Someone forgot to tell the weather that it was Truck Festival’s 20th anniversary. However, spirits couldn’t be dampened with one of the biggest and best line-ups in its history, taking everybody’s mind off the marshland they were stood in. Truck has used its local connections for more than the acts, with the local rotary club running the majority of the catering for a number of different charities.
Truck Festival has an array of music talent for the variety in taste, from reggae aerobics to the well-anticipated indie anthems. Punk duo Slaves provided a perfect energy release for the hyped crowd on the first night, turning the grassland into a boggy slip and slide which nobody worried about when five mosh pits opened up at once for each song. Things definitely got slightly crazy during the popular hit, ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’, but fans were disappointed when Isaac had hyped everyone up for ‘Feed The Mantaray’ yet Laurie couldn’t hit the right notes due to a tuning problem and skipped the song.
First headliners of the weekend were Glaswegian band Franz Ferdinand, who attracted fans of all ages. Eagerly anticipated songs such as ‘Take Me Out’, ‘This Fire’ and ‘Do You Want To’ reverberated around the fields with the audience echoing the lyrics back. You could tell they are a band with 15 years experience as they effortlessly entertained the festival-goers.
For dance lovers, Elijah & Skilliam provided an alternative in the Market Stage until 2am, whilst the Nest Stage played host to a silent disco pumping out a good mix of indie and cheesey pop; just what everyone needs to end the first day. It was unfortunately not too busy, perhaps due to the fact that you had to pay £15 to enter of which you receive £10 back when you hand in your headphones. At the end of a day with not much money in your pocket, this it may have been a little over the top. However the people who did pay the price seemed to be having the time of their lives as there’s still no better sight than taking off your headphones to the empty chants of 100s of people all singing along to their favourites.
Saturday began with Uxbridge four-piece Bloxx playing the Market Stage. They have recently featured on Radio 1 as a BBC Music Introducing act, playing their new song ‘You’, which has incredible strong female vocals by front woman Ophelia Booth. This upcoming band have been compared to the likes of Wolf Alice, but that seems solely for the comparison to a female lead vocalist as Fee’s voice is a much softer tone in a sense. Bloxx put on a fantastic gig for anyone who is a fan of alternative rock/indie music and Southampton locals can see them play The 1865 on 29th September when they support Sundara Karma.
The tight orange-decorated spandex of the great Mr Motivator was on show at midday for Truck Festival to see. He entertained people of all ages – some opting for fancy dress, others repping the standard festival rain macs. Whether hungover or hangover-free he lifted the crowds dampened spirits with his workout session, getting everyone involved and clearly enjoying themselves.
By the time Sundara Karma played the Truck Stage the arena was a swampy mess but that didn’t stop them attracting an excited crowd to hear indie anthems from their highly-rated debut album ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’. The four-piece provided energetic melodies throughout their short half-hour set, but the crowd definitely appreciated the bands performance and were certainly not disappointed.
The Wombats are a band who are familiar to anyone who enjoys the indie genre and undeniably have released some bangers in their time. Their setlist provided the crowd with eagerly anticipated sing-a-longs such as ‘Moving to New York’, ‘Techno Fan’ and ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’, and the positivity amongst revellers appeared quite clear as everyone was echoing the lyrics back to the band.
After a fantastic performance from The Wombats the crowd were raring to go, so to close the Main Stage on Saturday night, Truck Festival welcomed The Libertines. Peter, Carl, Gary and John walked on stage to ‘Power To The People’ but immediately getting fans jumping around for ‘Time for Heroes’ and then into the classic opener ‘The Delaney’.
After releasing ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’ in 2015 the band played six songs off the album including ‘Heart of the Matter’, ‘Gunga Din’ and slowed everything down with the gentle and emotive ‘You’re My Waterloo’, which saw everyone moving side-to-side with their arm over their mates shoulder embracing the lyrics. Towards the end, Libs played the 2004 indie anthems ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ and ‘What Katie Did’ before retiring to the repeated bellows of ‘one more song’.
