Friday, 8 June 2012


It is with a tinge of sadness I’m unable to make it to my third Beautiful Days festival this year and with the recent announcement that tickets have sold out it is now not even a remote possibility. However, if I am to refrain from turning into my grouchy Mr Grump alter-ego (there’s even a Mr Grump costume but if I show you the pictures I’d have to kill you), my hunger for live music and the festival experience must be suitably fed.

Ever since one of my favourite recent indie bands, TheLast Republic, announced they were to play I’ve been eyeing up TruckFestival. It’s relatively local to me so this will of course keep travel costs to a minimum. Plus, it’s celebrating its fifteenth year in style with a stellar line-up. Add to this the incredible value for money of the tickets and it really should be a no brainer. Although I make a point of kicking myself each morning as I get out of bed for missing out on the early bird tickets which were a steal at such a reduced cost!

With the festival season now in full swing it is make your mind up time if you haven’t already got tickets to one. Truck Festival is one fully worthy of consideration and what The Guardian calls, ‘the Godfather of small festivals’. With a swift glance at the stellar line-up I mentioned, it is easy to see why it carries such a lofty, yet well deserved nickname. This is an independent music festival located between Abingdon and Didcot at Hill Farm near Steventon in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. Boasting a cutting edge policy with a varied and eclectic mix of music featuring anything from alternative country folk to heavy rock and everything else you can possibly imagine in-between; there is something to keep everyone fully entertained.

This diamond of a festival is rooted firmly in the indie music scene having been initially set up by brothers Robin and Joe Bennett (of the band The Dreaming Spires) in protest at the rapidly growing commerciality of the more mainstream festivals. It is free from any corporate sponsorship so there is never any corporate agenda trying to lure in festival goers. While naturally it has grown over the years it still manages to maintain its relatively small family-friendly size enticing around 5,000 music fans with a continually lip licking, mouth watering tasty treat of a line-up. This backed up by its renowned facilities including affordably priced real ales and local ciders as well as a tantalizing cocktail bar.

Showcasing music across three stages, the smallest of which is called The Barn and is quite literally a cow-shed, there’s also a second and main stage. The land is a fully working farm closing only temporarily in order to host the event. This may induce humorous images of cows showing off their Morris dancing skills or pigs head banging to a crackling tune (how could I resist that one?) but the only animals inside the barn come festival time will be music animals eager to sap up every morsel from the bands or artists up on stage. With a special nod to the environment The Barn has been fitted with a new solar panel covered roof serving to power the stage inside it. In addition all the bins on site form part of a recycling initiative so a large amount of revellers doesn’t have to mean a mountain of trash for ghastly landfill.

Running over two nights (Friday and Saturday) as opposed to the typical three also means workers don’t have to eat too much into their annual leave or rush off so fast they’re at risk of generating a gale force wind and giving themselves a hernia in the process. Instead there’s an opportunity to continue at the leisurely pace of festival life, perhaps even stopping by a nice country pub on the way home for a Sunday roast. That’s if you don’t smell too funky by the end of your two night camping and use of chemical toilets, of course.

This anniversary line-up includes the likes of Guillemots, KingCharles, Frightened Rabbit, Villagers, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly and US indie folk band The Low Anthem. Friday’s headliners are the multi-talented funny man Tim Minchin and Mystery Jets while Saturday night sees BritishSea Power and The Temper Trap close the main stage in kickass style. Too many great acts to mention them all but a few worthy of special attention include the Bennett brothers, The Dreaming Spires showcasing music from their debut album Brothers in Brooklyn and Welsh post-rockers The Last Republic with their own unique alternative anthems. It will be a great treat for the crowd as this band has a host of new tunes to test out following on from smash hit debut album Parade. Finally, fresh from dates supporting Noah and the Whale and following her own mini headline tour is singer-songwriter Lucy Rose.
With tickets priced at just £69 including full camping and not having to pay even a lone penny for under 12’s you best get clicking for your tickets and quick before they’re all snapped up. With a line-up like this it is one top value for money weekend that should not be missed!

Visit for all necessary information.

Brothers in Brooklyn:

As I mentioned above, The Dreaming Spires have their debut album Brothers in Brooklyn due out on Monday 11th June and you can stream all 11 fantastic tracks via the Club House Records Soundcloud page << here >> which I have embedded below for you to check out. This is also available via the For Folks Sake website where Robin has written a track-by-track guide.

I pre-ordered my copy last week from the Club House Records website following a wonderful promotion whereby you also receive a free signed limited edition 7" vinyl of the single Everything All the Time. After having my ears tantalised by these marvellous musical melodies I'm even more excited about receiving my copy next week.

But Wait...

Also for your very listening pleasure and in preparation of their appearance at the festival check out these three great new songs from The Last Republic. These three songs have since been taken down from Soundcloud but you can still check out Living in the Dark and Out of Reach at the band's soundcloud page >> here.

And Finally.....

I thought I'd round off this post with a video of The Low Anthem singing the beautiful lamentation that is Charlie Darwin. I recorded this at last year's Beautiful Days Festival and I'm really glad I'll be getting to see them play again this year.

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