything will be tearing up the Truck Stage just before Kodaline’s headline set, making sure things finish on a high.