The lads came back out to play an unusual choice of ‘7 Deadly Sins’ but went straight back to old-school Libs with ‘Music When the Lights Go Out’, ‘Up The Bracket’ and ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’. The set was not without the infamous Doherty and Barat mic sharing or the random guitar playing between songs but without that it wouldn’t be a true Libertines gig.
Sunday kicked off with “reggaerobics” in the Market Stage to help everyone try and recover from the brutality of the Libertines the night before. Shortly after, London trio Husky Loops made their way through a taut and jagged half an hour set in The Nest. The hotly tipped band went on to play their popular four-minute wonder, ‘Fighting Myself’, a song about everyday struggle and hindrance, performed with an outburst of anxiety and energy, which was sonically represented by the impressive instrumental outro.
Young Manchester band Cabbage graced the main stage, serving up an idiosyncratic, satirical attack in the form of discordant neo post-punk. The five-piece first found stardom earlier this year with their fantastic EP compilation, “Young Dumb and Full Of…”. ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ and ‘Terrorist Synthesiser’ were welcomed by the excited crowed with open arms, causing everyone to forget any risk of moshing in two feet deep of sloppy mud; you simply couldn’t help yourself, the band’s energy and charisma really got people going.
Soaring Scottish alternative rock band Twin Atlantic opened their setlist at the Market Stage with ‘Whispers’ which provided a heavy guitar intro and a strong chorus giving the crowd a reason to stay instead of going to see Maximo Park on the Truck stage, as the two clashed. They entertained with a mix of old and new songs such as ‘Make A Beast of Myself’, ‘No Sleep’ and ‘Heart and Soul’ and listening to lead singer Sam McTrusty’s undoubtedly distinctive accent they have definitely maintained their alternative rock attitude but have significantly improved from their ‘Great Divide’ album release in terms of charisma and creating a better set of heavier stand-out songs.
To end proceedings at Truck Festival 2017, The Vaccines took to the main stage for a very excited crowed, having not done too much in the UK over recent years, but it was worth the wait! Starting things with their brand-new single ‘Let Me Take You Surfing in the Sky’, a fast-paced melodic tune so common in the band’s history, before smashing straight into fan favourite ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’. Hit anthems such as ‘Wetsuit’ and ‘Teenage Icon’ were echoed back to the Londoners from the crowed, with ‘20/20’ causing everyone to erupt and jump around like nutters. ‘Norgaard’ provided the perfect end to a brilliant set with the fast-paced, energetic hit giving everyone one last big blowout of the weekend. There were sing-a-longs, people on shoulders and all round biblical scenes. A fantastic end to what was a showcase of fantastic music all weekend.
Despite the relatively positive experience, there has still been an influx of criticism from avid festival-goers regarding this years event, from underage drinking complaints, theft and uncaring security, to ridiculous queues and the general disorganisation of the day. The regulars were a bit taken aback by the influx of large hardcore festival frolickers this year as opposed to the usual family orientated crowds that attend to see bands play at the countries ‘largest small festival’.
With separate camps for families, the lack of security for such areas seemed to be an issue at this years Truck Fest, a long with the actual treatment of them; this year the festival seemed to be geared towards the usual young adult crowd, whereas the previous years have seen Truck accommodate towards a much more well rounded audience. Perhaps this was the intention, or perhaps it was just chance and inadequate organisation that painted such a careless image.
To add to the already shaky aura of insecurity about the festival, there was a distinct lack of ticket checking, no notice of emergency exits or fire lanes and numerous reports of theft across the campsites, with teens reported scared to leave their tents. Several band cancellations even presented themselves – apparently due to the poor weather conditions which admittedly can’t be helped – but upon asking about the main stage cancellations, a teenager was told by festival staff to ‘Shut the fuck up and enjoy yourself.’ Quite the customer service.
Overall, our personal experience was positive, although the mass amount of negative comments received since the festivals warrant a mention, and in turn you can decide yourself whether you want to see these great bands, or avoid the potential stress of an unorganised weekend!