So, Truck Festival is somehow now 12 years old. Yup, it’s that last birthday when you can still get an adoring ‘Awwwww’ by your Auntie at family gatherings and be classified as cute, before the monstrosity of puberty kicks in. And Truck definitely befalls the ‘cute’ category, held on a purty little farm in Oxfordshire, capacity topped at 5,000, and containing the friendliest festival going folk known to man. This appealed to The 405, and so it is that we went down to Hill Farm to check it out and provide photographic evidence for yourselves. Oh, plus there was a load of great music on too apparently, featuring many hidden gems to be explored. Check the slideshow at the bottom of the article, once you've finished reading of course. Saturday Truck Festival - Day 1 With 2007’s festival having to be postponed due to obscene rainfall and floods, ever since then the weather forecast has been of high interest to Truckers. Luckily, Saturday is gorgeous, sunny, with little fluffy white clouds - and a good setting to these conditions are Fanfarlo, the first band we sight today. The relaxed indie-tweesters offered their debut album Reservoir for just $1 through downloading recently (You didn’t get it? Silly), and their generosity is apparent in their performance also. A smorgasbord of instruments are thrashed, plucked and/or blown whilst being swapped about on stage, adding to the Beirut-esque swelling of melodies - with frontman Simon Balthaza bashing a drum simultaneously with the guitarist for a song. The Walls Are coming Down feels particularly special, providing a sunny melting feeling in the melting sunshine. One of the major points of Truck Fest is the fiercely independent ethos of the place, and this is even reflected in the beverages on offer; such as farm brewed real ale, alongside hugely quaff-able organic cider. None of this soulless piss-water in a logo-stricken cardboard cup crap. So after some ale slurping, it’s a very short walk to The Barn, which is exactly as it sounds – operating as a barn on the other 363 days of the year. The strong smell of cow excrement backs this fact up. Truck Festival - Day 1 A good chunk of Data Select Party's set is caught, and while they are lively and a tight-unit accompanied with jerky post-punk guitars, they perhaps seem slightly indie-by-numbers. Maybe a tad harsh, a few more listens might see them a Foals contender. We'll see. Following on are favourites of The 405 We Were Promised Jetpacks, who mange to punch everyone in the audience in the gut with their powerful, emotive presence coupled with powerful, emotive vocals of the Scottish variety. “I’ll fall for you, I’ll fall far you” pleads Adam Thompson hauntingly during Quiet Little Voices. No Adam, we’ll fall for YOU. A strong set that’s equal amounts uplifting pacey guitars and thoughtful intelligent posturing. Ooo, managed even not to mention Frightened Rabbit. Oh, wait a minute… A stroll back to The Truck Stage sees us being entertained by Wintersleep, prior to them flying home to Canada the next day. That’s right, that magical ‘Canada’ word, ever a source of musical hype. For the most they prove quite alluring, their thick, voluminous sound translating well to stage. Definitely one to check out further once the internet home comforts of the real world are available. Truck Festival - Day 1 Back to The Barn, where we seem to end up for most of the weekend. Crystal Fighters are a last minute addition, and so it is that we maintain the theme by running late and only see the last few songs of their set. But what a last few songs. Something of a small-time daytime rave is manufactured by the raucous dance-punk troupe. Ram-shackled electro fermented with Basque music of all things, and it's this combo that creates an electric energy, frontman feeding off crowd, crowd eating out of frontman's hands. So much so, that when their set is ordered to be finished by the organisers, the audience demand 'One more song!' over and over again, and so their wish is eventually granted. On departing for Truck, one of the bands that continually kept cropping up in conversation was New York-based A Place To Bury Strangers. Mostly as in ‘You’ve got to see A Place To Bury Strangers’. And how right these people were. Delightfully brooding yet melodic, a delicious bind of noisy textures utilising a multitude of guitar pedals and feedback washes through the venue. I Know I’ll See You drowns in 80’s themed attitude and shoegazey elements, as Oliver Ackermann mesmericly swoops and thrashes his guitar, and is a joy to behold. Think of a rising and falling seagull in the wind, but a moody-fucker of a seagull that knows how to rock out massively. It has to be noted also that they are louder than the sun, a government tinnitus health warning should be piped through during every interlude. Earplugs next time - worth a trip to the doctors on Monday though. Truck Festival - Day 1 Following in The Barn are Wild Beasts, a band that from a personal point of view I have yet to connect with, but determined to understand some of the hype that has been bestowed upon them. The vocals of Hayden Thorpe obviously split opinion of Marmite proportions, the falsetto croon an acquired taste to say the least. Putting this temporally aside, the 4-piece from Kendal inject some offbeat funk into The Barn, certainly a change of gear from APTBS. So while still not totally won over by them, they have gone a fair way in improving their standing. A mooch around Truck is always a pleasurable one, everywhere is within comfortable walking distance, queuing on the short side, and consistently a friendly, and yes probably drunken, ear to talk to. So with that in mind, we end up at The Market Stage, as the sign that screams ‘The Free Beer Show’ is too tempting to turn down. That’s exactly what it is, as comedian and ‘Ireland’s 7th best MC (out of 9)’ Rob Broderick hosts, literally hurling 144 cans of Fosters at audience members throughout. More importantly for a comedian, he is very funny; And spontaneous with it, even getting two audience members to race to the back of the tent in a bid for a free beer. Brilliant. Truck Festival - Day 1 Ash are a clever choice of headliner for The Truck Stage by the Bennett brothers, whom they initially tried to nab for the first ever Truck fest - adding a different dimension to the mix and a sure-fire way of creating a sing-a-long nostalgia-fest for Truckers. This is exactly what it is, Ash a well-oiled live machine many years down the line. Most of the hits are there, Burn Baby Burn and Girl From Mars being particularly well received by a welcoming crowd. It’s fair to say since the departure of Charlotte Hatherley they haven’t been the same, but none of that really matters tonight. So that concludes Saturday bar a mini-8bit-rave at The Beat-Hive, a name that produced the largest amount of wry-smiles that you ever saw. The 405 Sunday review coming soon, complete with a shiny Spotify playlist.