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Page last updated at 17:15 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 18:15 UK
BBC Oxford goes to Truck Festival
Will Gilgrass
By Will Gilgrass
BBC Blast Reporter, Oxford

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Joe Allen Band were one of the bands on the BBC Introducing stage

Festivals are often accused of being commercial, pretentious and expensive. Truck is not guilty on all counts.

In a quiet corner of South Oxfordshire 5,000 people converge each year for a festival with a difference.

There is no sponsorship just local promoters, the vicar and The Rotary Club of Didcot.

The music is a superb mix of performances from established acts like Supergrass to unsigned talent like Joe Allen Band and Alphabet Backwards.

There was also a thriving electronic music element to the 12th edition of Truck. By day the Beat Hive supplied a mix of drum and bass and dubstep; then as the sun went down the Barn Stage was transformed by Fresh Out the Box as electro beats and bleeps encapsulated the wanting crowd.

The Scholars were the last act to be confirmed for Truck. Just the Wednesday (July 29) before, they fought off exceptionally strong competition in a Battle of the Bands at the Jericho Tavern.

Thin Green Candles, Sikorski, We Aeronauts and Borderville were the others who had been put forward by the BBC Oxford Introducing team, and all would have been great candidates to play.

BBC Wales Introducing hosted the Village Pub stage on Saturday, where the victorious boys from around Banbury performed. Their performance built on that they had put on a few days earlier. All inside the tent, including the BBC's Bethan Elfyn, were impressed.

As Saturday progressed the crowds grew, particularly in the Village Pub tent - perhaps because they were drawn by the bar inside it!

Stornoway gave the sort of mesmerising performance one has begun to expect from them; Sweet Baboo (who were brought down with BBC Wales) impressed; and Ash blew everything in front of the speakers away - a band the Bennett brothers admit to have wanted to book for the last 12 years.

Roland from The Epstein
Local bands performed on the main stage on Sunday's Oxford day

Sunday continued to please, and Sam Isaac's performance was fantastically energetic, passionate and intense. Being billed in the programme as akin to Snow Patrol was a horrific misdemeanour.

Instead, supported by a vigorous band bouncing around, the Village Pub was once again at capacity and suitably satisfied.

'Local' and 'community' are strong and very evident themes associated with Truck. Food is provided cheaply and in quality by caterers from the locality to raise money for local charities, while the now infamous reverend selling ice creams adds a unique quality to the event.

Festivals such as Truck add a totally different view on the phenomenon. Unlike the 200,000 at Glastonbury, everybody seems to know each other and they don't leave with a desperate hole in their pockets.

Oxford heroes Supergrass closed Truck 2009 to great expectation. If the ringing endorsements on the local music message boards are anything to go by they haven't lost any of that youthful pop exuberance that made them one of Oxford's most successful bands.




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