RAIN, wind and mud failed to dampen the spirits of thousands of music lovers who braved extremes of weather to enjoy an “amazing” weekend of rock at Truck Festival.

Up to 30,000 people descended on Hill Farm, Steventon, near Abingdon, for four days of music at the weekend, headlined by indie-rock band Two Door Cinema Club, alternative pop act alt-J, and rock duo Royal Blood – with The Wombats topping the bill on the Thursday for early arrivals.

They were greeted by sunshine and clear skies before Saturday’s heavy rain turned parts of the site to mud.

There was, mercifully, no repeat of the disastrous mudbath of 2017, in which the entire site was flooded with thick, sucking mud, and stranded cars had to be rescued by tractor.

With most stages housed in marquees it was possible to escape the worst of the weather – before the sunshine returned on Sunday.

Oxford Mail: Truck Festival, Steventon. 2023. Picture by Tim Hughes

Royal Blood. Picture by Tim Hughes

Highlights included crowd-pleasing sets by Kidlington reggae master David Rodigan, The Lathums, Self Esteem, The Dreaming Spires, Ralfe Band, The Reytons, Everything Everything and We Are Scientists.

Also acclaimed was singer-songwriter Rachel Chinouriri, with a dynamic uplifting set of elegant alternative pop.

Rising stars The Sheratons packed out a tent programmed by rock club promoter and new band champions, This Feeling.

Oxford Mail: Top, fireworks mark the end of the festival on Sunday night. Above, Robin Bennet with the Clubhouse Allstars play The Beatles

They told fans: “That set will go down in history. You lot showed up on a muddy Sunday afternoon and they couldn’t even fit you all in the tent. Thank you to all the legends giving it some and big up This Feeling and the team for putting on a special weekend – madness.”

Unmissable was a Sunday night set of Beatles classics played the Clubhouse Allstars – a supergroup featuring Truck Festival founders Robin and Joe Bennett, guitarists Dave Banks and Danny George Wilson and assorted guests.

Oxford Mail: Guitar rock from Sprints. Right, braving a large expanse of liquid mud

Singer-songwriter Rachel Chinouriri. Picture by Tim Hughes

Keeping spirits high were fitness guru Mr Motivator, and Clean Bandit collaborators the Oxford Symphony Orchestra – which performed rock, pop and film soundtracks to an exuberant crowd.

Joining the orchestra was guitarist Nick Fowler, who the night before had been playing with Supergrass star Gaz Coombes’ band at Pennfest in Buckinghamshire.

Nick went on to play with numerous other bands throughout the weekend, including a set by Robin and Joe Bennett’s country-rock band The Dreaming Spires in the ever-popular Veterans and Virgins tent.

Oxford Mail: Truck Festival, Steventon. 2023. Picture by Tim Hughes

The Dreaming Spires. Picture by Tim Hughes

In a brief pause between sets, Robin said: “It’s been a great weekend and the weather didn’t matter – in fact it helped bring more people into our tent. It’s been amazing.”

Making a guest appearance during the Dreaming Spires set was farmer Alan Binning, who owns the 800-acre beef and arable farm. He told the crowd how the event had gradually evolved from a small gathering held to celebrate Robin’s birthday, to a small festival with a stage on a flatbed truck, and into the huge 30,000-capacity operation of today.

Oxford Mail: Truck Festival, Steventon. 2023. Picture by Tim Hughes

Farmer Alan Binning. Picture by Tim Hughes

Leading the applause for the farmer, Robin made reference to the owner of Glastonbury Festival, saying: “Who needs Michael Eavis when you’ve got Alan Binning?”

Truck Festival organisers praised revellers for sticking with the event despite the vagaries of the weather. They said: “Thank you Truckers for joining us this weekend, keeping spirits high even when it rained and bringing all the good vibes to Hill Farm.”

Festival goers included drummer Luke Hartigan from Kennington. He said: “Friday felt like last year’s Truck: nice weather, a great atmosphere and a proper party atmosphere.

Oxford Mail: Truck Festival, Steventon. 2023. Picture by Tim Hughes

Clubhouse Allstars perform The Beatles - with Robin Bennett singing. Picture by Tim Hughes

“Saturday, though, felt like a completely different festival. It was still fun but soggy and exhausting.”

Tom Edwards, from Oxford, agreed, but vowed to be back next year. He said: “I’m gutted it rained on Saturday, but this is England so you’ve got to expect these things and just roll with it. I had a great time anyway – especially in the Veterans and Virgins tent, which is the last vestige of the lovely little Truck Festivals of old – full of Oxford faces and with the very best music.

“Roll on next year. I’m missing it already.”