If anybody is looking for a small, family-friendly festival, look no further. Truck has been going for 18 years and is a well-established item in the local Oxfordshire calendar. Located on a farm near Dicot it is easily accessible for anybody in the South. 

It falls on the same weekend as Latitude so quite understandably as far as the bill is concerned Truck cannot boast the riches of the Suffolk-based event, but at £80 for a weekend ticket, value-for-money cannot be faulted (and the kids are free).

This was the first time we had taken small children to a festival (a four and ten-year old) but with plenty of adult company the band-watching was not compromised too much. And there is certainly more than enough to keep the little ones amused in the form of circus classes, painting and fairground attractions.

The festival is held over two days, Friday & Saturday, so a big plus that it only requires a single day off work. A small frustration that the camping doesn’t open until Friday morning, so after queuing to get into the car-park the tent-pitching and setting up was followed by an immediate launch into the bands  which frustratingly meant we missed a couple of bands on our agenda..

I suspect the festival has grown a little over the years. On previous visits the car park was easily accessible and extremely close to the camping.  This year the car park was further away and it took us longer to get in, and an hour to get out on Sunday morning. But these are trifles relative to the joy this small event provides.

The main stage area “Truck Stage” is an open space.  Second venue “Market stage’ is a moderately sized big top. Third stage is a barn – an excellent location to showcase the ‘heavier’ bands on the bill like Pulled Apart By Horses, Slaves, Bo Ningen, Eagulls.There were also three further stages so plenty of choice throughout the weekend.


Spring King (Truck stage) - unusually the leader of this guitar band is the drummer but all four band members contribute to the vocals. Sweeping choruses make their song highly accessible, though they were occasionally a little too close to boy-band territory for my liking. The bass player broke his e-string In the first number and, failing to live up to their name 'Nothing But Thieves' lent them a replacement.

Bloody Knees (Barn) - guitar band; clearly a favourite of the Oxford kids as they got an early afternoon mosh-pit going

Cut Ribbons (Palm City stage) - a 5-strong line up including a female bass player. Lo-fi pop, great preparation for afternoon slumbering.

The Bohicas (Truck stage) - Guitar band who had to overcome a power-out mid-set. The drummer manfully tried to fill the gap with a drum solo.

Neon Waltz  (Market Stage) - Refreshing to see a lead vocalist not encumbered with an instrument. He is supported by two guitars, bass, drums and keys. Hailing from the outer reaches of Scotland, the keys-man interestingly has his keyboard draped in a Spanish flag emblazoned with the name and logo 'XV Brigada Internacional' a multi-national brigade that battled to quell the fascists in the Spanish Civil War.  Well-crafted indie tunes delivered with conviction. Best discovery of the day.

Sunset Sons  (Market Stage) - lead vocalist plays keys with guitar bass and drums in support. Drew a large crowd to the tent. Tattoos, Ponytails and long curly locks gave the look of a band that was going to give in yer face rock so it was a little disappointing that their set comprised fairly unremarkable, gentle indie tunes.

Eagulls (Barn) - great sound for this first-class Leeds band. Within their thirty-minute they gave plenty of airing to their excellent debut album plus new song 'Life In Reverse'. A very lively audience with crowd-surfers young and old.

Clean Bandit (Truck stage) - a superbly polished act. Their dance-funk tunes have mass audience appeal. Some hits thrown in too! 

Darwin Deez (Market Stage) - Truly a one-off.  Darwin and his band provide entertainment of the first order combining quirky pop, dance-routines and audience participation all meandering into prog rock refrains. Got the tent bouncing from the very start of the set that included songs old and new, including 'Time Machine' from forthcoming album 'Double Down' out in August; also the excellent Chelsea’s Hotel from 2nd album ‘Songs For Imaginative People’ . As if the crowd needed to be delighted any more than they already were, the encore was concluded with ‘Radar Detector’. Best set of the weekend.

The Charlatans (Truck stage) - Tim Burgess once again delivers a sublime performance with timeless Charlatans classics peppered with songs from their brilliantly-crafted 2015 album ‘Modern Nature’


Safe To Swim  (Market Stage) - Guitars with very imaginative keyboard refrains. Summery tunes morphing into excellent grungy guitar outros reminiscent of Idlewild

New Desert Blues (Truck stage) - Mature guitar songs from this Hampshire-based six-piece. Not frightened to vary the pace. Slower song ‘Summer Skin’ had shades of Arctic Monkeys. 

