In Review: Truck Festival 2023

 In Review

Over the many years that I’ve been going to Truck Festival, you can never predict the weather. Some years it’s so hot spontaneous water gun fights break out every twenty paces as a very necessary way to combat the baking heat. Other years, and to this I include 2023, are just a bit of a mud fest. Despite sun and fields of green, green grass on Thursday and Friday, the rain and hoards of trampling feet soon turned the fields into a slippy, squelchy lake with just a sprinkling of straw here and there in the futile battle against the sludge.

Truck Festival 2023

However, Truck is small and mighty, the show must go on, and revellers will have a great time, mud or no. Having been to Glastonbury and Treehouse festivals already this summer (both at two ends of the festival spectrum in size) Truck is a whole other experience. It does a really great job of catering for the school leavers, bursting to experience their first festival, and Oxfordshire families, keen to get involved in the summer festival scene, but within a short drive from home and with kid family activities and line up (Nick Cope is a festival must see for all ages!)

Truck Festival paint fight 2023
Sunday paint fight

Truck Festival is also great at keeping it local, despite growing and changing hands over the years. Hill Farm owner Alan Binning has been instrumental in keeping the charity presence at Truck, and during a guest appearance in The Dreaming Spires performance on Sunday, Alan shared his experience of the growing festival over the years, starting in 1998 when Robin and Joe Bennett asked if they could have a party for some of their friends on his land. Little did he know that 200 people would turn up for the inaugural festival, and that he would now see 30,000 people through the gates.

Truck Festival Dreaming Spires
Alan Binning on stage with The Dreaming Spires

The festival launched the Truck Trust in 2014, to support local charities, and make sure the event maintained it’s local impact. The Trust awards grants to charities each year ahead of the festival and has so far donated over £500,000. It’s initiatives like this that mean the festival directly invests in the local economy and makes sure that money spent, helps local communities in Oxfordshire. The Food For Good tent (run by volunteers from the local Farringdon and District Rotary Club with all profits going towards respective stall holders’ charity of choice) is a pillar of the festival, and offers festival goers a brilliant array of choice at really affordable prices, great if you’re on a budget. Everything from pasties at £3.50 to mac n cheese at £5, as well as samosas, cheese on toast and tea and cake from the café. It’s a brilliant initiative and great to see that it was buzzing all weekend.

Truck Festival food tent

There is also still a great focus on local bands and arts organisations at Truck. On the Virgins and Veterans stage, a whole host of Oxford bands new and old played over the weekend, including The August List who played a beautifully dreamy set on Saturday afternoon. Lead singer Kerraleigh Child’s vocals are punky but gorgeous. Over in The Nest on Sunday Low Island played an amazing set, their sound is mesmeric and the band’s frontman Carlos Posada is a master at drawing the crowd in and taking them on a magical musical journey. Truck Festival also created a space for festival goers to find out more about Young Women’s Music Project in Oxford during an interview with charity director Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani, and as always Truck Store ran the merch tent with regular artist signings happening across the weekend.

Truck Festival The August List
The August List on the V&V stage
Truck Festival Low Island
Low Island in The Nest
Truck Festival Merch tent
The Truck Merch tent

Alongside the brilliant local talent, Truck’s line up included much needed summer vibes from Circa Waves, captivating pop from Maisie Peters, a joyful set from Old Dirty Brasstards, who raised the roof off The Barn stage with their back to back covers set, SHY FX played a super tight set bouncing through his hits, Antony Szmierek’s witty and relatable lyrics, We Are Scientists showstopping energy and the inimitable Self Esteem, who’s Prioritse Pleasure set is as brilliantly moving, as it is gorgeously uplifting.

Truck Festival Old Dirty Brasstards
Old Dirty Brasstards in The Barn
Truck Festival Self Esteem
Self Esteem on the main stage

Whatever the weather, Truck Festival brings the noise, the vibes and the uniquely local charm year after year.

Truck Festival
Truck Festival 2023
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