Live Review: Truck Festival (July 2017)

I always think of Truck Festival as one the UK’s best kept secrets, but I’m not sure I can say that now when 15,000 festival goers turned up this year for a weekend jam packed with so many amazing bands they didn’t know what to do! Arriving early Friday morning, we thought we might beat the queue’s, unfortunately everybody else had the same idea. It took some patrons of Truck Festivals 20th Anniversary event almost three and a half hours just to get into the campsite, not 100% sure what went on with the queuing system this year but hopefully they will learn from their slight mistake next year! But anyway, onto the bands:


Willie J Healey was first up on our list, first emerging on the scene in 2015, Willie has grown quite popular with his relaxing indie melodies; that’s without releasing a full-length album as well. Never the less, Willie took to the main stage like he had done it thousands of times before and pulled in a considerable audience for such an early set. Playing songs that had started his popularity and new songs like ‘People and Their Dogs’ which got a loud cheer from the crowd as the first few chords were strummed.

Every time I see VUKOVI I seem to have more fun than I did the last time, not sure how they top their last performance with every new show, but they do it with style! The band walked on stage to the upbeat banger that is ‘And He Lost His Mind’ before front lady Janine stormed on stage, her iconic blue hair billowing in the wind as she instantly took control of the stage. VUKOVI’s set was predominantly made up of songs from their debut self-titled record, this included fan favourite ‘La Di Da’ which saw Janine clamber up on the barrier, sing along with the crowd and even take countless selfies on fan’s phones.

It wasn’t long before I made my way back to The Nest stage for a band that I was extremely excited to see, the melodic juggernauts Arcane Roots! Arcane Roots are one of those bands that sounds the same live as they do on record, which today is impressive to say the least. ‘Over & Over’ was the band’s first choice of songs that evening and it just seemed like the perfect way to get Truck Festival pumped up for the rest of the evening, the rest of the set included brand new song ‘Off The Floor’ which was smoothly transitioned into a heart-warming tribute to the late Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington. The set concluded with a personal favourite ‘If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves’; you could tell how much this and many other Arcane Root’s songs mean to a clear majority of the crowd that evening as they were singing every word.

Pulled Apart by Horses were next up tonight’s schedule and having only seen them a few weeks prior, I was interested to see if they would live up to the incredible show they put on before. After a lot of technical difficulties and an extra 20 minutes of waiting, PABH walked on, waving and mouthing apologise for being late before crashing into ‘The Haze’ and ‘The Big What If’ two huge songs from their most recent release which instantly made the crowd forget about the late start. A few more songs from their new album were played, as well as the classic’s ‘I Punched A Lion in the Throat’ and ‘V.E.N.O.M’ which turned the pit into what I can only describe as a feeding frenzy in shark infested waters!

The final band to see this evening was the infamous Slaves, Isaac and Laurie are no rookies when it comes to playing big slots anymore, so they took this pre-headliner slot in their stride. The set included countless stories between songs, detailing how the next tune came to be written; this included ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ which details the boys walking a drunk girl home but being scared about the rumours of Big Foot in the forests of Tunbridge Wells. The remainder of Slaves’ set was taken up by classic punk anthems like ‘Cheer Up London’, ‘Hey’ and ‘Spit It Out’, which thankfully got the crowd moving even though the heavens had decided to open and begin to rain like there was no tomorrow. It seemed like even a fully-fledged storm couldn’t dampen the crowd spirits this evening, they were all too busy busting a move to Slaves’ toe tappingly good tunes!


Saturday truly began when Nothing But Thieves took to the stage, with so many amazing songs it must be hard to pick which ones to play; they decided on ‘Ban All The Music’ as their opener and what an opener it was! Frontman Conor instantly took control of the audience, encouraging them to sing along, dance and just go crazy. NBT played a couple brand new songs like the sultry ‘Sorry’ and the more energy filled ‘I’m Not Made By Design’, having only been played a few times live, it felt as if they had been playing them for years! The vocal range Conor has is truly inspiring, especially during such songs as ‘Itch’, ‘If I Get High’ and tonight closer and new fan favourite ‘Amsterdam, which saw the biggest crowd response.

