For most of the year, the rolling acres of Hill Farm, Steventon are usually an oasis of calm , with the peace disturbed only by the sound of cattle and the occasional tractor.

This weekend, however, the farm will be transformed into one of the country’s most popular music events as it hosts the annual Truck Festival.

The 22nd instalment of the rock and pop festival began on Thursday, with a handful of shows for special early ticket holders, before commencing in earnest today [Friday]. Between then and Sunday night, its multiple stages and popular cow barn, will play host to well over 100 bands and artists, from new and local acts to international stars, and 18,000 festival goers.

Headline sets come from Wolf Alice tonight, Foals on Saturday and Two Door Cinema Club on Sunday. It will also see sets by Nothing But Thieves, Lewis Capaldi, Public Service Broadcasting, and Idles today, former member of The Smiths Johnny Marr, Don Broco, Ten Tonnes, Shame and Palace on Saturday, and You Me At Six, Hot 8 Brass Band, Kate Nash and Dodie on Sunday.

Much of the excitement centres around the return of Oxford band Foals, who will be playing their first Oxfordshire show in more than five years and their first at Truck since they broke through 12 years ago.

Now international stars, Foals have headlined Reading and Bestival, played close to the top of the bill at Glastonbury, and have scooped many awards.

The first part of their long-awaited new album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost was released earlier this year.

Oxford Mail:

Foals on their previous Truck Stage

“We’re very excited to welcome back Foals and have snagged the hometown heroes to be our Saturday night headliner,” says festival organiser Matt Harrap. “I think we’ve mentioned that a few times!”

“Apart from that, we think our highlight is going to be Lewis Capaldi tomorrow afternoon. It’s sure to be special. After being unable to make it last year we’re lucky to have the Scottish Beyonce!”

He adds: “We’re excited to have one our most loved venues, The Rockin Chair, taking over the famous Barn this year. Fully decked out like an old working men’s club, it’s going to be the place for a boogie, laugh and dance. Dance with Glastonbury’s famous Lekiddo, Sing with Barry off of Eastenders or discover some fresh comedy. There’s something for everyone.”

Read more: Gas stoves banned at Truck amid safety fears

He said he was delighted to be opening the gates, saying: “Thursday early entry is something we’ve been wanting to do for a while. Last year worked so well. It helped reduce some traffic issues and meant people could start their weekend early and get a great camping spot! We’re extremely lucky to have the likes of Slaves to kick us off this year; they’re going to smash it as always.

Oxford Mail:

Johnny Marr is a guitar icon

“Truckers should expect the best Truck ever this year. We’re hopefully due some warm weather but either way there’ll be a party. This year has seen the biggest demand for tickets we’ve ever had and this is our biggest ever line-up topped off with a Foals hometown show. It really is the icing on the cake and something we’ve been trying to make happen for a very long time – we can’t wait to share it with you!”

Among the local acts performing this year are Oxford’s self-described ‘Mafrobeat’ inventors and festival veterans Bright Works.

Read more: Foals braced for hometown headline show

The four-piece, who first played at Truck seven years ago, were hand-picked by local band competition judges to play on the Nest stage at 12.15pm on Saturday.

Guitarist Pete Hughes, who grew up in Wantage and first went to Truck aged 16 when it was £15 a ticket, said: “This year feels like it’s going to be a really special year – the fact that Foals are back, after doing some of their first gigs at Truck, makes it all feel like it’s going back to its roots.

"We started playing just after they put out Antidotes, and they were a big influence on our sound, as were Two Door Cinema Club and the Futureheads – all those angular ‘mathy’ guitar bands.

Read more: Sea Girls ready to make waves at Truck Festival

"Then we blended in a lot of the Afrobeat rhythms we loved to make our sound.

“Of the new bands around these days, Easy Life are really great, so we’ll be trying to catch them as well.”

Oxford Mail:

To infinity and beyond with Public Service Broadcasting...

It is one of those musical projects which shouldn’t really work, but most assuredly does – with bells on.

