Festivals

Truck Festival 2014

18th - 19th July 2014

There are no 20-minute dashes to mitigate line up clashes or forgotten booze. Everything is done at a stroll.

It may come as a surprise but this year’s Truck is the festival’s 16th outing. Founded in 1998 on the same farm in Oxfordshire it has been held on since, it’s a fine-tuned operation, growing in ingenuity and strength year after year - yet still manages to exude a sense of youth, energy and innocence.

This is partly down to a crowd much more likely to be experiencing the good, bad and ugly of a field pilgrimage for the first time than a bunch of weathered festival veterans. But there's more to the friendly and welcoming buzz around the place than just teems of excitable teens. The site is small and walked from end to end in minutes, taking in a number of stages and tents in the process, so there are no 20-minute dashes to mitigate line up clashes or forgotten booze. Everything is done at a stroll.

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The same sense of calm could not be said of the crowds. Band after band on the main stage on Friday is met with eager whooping and dancing – bearing in mind, many of the early acts are hardly household names. As the vicious sun loses its smart in the early evening, Kids in Glass Houses harness the crowd's eager sense of liberation, kicking out an array of super-charged adolescent ballads, before Peace adopt a cheerier line of Friday night party tunes. At this point, watching the unbridled joy and freedom of the crowd is as much fun as watching the bands.

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The bands sense it, too, and give all in return. This is certainly true of headliners The Cribs who tear through an hour set of punchy anthems. There seems to be less and less crowd surfing at gigs nowadays – not here.

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Later, smash-and-grab DJ Jaguar Skills demolishes a barn full of sweaty, neon-trimmed teenagers, before Julio Bashmore closes the night with music of a little more tempered nature.

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More of the same on Saturday, with impressive and well-received sets from Swim Deep and Stornoway on the main stage. Elsewhere, a brilliant and varied line up in the Barn curated by Big Scary Monsters and Alcopop! labels provides a breathtakingly beautiful acoustic performance from Kevin Devine, frenetic garage rock from Johnny Foreigner, and the most insane and unexpected stage show a field in Oxfordshire has ever hosted – Andrew WK. Words cannot do it justice, but just know the headbanger, dressed all in white, with only a hairy hype man for company, counts down from 100 before smashing through novelty hit Party Hard. The Barn goes off.

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Back on the main stage, White Lies take great pleasure closing the festival with a slick and enjoyable set that sees a crowd jump, sing arms aloft and clap along as if it were going out of fashion.

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The infectious positivity of youth is not all Truck has going for it. It is a friendly and interesting festival, where you can move at your own pace and stumble across a rich and diverse selection of music. And there are as many older attendants enjoying the weekend as there are the young ones. It's just it's the younger contingent that sets the tone.

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