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8th August 2018

Review: TRUCK Festival

TRUCK Festival’s celebration of female-fronted bands is refreshing and welcome — in doing so, the small indie-focused festival has become a leader in furthering the cause for feminism in music.
Review: TRUCK Festival
TRUCK Festival

“I am not my body, I am somebody” roared the crowd at the feet of Rakel, Dream Wife’s lead singer, a powerful front-woman and one of many who would take to and then take ownership of the stage that weekend.

The sentiment of her words are especially pertinent amongst growing claims of sexual assault being prevalent within the UK festival circuit, yet with many festivals actively addressing these issues, often the line-ups themselves are disappointingly male-centric. However, this year it seems some festivals, such as Truck, a small indie, rock and punk festival held in Oxford, are stepping up. From stunning solo women such as Naaz, to full-on bass to drums female bands such as The Big Moon and Dream Wife to front-women powerhouses such as Fickle Friends and Anteros this line-up, if you knew what you were doing, could be all talent, all women, all day.

These front-women have a stage presence which sets them apart, making them, in my opinion, destined for a main stage slot. There’s a sense that they have something to prove, which means they have to capture the audience, drawing them in and once they have them they do not waste a single second because they really do have something to say.

Dream Wife are a perfect example of this. A power trio birthed at a Brighton art school whose pop power-punk masterpieces are cheeky and all consuming; their crowd lost completely. These girls are properly cool, there’s no doubt about that; true heartbreakers, and their fans lapped it all up.

Another Brighton band; Fickle Friends are alluring and irresistible and they turn every stage they step onto into a party, with TRUCK being no different. Their undeniably catchy songs stretch from one night stands to mental health — their young fans know every single word. It’s no surprise that they just keep growing, packing out festival tents such as this and venues across the country after the release of their debut album; a joyous celebration of indie-pop.

As if we weren’t giddy enough already, Black Honey took to the stage just an hour later. Izzy, their front-woman, was a psychedelic vision of red eyebrows contrasted with a brilliant blue bob as she threw herself from the stage into the arms of Black Honey’s adoring fans. Their music is a lesson in powerful, catchy excellence and their pop-punk sound filled the tent with the aching nostalgia and pin-up girl power they have down to a tee.

The Big Moon are the new understated queens of indie-rock. Their growing cult-like following bounced in unison at their feet as the girls jammed out on stage, delivering another spotless performance. This gathering fame, recently teaming up with Marika Hackman (another angelic voice at the festival) has barely touched them, making them relatable, relevant, and ultimately the indie-rock band you want to befriend. No pretences, just great music; they remain honest, heart-warming and outrageously talented and will have you cry-dancing at every chorus.

Anteros was the god of requited love and his reincarnation took to the stage in the form of the goddess that is the band’s frontwoman, Laura. She was met with a throbbing crowd of fans, returning the love they so deserve. Destined to be legends of indie dream-pop, it was physically impossible to stand still, even in the aching heat. Their set came to a close with a heart-to-heart, Laura’s silver jumpsuit clad legs swinging over the edge of the stage as she touched upon themes of self-acceptance and society’s expectations of image and self-worth, before leaping to her feet and into a fabulous rendition of their self-titled hit.

If you’re looking for something rougher and just generally eerier, Goat Girl are the grunge-punk girl band for you. They transformed their tent with choruses which built, moody and slow before erupting into a moshing frenzy, effortlessly enchanting their crowd of old and newer fans (myself included). They are delectably dark and perfectly rough around the edges.

And this is just skimming the surface (be sure to add Naaz, Pale Waves and Marika Hackman to your summer playlists as well). These women bring the kind of new energy that’s often lacking when music festivals pick the same tired old few headliners.

Within the next few years, these women have the potential to fill that void; they are already overflowing from the small stages. They have something to say and we believe it needs to be heard. So if anyone asks where the women are at, here they are, and I for one will be dancing my heart out when they headline next year.

Written by Winona Newman.

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