Take a sample of archive material – whether it be from the Blitz, the Apollo space missions or the conquest of Everest – build it into a soundscape of soaring electronica and searing rock and perform it against a backdrop of old black and white newsreel footage, public information films or clips harvested from the British Film Institute.

Endlessly creative and unashamedly bold, Public Service Broadcasting have forged their own genre – and it is utterly thrilling, as audiences at Truck Festival will discover when they return tomorrow.

The title of their debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain, could also be their mission statement. They have takenus through the Battle of Britain, Dunkirk and the bombing of London in The War Room, to the moon and back in The Race for Space and to the glory days, and demise, of the coal mining industry in Every Valley – which reached number four in the album chart.

Expect tracks from that, and their recent Titanic-themed project, when the tweed and corduroy-clad trio of J Willgoose Esq, Wrigglesworth and JF Abraham bring their concept-rich electronic rock back to Hill Farm, Steventon.

“We are still surprised by what has happened to us as a band,” says the bow-tie clad J, who is the outfit’s driving force, electronic guru, guitarist, sample collector and composer. “When I began I thought it was just something to do for a bit of fun. Going back and listening to the earlier stuff, it is lighter in tone and fun. But this has now become a part of us.”

With the world celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, expect a heavy space-themed show, possibly with an airing of tunes Sputnik, Gagarin and Go!

“The whole visual aspect is a very major part of it,” says J. “It’s quite an overwhelming experience – especially given the emotional content.

"It certainly is for me.”

  • Truck Festival runs at Hill Farm, Steventon, until Sunday. Tickets have sold out

Oxford Mail:

A flavour of what's on... and when:

Truck Stage


21:45 Wolf Alice

20:15 Nothing But Thieves

19:00 Lewis Capaldi

18:00 Clean Cut Kid

17:30 She Drew The Gun

16:00 Lucia

15:00 Marsicans

14:00 APRE

13:00 Candy Says


21:45 Foals

20:00 Johnny Marr

18:45 Don Broco

17:45 Ten Tonnes

16:45 Vistas

15:45 FUR

14:45 Betsie Gold

13:00 Oxford Orchestra


21:30 Two Door Cinema Club

19:45 You Me At Six

18:15 Hot 8 Brass Band

17:15 Sea Girls

16:15 The Japanese House

15:15 Cassia

14:15 Deco

13:15 The Dolly Mops

12:00 Mr Motivator

Oxford Mail:

Market Stage


20:45 Public Service Broadcasting

tbc Spector

tbc Saltwater Sun

tbc Pip Blom 15:30 IDLES

14:30 Heavy Lungs

13:30 Lacuna Common


20:45 Shame

19:15 Palace

18:15 Sports Team

17:15 Only The Poets

16:15 The Murder Capital

15:15 Gurr

14:15 Haze

13:15 Devon

12:15 The Mysterines

11:30 Wych Elm


20:30 Kate Nash

19:00 Dodie

17:45 Easy Life

16:45 Whenyoung

15:45 Zuzu

14:45 Alfie Templeman

13:45 Swimming Girls

12:45 Annabel Allum

11:00 Tall Stories

Oxford Mail:

Truck founder Robin Bennett plays with Bennett Wilson Poole

The Nest


20:45 Sunset Sons

19:30 Yonaka

18:30 Anteros

17:30 Feet

16:30 Inhaler

15:30 Spinn

14:30 Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam

13:30 Dolly and the Dinosaur


20:45 Mallory Knox

19:15 Fatherson

18:15 Puppy

17:15 Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

16:15 Milk Teeth

15:15 Press To Meco

14:15 Sean McGowan

13:15 Hot Milk

12:15 Bright Works

11:30 Basement Club

Oxford Mail:

Sunday 20:30 Futureheads 19:00 Island 17:45 Martha

16:45 Kagoule

15:45 Gaffa Tape Sandy

14:45 Cassels

13:45 Cheerbleederz

12:45 False Advertising

11:45 The Clause

* Times subject to change. For accurate and up to date stage times download the Truck Festival app.