After a painful double-cancellation during the pandemic years, 2022 marked a triumphant, sold-out return for Truck Festival. The sun shone the weekend through, football shirts reigned supreme (personal favourites being SOFY’s vintage Leicester away strip and an anonymous festival-goer’s Watford away shirt with ‘ACID, 7’ on the back), and of course, a cross-section of the nation’s favourite indie acts shared stages with some exciting up-and-comers and a few unexpected additions to the bill.
One of the first things that became apparent upon arrival, as raised by a number of performers, was Truck’s reputation as the home of the improbable mosh pit. The festival is defined by that particular brand of indie rock that lends itself to such a response – and it occurred to me as people hopped about to Loose Articles and then Oscar Lang, Siggy Brew cans flinging across the air – that this is really the perfect music for the British festival, itself defined by the beautiful dirtiness and community epitomised by the mosh. I was witness to some genuinely baffling pits over the course of the weekend; the award for the most inappropriate going to the Oxford Symphony Orchestra during their rendition of the Back To The Future suite.
Though the headline slots were dominated by male performers, it was mainly female-driven sets that provided my highlights for the weekend. Deep Tan played perhaps the best set I have seen from them – their usual no-chords-and-the-truth sound possessing a greater urgency and vivacity, sharpened by a year’s hard gigging and the sound at the So Young curated Market Stage. On the main stage, Kelis lived up to her legendary status, with a set front-loaded with the classic ‘Milkshake’ that progressed through an unpredictable 40-minute party that also included versions of ‘Bounce’ and ‘I Feel Love’, as well as a crowd singalong of ‘Happy Birthday’ for her son, who she brought on stage before the last song.
Elsewhere, Lime Garden got the crowd moving from Saturday morning; lead singer Chloe Howard noting it had to be ‘the earliest I’ve ever played’. ‘Clockwork’ in particular smacked into a palpably strutting groove that would have been impossible to resist at any hour. On the same stage, Just Mustard groaned with apocalyptic intensity, the paired guitars bending a cavernous twisting pulse that blasted away at us.
The pick of the headliners had to be Bombay Bicycle Club, who offer – alongside stomping, mosh-worthy riffs – a wonderful expansion on the format of indie four-piece complete with horn section and the vocal contributions of Saint Clair. Though their appeal was rooted in the indulgence of the tastes of my fourteen year old self, it was genuinely nice to see them playing live again. The sudden creation of a crowd of giants as Jack Steadman invited the audience to get on each others’ shoulders during ‘Carry Me’ was particularly atmospheric, if slightly offset by the slapstick failure of two people stood in front of me to achieve this pose.
After hours at Truck also saw a good time being had. Running until 2am with a choice of a silent disco and not one, but two, ‘indie bangers’ parties each night at different stages up against more traditionally dancey DJs in the Market Stage tent. Many of the weekend’s memorable moments came at this hour, the pick being the simultaneity of the sight of an individual staggering around in his own world (or at least not of this one), Newcastle shirt aloft, presumably babbling his love for Sam Fender, while we were regaled by a pair of young women explaining how they had spent their weekend ‘reverse catcalling’ men from their pathside tent. Saturday night at one of the indie rock dance tents was good fun, though I troublingly cannot recall any women artists included on the playlist, and found myself, in a brief wave of sobriety, wondering exactly which wave of feminism ‘Fit But You Know It’ spoke to.
If you are looking for a beery indie rock party, Truck is surely the festival for you. Less sprawling and destructive than Reading – and with an easily navigable site – you can catch some old favourites among a selection of the next batch of guitar hit-makers before partying into the not-excessively-small hours. And if that were not enough, there is even the prospect of moshing to a 30-piece orchestra…
If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, make sure you nab tickets for next year’s 2023 festival! Super Early Bird tickets will be available from this Friday, 29th July, at 12pm.
Photo Credit: Caitlin Mogridge