Truck Festival main stage

FESTIVAL REPORT: Truck Festival 2022

When: 21 – 24 July 2022

Where: Hill Farm, Steventon, Oxfordshire

There was something very special about Truck 2022, whether that was purely down to the three-year wait or whether the hypnotic way their social media admin kept the Truck flame burning bright during that time we’ll never be sure. Either way the 2022 edition of Truck Festival was something to behold.

Obviously, if your thing is not indie bands, crowd surfing, or swathes of people sitting (and sometimes standing) on other people’s shoulders, then Truck might not be for you. If seeing the best of the current generation of guitar music and having massive amounts of fun are not your thing either, then you should definitely steer clear. If all of that sounds great, or even just mildly interesting, then add Truck 2023 to your to-do list right away.

Here are the five best things that Truck 2022 gave us.

Sam Fender is going hypersonic

Three things became obvious on Saturday night:

  1. Sam Fender has some really great tunes. Example: ‘Seventeen Going Under‘ had the best singalong of the weekend. A song about teenage mental health, growing up, and reflecting on your youth had 25,000 people singing along. Literal hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck moment.
  2. He cares about his audience. The show must go on, blah blah, except for when some people in the crowd need help. Then the show will pause, Sam will point out where help’s needed, give a bit of time for it to be sorted, then continue with a slightly mellower setlist.
  3. He actually is the new Springsteen. It’s a well worn trope but in this case it’s as true as it’ll ever be; there’s the working class background, the lyrics ripped straight from his growing up in a small town near a huge city, and there are the musical flourishes (a la, the horn section). But there’s also an ability to hold his audience in the palm of his hand, to keep them there, and to get euphoric highs from tricky subject matter. And then there’s changing up his set on the fly, playing ‘Saturday‘ out of nowhere to the other great singalong of the weekend.

British guitar music is more than just alive, it’s bloody thriving

Remember the clickbait-grabbing headline from a few years ago, something about guitar music being dead – or guitar bands, maybe. Well if you didn’t already know, no, no it’s not.

Bands like Sea Girls, Palace, Sports Team, Inhaler, Shame, Yard Act, The Big Moon, to name a really tiny amount, are killing it right now. Whether it’s the atmospheric dream worlds that Palace create, or the middling indie-rock of Inhaler, the rambunctious carnage of Shame, or the melodies and big hooks of The Big Moon, the Truck crowd was lapping it up, singing word for word, waving arms in time, jumping, creating mosh pits, the works. You name it these bands were getting it.

Lower down the bill bands on the smaller Nest stage were creating walls of noise and getting much the same reaction, Loose Articles, Beach Riots, Coach Party, Jaws, and Crawlers, alongside festival veterans like Pulled Apart by Horses and The Subways.

And in a terrific late-night show Peaness showcased their earworm-y mix of songs on the tiny V&V stage, showing off their killer banter as well as their killer tunes.

If you’ve any doubt about the pulse of guitar music then this right here lays them to rest.

Pop. Pop. Pop music.

Pop is all around, a middling 90’s band once didn’t say. And it isn’t at Truck. Among the body strewn moshpits and tents full of sweating Truckers you can find sprinkling of pop. Whilst Kelis played a crowd-pleasing set it was disjointed and felt more DJ than live performance; UK Eurovision hero Sam Ryder was eh-oh-ing his way through his 45-minute set which showed he is more than just a ‘Spaceman’, with enough crowd participation to make Adam Lambert & Queen look over their shoulders. Sigrid has grown into one of the best pop artists around, with two albums stuffed with bangers she played one of the sets of the weekend; ‘Bad Life’ and ‘Sucker Punch’ being particular highlights. A different kind of pop, a more edgy kind, came from who really delivered with a set of very 2020’s-themed indie-pop songs.

Alfie Templeman is a genuine talent

There’ve already been enough outlandish – and slightly obvious you might say – comparisons in this article already so there’ll be none thrown at Alfie. Safe to say though, the singer-songwriter who played to a humungous crowd at 15:45 on Sunday afternoon on the Market Stage, is destined for greatness if he continues in this way. Much like Sam Fender his songs are safe enough to be crowd-pleasers, but laced with a musicality that belies his years. You could argue he’s not doing much that’s new but that doesn’t matter when the amalgam of music is this good. ‘Broken’ and ‘3D Feelings’ are absolute winners.

What an atmosphere

At the heart of any good festival is its punters, its crowd, its lifeblood if you’re being a bit cheesy. And Truck Festival has a crowd that others would die for. Good-natured throughout the weekend (barely any security on show in the main arena), interacting with the artists whenever asked, singing to every song possible, and just generally having a massive amount of fun while not being knobs. Ridiculous things like Barrioke (Barry from Eastenders (aka Shaun Williamson) leading a karaoke session in a cow shed) are taken in the spirit they’re intended, and Mr Motivator doesn’t seem too out of place opening the Main Stage. It’s a festival sure of itself and its audience. It knows who it is and who they are and is all the better for it.

Truck Festival, you were insane, and you were special.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.