The Truck Festival - one of Oxfordshire's largest music events, regularly attracting around 120,000 people - was 21 years old this July. And the celebrations were appropriately lively. Performers included Peace, Mercury-nominated indie rockers Friendly Fires, multi-million-selling singer songwriter George Ezra and Mancunian indie-band Courteeners. There was also a special reunion set by Truck's original band (who started off the festival back in 1998), Goldrush - though they called themselves Whispering Bob in those early days in homage to legendary BBC radio presenter 'Whispering' Bob Harris who lives close to Hill Farm in the village of Steventon where Truck is staged.

The first Truck festival (the stage was on the back of a farm truck) was organised by several bandmates in Goldrush (later also known as the Dreaming Spires) to celebrate the birthday of one of their number - Robin Bennett. Although no longer directly responsible for running the very big Truck enterprise, Robin, now 40, and his brother Joe have continued to be involved and always perform at the event.

“Tickets for that first event were just £3,” Robin laughs. “And on the posters we asked people to bring a tent, poncho, peace, love, sunshine and Bob Harris. There was one burger van and no site lighting plus a few very basic latrines! The flyers had my parents' phone number on! There weren't as many music festivals back then and we were a response to the heavily commercial ventures like V Festival or Reading, seeing ourselves as rather more like a free festival. Of course Truck costs more now, but it is a very big event - though we remain very committed to giving great value.”

“You know, Whispering Bob Harris himself did turn up to some of those early events - and we were really thrilled he did,” Robin continues. “I think he must have liked us as he played one of our band's songs on his radio show. Though I think he was relieved when we renamed the band Goldrush! He has been very kind to us and still supports Truck.”

Later Robin's band enjoyed commercial success and toured America - where some of the band's former members now live. “It is great they were back here for this reunion and of course we were playing on the 'Veterans and Virgins' stage – a platform where old Truck favourites and new talent mix together. “The Truck audience is primarily young, as it always was but we ensure there is still stuff for the old timers like ourselves. Truck has been a big part of people's lives for years, now. People have met wives and husbands here, kids have been conceived here...lots of important stuff has happened here these last two decades! There have been great names performing, too...like Bellowhead, local bands Radiohead and Supergrass, Saint Etienne, the Mystery Jets, the Lemonheads, Frank Turner, so many more. I do love Truck. And this year, once again, the festival dates actually coincided with my birthday. Nobody relishes turning 40 - but this was a great way to do it!”











Related Links:

https://en-gb.facebook.com/TruckFestival/
https://truckfestival.com/
https://twitter.com/TruckFestival


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