• Charlotte Trichard and Catherine Flutsch

Truck Festival 2022

Updated: Jul 28

★★★★★

Review: Truck Festival, 21 - 24 July 2022. Tickets for 2023 on sale on Friday 29 July. Sign up for notification here

If you love music, then going to Truck Festival is probably one of the best fun things you can do in the UK during the summer. Truck Festival is a small music festival that features rock, indie and dance music. But the Festival doesn’t restrict itself to those genres. We’ve heard everything from a New Orleans hip-hop brass band to the Oxford Symphony Orchestra - complete with mosh pit.

Oxford Symphony Orchestra at this year's Truck Festival - complete with mosh pit.


Truck Festival started in 1998 as a birthday party organised by two musician brothers, Joe and Robin Bennett, to celebrate Robin’s birthday. The Bennett brothers named Truck Festival after a record in their collection, Ten Trucking Greats; liking the Americana feel. The name was apt – the brothers used flatbed trucks as the first stage.

Hill Farm, Stevenson. Photo credit: Des Blenkinsopp


Six hundred people came to the first party in 1998 held in Hill Farm, Steventon. Although the festival grew, it felt relatively small with around 10,000-15,000 people attending the festival in 2019. While this may sound like a lot, spread out across Oxfordshire’s beautiful Hill Farm, the festival has never felt crowded. Until this year!

The carousel at Truck Festival 2022.


After a 2 year hiatus this year’s festival felt much, much bigger. This is partly because we haven’t been in huge crowds for so long, but mostly because this year, the attendance almost doubled, with between 25,000-30,000 people. It was noticeable.

Outside the Market stage at Truck Festival 2022.


Early entry Thursdays used to be quiet – with a relaxed vibe and only a scattering of people. Thursday was the time to take the ubiquitous photo next to the huge Truck sign.

At Truck Festival 2022. Photo credit: Louis Trichard.


This year, when the Blossoms played their set on the main stage, there was a heaving capacity crowd. Unlike previous years, the party definitely started on early entry Thursday.

Although the demographic of the Truck Festival is mainly teenagers and people in their early 20s, the festival attracts people across the age spectrum from parents with tiny babies to the elderly. It’s a festival that feels open minded and friendly – whatever your age, race or gender identity.

At Truck Festival 2022. Photo credit: Louis Trichard.


Truck Festival has six stages, spread out across Hill Farm. Each stage has its own personality and vibe – so there’s always going to be something that you’ll enjoy whatever mood you’re in. Unless you are deeply knowledgeable, however, the chances of you recognising all the bands on the line-up of each stage are pretty low.


For Truck Festival newbies, this can feel overwhelming and slightly bewildering as you realise just how uncool you actually are. But, for us, discovering new music to love (even if it’s only new to us) is the whole point of Truck Festival.

The Kooks, at the Truck Festival 2022. Photo credit: Louis Trichard.


Each year, the line-up is a fantastic mix of early career artists and world famous acts. In Truck parlance – it’s veterans and virgins.


Truck Festival 2022 on Thursday afternoon. Photo credit: Louis Trichard.

There were so many highlights at this year’s festival. Seeing the Blossoms on Thursday night – packed with die hard Blossoms fans singing every lyric together was uplifting and an amazing start to the festival.

Video of the Blossoms set at Truck Festival 2022.


But for us, it was the last day of the festival that stood out as the best fun. We started the day with a talk on the tiny stage in the Tap Room given by inspirational industry insiders on how to break into the music industry.

How to Break Into the Music Industry at Truck Festival 2022.


Later in the day, we saw what for us, was the best fun artist – the UK’s Eurovision entry – Sam Ryder who played on the second largest stage, the Market Stage. We think the organisers may have under estimated Ryder’s popularity – the venue was way over capacity – with people spilling out of the huge marquee. We were at the front in the middle – turning around, people were packed as far as we could see – it was the first time we felt a little bit nervous about being in such a huge crowd.

Sam Ryder playing at Truck Festival 2022. Photo credit: Louis Trichard.


Incredibly, the enormous crowd was well mannered and despite partying hard – very considerate. This is the general vibe of Truck Festival – there is very little aggressive behaviour on display. Ryder’s set was truly extraordinary – a proper rocking party. Despite the temptation to belt out hard rock to the hyped up crowd, Ryder sang lots of songs with subtle vocals and lots of varied dynamics – which made it quite a beautiful set – as well as a being a proper celebration. Inevitably, Ryder’s final song was his Eurovision entry, Space Man, and the entire venue erupted. Ryder really knows how to play a crowd and it’s hardly believable that he only came to prominence in 2020.

Sam Ryder played Space Man at Truck Festival 2022.


The other stand out for us was the final act on the main stage; the mighty Kasabian. Everything about Kasabian’s set was utterly epic. When the first notes of Club Foot rang out through the darkness, laser lights, strobes and smoke – the entire crowd went wild.


As you can tell, we love the Truck Festival – but it’s not perfect. There needs to be a few changes – particularly adapting the facilities, facilities maintenance and security in general to the larger crowds.

Photo taken on Sunday evening at Truck Festival 2022. Photo credit: Louis Trichard.


We heard stories of some festival goers experiencing very heavy handed tactics from some security guards – though we have not been able to substantiate these stories. It may also be that the festival will have to adapt to the changes in climate – to us, it started to feel like an endurance event during the day – watching the acts in the heat, under the very hot sun – with very little shade. It was lucky that the Festival came just after the UK’s 40C heat wave. More shade and water points will be needed in future, if Truck is going to avoid problems.

Truck Festival 2022 highlights reel.

Truck Festival is a truly uplifting and gorgeous experience for anyone who loves music. Tickets for 2023 go on sale on Friday at 12 noon – sign up here to get the notification.

 

Watch out for our Truck Festival survival guide, coming out next early next year.


Safe guarding procedures for our young reviewer, Charlotte Trichard, were in place throughout the festival including chaperones.

Square Stage