Truck Festival 2023

This year’s Truck Festival was a weekend defined by classic indie anthems, a plethora of emerging young talent, and lots and lots of mud.

After a late arrival on Friday, Wunderhorse served as our introduction to the festival, with front-man Jacob Slater delivering a powerful and intense performance, jumping and stomping around the stage to fan-favourites such as Purple and Teal. The band also played a handful of unreleased tracks to the delight of the So Young/Market Stage.

Two Door Cinema Club closed out the Friday on the Truck Stage, playing everything you’d expect to hear from the indie heroes, complete with a visually impressive stage show. However the night was far from over by the end of their set, with an absolutely packed silent disco spilling out of the This Feeling tent into the early hours of the morning.

Saturday brought rain, and lots of it; luckily Cowboyy ensured we started our day off right despite the unfortunate weather with a midday set on The Market Stage. Somewhat newcomers to the so-called ‘Windmill Scene’, Cowboyy pull no punches, with genre-bending tracks complete with blistering math-rock guitar riffs. If the audience reaction was any indication, they certainly won’t be found this early in the day come next festival season.

Next up was a highlight of this year’s Truck Festival in DEADLETTER, with a funky energetic set rooted in post-punk. Frontman Zac Lawrence commanded the audience, encouraging circle pits, whilst not being afraid to dive into the chaos himself.

Liverpudlian electronic/post-punk group Courting followed, garnering a great reception from the Market Stage tent, however it was soon time to trek through the now muddied festival fields over to the mainstage for Circa Waves, with a solid set culminating in the somewhat ironic, yet undeniable indie classic T-Shirt Weather.

Maisie Peters took to the mainstage next, drawing a huge crowd for her Taylor Swift inspired pop anthems. Over in The Nest tent, Panic Shack kicked off a set packed with their signature charismatic and witty punk tracks, the highlight of which being The Ick.

Post-punk quintet Squid closed out The Market Stage on Saturday, fresh from the release of their sophomore album O Monolith just a month prior; with many songs from the album appearing on the setlist, alongside classics such as Narrator. It’s a diverse set, which showcases the talents of each member, at times echoing influences of bands such as an In Rainbows era Radiohead.

Finally, it was time for the closing act of the day over on the Truck Stage; Alt-J. In what Alt-J lack in terms of an energetic stage presence, they more than make up for with their melodic and layered songs; which are performed to a tee, and complete with an impressive light show. Hits such as Breezeblocks and Fitzpleasure warrant a huge reaction from the mud-soaken crowd.

Sunday began with another early procession to The Market Stage across the now well-churned Truck grounds to catch Overpass; a fresh indie band from Birmingham, with sounds reminiscent of the UK indie scene of the 2010’s. The Last Dinner Party followed, draped in black, with a captivating stage show which evoked images of a young Kate Bush.

Indie-folk duo Prima Queen played an early afternoon slot on the Truck Stage, their delicate songs finally seeing off the rain, as festival-goers were treated to some sunshine for the final day.

Stone delivered an energetic set back at The Market Stage, with animated frontman Finley Power repurposing the stage as a climbing frame. On the walk back to the Truck Stage, the audience is packed out & eager for Pale Waves, whose 1975-tinged pop-rock gets the crowd moving; especially for their hit single ‘There’s A Honey’.

Over at The Nest stage, FEET play to another busy crowd, with singer George Haverson intensely shaking his tambourine as his fellow band members energetically dance around the stage to the sound of their britpop revival tunes.

As people gather towards the Truck Stage for the headliners, Self Esteem brings a powerful support slot, with lyrical themes brimming with important messages, conveyed further with a well choreographed interpretive dance routine. It’s a set in and of itself worthy of a headline slot. However, Truck still had one final act to go, in the form of rock titans Royal Blood. The duo close out the Sunday, and thus the whole festival with a blistering dose of their discography, kicking straight in with their debut single Out of the Black. Their sound is tight yet gritty, and closed with an impressive firework display, which signals the end of a fantastic Truck Festival 2023, and begins the long wait until next year.

Words and Photos by Jacob Swetmore


Philip Goddard

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