GAZE across the rolling acres of Hill Farm in Steventon for most of the year, and you’ll be rewarded with a timeless rustic scene.

Crops ripen in golden fields and contented cattle chomp away at lush pasture.

This weekend, though, the scene has been transformed – livestock replaced by live music as the South Oxfordshire farm plays host to one of the country’s very best celebrations of new music – Truck Festival.

A cluster of stages and marquees keep 30,000 enthusiastic revellers entertained for a weekend of rock, pop, dance and so much more.

Headlining the sold-out spectacle are indie darlings Two Door Cinema Club, art-pop act alt J and rock duo Royal Blood – with The Wombats having topped the bill on Thursday for early arrivals.

Also up are DMA’s, The Vaccines, Self Esteem, Maisie Peters, Everything Everything, Beabadoobee, Circa Waves, Pale Waves, Kate Nash, Squid, We Are Scientists, The Beths, and Crawlers.

Representing Oxford will be Truck favourites Oxford Symphony Orchestra. Quirkier fare comes from Eastenders star Shaun Williamson – Barry Evans in the soap – who brings his ‘Barrioke’ show, and with an energetic mass warm-up session led by perennial crowd-pleaser Mr Motivator.

Oxford Mail:

Two Door Cinema Club at Truck Festival in 2019. By Tim Hughes

Keeping the crowd on their feet will be Kidlington’s very own reggae master David Rodigan, Shy FX & Dread MC, Hybrid Minds, Charlie Tee, Solah, Chimpo, Oppidan, Kara and Matt Fluid.

While the emphasis is on music, Truck also boasts an enviable comedy line-up, with Jonathan Pie, Seann Walsh and Emmanuel Sonubi topping the comic bill. Also laying on the gags will be Ivo Graham, John Hastings, Matt Richardson and Jarred Christmas.

Making for one of the most anticipated returns of the year, Royal Blood will be marking the occasion by closing the festival with anthems such as Figure It Out, Out Of The Black and Little Monster.

Looking forward to Sunday’s headline set, the band said: “After being booked to play in 2021, we can’t wait to finally head to Oxfordshire and headline Truck Festival. Expect a party.”

Oxford Mail: Truck Festival

Following on from their 10th anniversary tour of standout debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’, and an acclaimed set at Glastonbury Festival, Alt-J will perform hits such as Breezeblocks and Left Hand Free on the main stage.

After releasing their debut album Tourist History over 13 years ago, indie trailblazers Two Door Cinema Club return to Hill Farm to treat fans to favourite tunes such as Undercover Martyn, Something Good Can Work and What You Know.

They said: “We first played Truck back in 2009 where we got led astray by Ash and then one of us – who shall not be named – threw up in a graveyard.

“Our next appearance was a few years ago to headline and it was amazing to see how much the festival had grown. We have such fond memories of both times and we’re excited to see what our third appearance has in store.”

Oxford Mail: Royal blood

Royal Blood

The Vaccines are also no strangers to Steventon.

Speaking about their return to Hill Farm the band’s Justin Young said: “Six long years since we last played one of our favourite festivals in the UK. We’re so, so excited to come back and tell you all how much we’ve missed you. Hopefully I’ll find the shirt I lost, too.”

New York post-punk indie-rockers We Are Scientists are full of praise for Truck and are also eager to get back to the farm.

The band, who are touring following the release of their eighth studio album Lobes, said: “Truck is one of the finest live events in the UK. Both friendly and frenzied, it is that choicest of festival oxymorons: a well-organized free-for-all. Naturally, we are looking forward to returning there.”

Warming up the Hill Farm opening night revellers this year alongside The Wombats, will be Birmingham indie-rock-pop favourites Swim Deep, who are celebrating the 10th birthday of their debut album Where The Heaven Are We?.

Speaking about their set on the Thursday night, frontman Austin Williams says: “We love playing Truck because it feels like the festival for the kids that we were.

Oxford Mail: Truck Festival 2022. Picture by Tim Hughes

“When we were going to festivals for the first time, starry eyed, watching bands that made us believe we could do something other than what we were supposed to do.”

Maintaining its reputation as a strong platform for emerging and experimental acts, Truck has a lively bill of new artists.

They include Antony Szmierek, a spoken word and indie hip-hop artist who captivates with an intelligent mix of poetic lyrics, riffs and beats.

He says: “I am massively excited to be bringing myself and the band to Truck.

I am hoping to soak up not only the July sunshine (fingers crossed) but also some residual creative energy from Oxfordshire’s finest exports, Radiohead and Foals. If anyone knows either Thom or Yannis, please ask them if they need a bit of spoken word on their next record. Failing that – see you down the front!”

Festival manager Lily Brimble said the event was shaping up to be a classic, with a strong line-up and hopes for an enthusiastic crowd.

She said: “We’re still buzzing at just how great it was to be back with our Truck Festival family last year after so long away – and we’re even more excited with this year’s line-up.

“It’s the Truck audience that makes the weekend so special, and we can’t wait to see everyone again next week.

“Get ready for some fun and mischief.”