Allusondrugs (Market Stage) - taking the stage when the sun was at it's most intense this was the hottest the tent got all weekend. So highly appropriate that the drummer and vocalist should be bare-chested with impressive tattoo work on show. Conversely the rhythm guitarist sported a shirt and woolly cardigan, but didn't lack for movement for all that. This was in yer face punk-edged songs. Friends of Pulled Apart by Horses, their closing number could have been a PABH song.

Simon Stanley Ward (Great Western Saloon stage) – my first visit to this stage, with a facade of a western saloon. Stupidly I was surprised they actually had a bar in there (!) so it seemed rude not to avail oneself of a pint of Hobgoblin. Despite the tin roof this was the coolest (temperature-wise) drinking establishment on the site. As for the music, this was a deviation into Country & Western territory but with strong sprinklings of humour evidenced by the best opening lyric to a rockabilly song I’ve ever heard: 'I went to a psycho hydro-therapy class....'. Showed the band not taking themselves too seriously; and again on closing number, winning best song title of the weekend: 'I wish I was Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park'. Simon mentioned he had CDs for sale but only had 5 left – this set was great fun but I must confess I made a mental note that if I found myself in the queue I would make sure I was at least six back.   

Magic Gang (Market Stage) - Highly competent at what they do. What they do is anthemic indie songs which border on Simon Cowell manufactured, mass-appeal tunes.  Perfect example, mid-set song 'Only In My Dreams', a saccharine-fuelled pop song. This band is getting a great deal of acclaim in the credible music press and today there were a lot of people who knew their stuff to the point where the local kids were moshing to it. My concern is if this is the direction indie music is heading this is (for me) the wrong direction.  

Rat Boy (Market Stage) - unlike the previous band this band feels 'real'. A hybrid of Streets, Billy Bragg, King Blues, Jehst.  Brilliantly constructed songs with a highly relevant topical edge. Jordan Cardy is clearly the main man but he had the grace to announce his band (guitar, bass, drums) as 'We are Ratboy'.  For the final song ‘Sign On’ he invited a stage invasion - only partially successful on account of the well-drilled Security Crew.

Peasants King (Palm City stage) Lead vocal, 2nd vocal (plus tambourine/bass drum), bass, 2 guitars, drums. Loud and proud, high-intensity rock. Suffice to say, forthcoming single 'Give A Little Love' is far removed from similarly named tune from The Osmonds. This band are from South Wales - perhaps it's the Celtic routes that put me in mind of a many Scottish bands that deliver superb songs with a dark bass-drum foundation.

Rae Morris (Market Stage) - with a band comprising 2 guitars and female drummer. Her early 2015 album passed me by - most definitely an oversight on my part. Superb songs. Whole band smiling all the way through, loving the love they were getting from the crowd 

Public Service Broadcasting (Truck stage) - I love this band but tonight was a disappointment.  2-3 years ago at an early PSB show at The Haunt, Brighton (a Sea Power club night) their makeshift projector broke down leading me to comment (partly in jest) 'Public Service Broadcasting are nothing without the films'. Tonight the backdrop and now traditional stacked-up retro TV sets were devoid of film, showing just the static PSB logo. Sorry to say that the songs lose their charm without the supporting visual footage.  'Letters for the rich, Letters for the poor, the shop at the corner and the girl next door’ seemed a little hollow without the images of the rushing train. I am no technical expert but I can't believe it can be that difficult to display the films, as a minimum on the backdrop screens? My sadness is I love this band and all the stuff they've done, but I suspect anybody watching for the first time wouldn't warm to them on this performance.

Temples (Truck stage) - having seen them perform an excellent set in Holland a few weeks ago, today seemed a little like going through the motions. But the set was lifted to a brilliant height when they played a new song, which sounded like early Floyd

Basement Jaxx  (Truck stage) – with kiddies tucked up in the truck, lovely to enjoy this band with a warming whisky in hand


Website and 2016 Tickets