The Wombats are a band that I’ve wanted to see since I was in secondary school, their quirky lyrics and upbeat melodies always brought a smile to my face; so the fact that I was finally seeing them in a Live environment had me ecstatic! Even with the lakes of mud all around The Wombats pulled in the largest crowd of the weekend, playing indie classics like ‘Moving To New York’ and ‘Techno Fan’ which instantly set the crowd into a frenzy of shrieks, dance moves and some of the loudest sing-a-longs I’ve heard in a long time! The set was closed with ‘Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)’, ‘Greek Tragedy’ and lastly ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’; an iconic trilogy of songs to end a spectacular performance.

Tonight’s headliners were indie legends The Libertines, which are by far one the biggest acts Truck Festival has ever booked; seeing as it was the 20th anniversary it makes sense to go all out! Swaggering on stage surprisingly on time, Pete Doherty and Carl Barat greeted the music hungry crowd with a tip of their imaginary hats and then proceeded to play more indie classic than I can count on my fingers. Tonight’s performance was mainly split between two albums, ‘Up The Bracket’ & ‘Anthems for a Doomed Youth’, ‘Gunga Din’ from their most recent release got a huge roar from the crowd, as well as title track from past album ‘Up The Bracket’ got an equally loud rumble from the throng of people who had braved the mud and rain.


Walking back into the arena for the last day of Truck, it felt as if I was walking in the shallows of an ocean, a very brown ocean at that! First on the cards for Sunday were the Norfolk boys Deaf Havana, who kept stating that they did not envy the audience that were standing in knee deep mud, never the less they put on quite a show! Highlights were of the set would be the Havana boy’s newer songs ‘Fever’ and ‘Trigger’ which they got the whole crowd to join in with during the chorus. There was also enough time to chuck in a couple of oldies such as ‘The Past Six Years’ and of course a crowd favourite ‘I’m A Bore, Mostly’ which had everyone sloshing around in the mud showing of their best dance moves.

Was able to catch the latter part of Twin Atlantic’s set after crossing the sea of mud like a modern-day festival Christopher Columbus. Gladly saw some of my favourite’s being played such as: ‘No Sleep’, ‘Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator’ and every Twin Atlantic fan’s favourite ‘Heart & Soul’. It was quite a struggle to even get into the Market stage because of how many loyal fans decided to turn up and party with the Scottish bred boys. Sam McTrusty lead the crowd with such grace like a Shepard and his sheep, if he told them to sing they would sing, if he asked for a mosh pit then 3 would sprout up out of nowhere. It was showmanship at its finest.

A so it came to the worst part of Truck and any festival: the final set of the weekend, I could tell everyone was going to go all out for the final band of the festival; that band was none other than The Vaccines! One of the first songs they played was ‘Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ which made the crowd go wild thinking of all the memories that this song and all other Vaccines songs bring back. The audience and myself were on top of the world when Justin Young announced that they would be playing a few new songs during their set, those included upbeat banger ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’ and ‘Rolling Stones’, both started the hype for the potential new album that the band had been writing. More crowd pleasers were played, like ‘Teenage Icon’, the sombre ‘Wetsuit’ and the equally mellow ‘Post-Break Up Sex’ to which everyone had a right good campfire sing-a-long to. The set closed on ‘If You Wanna’ & ‘Nørgaard’ to which I saw hundreds of friendly mud fights break out between friends as smoke and confetti was blown into the sky.

Justin and Co. gave out a huge thank you to everyone who stuck out the cold and mud just to see them play, then without warning hundreds of fireworks lit up the sky behind the main stage, announcing the end of the weekend and slightly congratulating everyone who didn’t give up and leave earlier in the weekend

The 20th Truck Festival didn’t go exactly to plan, with extended queues, enough mud and rain to fill one hundred swimming pools; apart from that the thousands of truck patrons and myself included thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Bloody amazing bands all throughout the weekend, a crazy selection of food for everyone’s tastes and some very muddy memories that will last for the years to come. We will definitely be back next year to see what Truck can pull out of the bag to top this years triumph of a festival!

Review and Photography by Joe Dick