TURNING 21 is a big occasion for anyone, but when it comes to one of Oxfordshire’s longest-running festivals, the celebrations can be expected to be especially lively.

This summer Truck Festival gets it’s key to the door and is throwing the mother of all 21st birthday parties. And wait til you see who has been invited!

Chief revellers at the new look four-night festival at Hill Farm, Steventon, from July 19-22, are Peace – who headline the festival’s first ever Thursday slot; Mercury-nominated indie rockers Friendly Fires, who top the bill on Friday; and four-time Brit-nominated and multi million selling singer- songwriter George Ezra who takes top slot on Saturday.

There’s an equally big name for Sunday – which cannot be announced yet for contractural reasons, but which is set to have indie-rock fans bouncing.

Marking Truck’s swing back to its local roots, there will also be a set by Gaz Coombes – the former Supergrass artist showcasing tunes from his new album. Also pitching up at Hill Farm are hip-hop pioneers De La Soul, Jake Bugg, Everything Everything, Circa Waves, The Amazons, Rat Boy, The Sherlocks, Moose Blood, We Are Scientists, Kurupt FM, Shy FX and Redlight – among many others.

Festival organiser Matt Harrap said: “We’re extremely excited to announce our first wave of artists for this year’s show.

“Having artists of the calibre of George Ezra and Friendly Fires coming to headline the event after many years of asking is truly humbling and their sets will no doubt live long in the memory.

“Returning heroes Peace will be the perfect way to kick off the festival with our first ever Thursday headliners. Personally, I’m really excited to have the legend that is Gaz Coombes back at his favourite festival for the first time since 2013 as well as some brilliant up and coming local talent such as Low Island, Little Brother Eli and Kanadia.

“Mix in the likes of De La Soul, Jake Bugg and Everything Everything and the epic Switch takeover of Palm City then we’ve got a real party!”

He adds: “What’s even more exciting is this is only the beginning with a special Sunday headliner due to be announced very soon. With ticket sales ahead of last years, we really recommend not hanging around!”

Truck was inadvertently launched by brothers Robin and Joe Bennett in 1998 – beginning as a rough and ready birthday celebration for Robin.

The brothers, who grew up in Steventon, handed over control for the 2012 event after running into financial difficulties, but remain involved, Robin programming The Saloon stage and Joe curating the Veterans and Virgins stage – both featuring performances by the lads with their own band The Dreaming Spires and as part of other groups. The pair also run Truck’s environmentally-friendly sister event Wood Festival.

Over the years it has played host to the likes of Supergrass, Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, Edwyn Collins, Graham Coxon, Biffy Clyro, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Radiohead’s Philip Selway, Mystery Jets, The Lemonheads, Ash, Teenage Fanclub, Mercury Rev, Saint Etienne, British Sea Power, The Low Anthem and Guillemots.

The Libertines, Vaccines and Franz Ferdinand headlined last year.

Despite the big names, it still prides itself as the ‘anti major festival’.

Gaz said he was delighted to be returning, adding: “Very excited to be joining the line up at Truck Festival this year. See you in the fields my lovelies!”

He joins a wealth of Oxfordshire artists such as the aforementioned Kanadia, Little Brother Eli and Low Island, along with I Cried Wolf, Leader, the Oxford Symphony Orchestra and the Switch DJs.

Other Oxfordshire bands hoping to get involved are invited to sign up for its Band App (truckfestival.com/contact/band-app) which offers the chance for local artists to submit their music to organisers and be considered for a spot to play the festival.

Matt said: “We listen to every single submission.”

Artists should submit their music by March 30.

The Amazons, who were tipped for stardom in the BBC Sound of 2017 and released their debut last year, praised Truck for championing the local music scene and new artists, saying:

“We remember playing Truck Festival in 2016. It was one of the craziest crowds we’d ever got at that point in our careers.

“We are excited to be returning to a festival that’s a stone’s throw away from our home in Berkshire, and one that has been an excellent supporter of local music for the last few years.”

The Truck Festival 2018 line up so far:

Friendly Fires, George Ezra, De La Soul, Jake Bugg, Everything Everything, Circa Waves, Peace, The Amazons, Rat Boy, Gaz Coombes, The Sherlocks, Moose Blood, We Are Scientists, Kurupt FM, Shy FX, Redlight, Holy Goof, Skepsis, Darkzy, Dimension, Macky Gee, Bru C, Switch DJ’s, MJ Cole, Barely Legal, The Magic Gang, Marika Hackman, Coasts, Blaenavon,Tom Walker, Pale Waves, HMTLD, Gengahr, Jaws, Black Honey, Dream Wife, Boston Manor, Turbowolf, The Night Cafe ,The Orielles, Low Island, High Tyde, Anteros , Naaz, Girli, Stereo Honey, Whenyoung ,Pink Kink, Bloxx, Bloody Knees, The Spook School, Gaffa Tape Sandy, Fang Club, Sorry Sports Team, Lady Bird, Nervus, Happy Accidents, Bessie Turner, Gender Roles, Hotel Lux, Magique, Leader, Kanadia, Little Brother Eli, I Cried Wolf, DJ Elban, Mr Motivator, Oxford Symphony Orchestra.

  • Tickets from truckfestival.com