British festivals are a wonderful mixture of fashion oddities, clunky rides, awful weather, expensive food and brilliant bands. Truck Festival’s line-up and activities certainly was one of the choice cuts of the 2017 circuit, so Birmingham prince of indie Sam Lambeth and Thame titan Caitlin Stanway-Williams spent three days welly-deep in what Truck, and the festival experience in general, had to offer.
We awoke at 5am with mixed emotions. The crystalline beauty of the morning skyline bathed our sodden sleeping quarters, meaning the rain was now a pleasantly-fading memory. On the other hand, our neighbours had decided to host some sort of patio party, cracking open cold ones with the boys and engaging in subpar badinage that included calling their female compatriot "pottery girl". I asked from through our tent what that entailed and was called a "nosy bastard" in a Scottish brogue.
Dampness, hangovers and early starts are no excuse for poor banter, so we tried to go back to sleep but Caitlin's idea of a post-booze banquet - a fusion of Babybel and Pepparami - backfired; I awoke at 6 to see her on all-fours desperately trying to vomit out some clogged salami. What made it beautifully juxtaposed was she was doing this while dressed in an extravagant fur coat. I had never seen anyone that miserable, or that leaky, while adorned in such vintage finery.
We emptied our entire tent and let the contents dry in the sun, and with the smell of rainwater and freshly-chundered cheddar clinging to our clothes we found better banter at the breakfast bar, and were even invited to the couple's tent for some bevvies. However, we were too shy to action this, and later worried that the twosome would have spent the entire festival waiting for us anxiously inside their tee-pee.
It wasn't long until the heavens opened, though, and from then until around 10pm we were relentlessly rained upon as the main arena became a swamp. The Night Café and their backbeat beauty were the first band we heard, their hazy harmonies and the lilting 'You Change With the Seasons' giving us a slightly summery vibe. Another happy accident was OUTLYA, a polished trio with pop sensibilities, talented multi-instrumentalists and a singer both at home and humbled by their main stage slot.
If Friday had more of a middle-age feel about it, Saturday was all about the kids. A walking oxymoron of magnificent make-up and multi-layered mud, the chants of ‘oh, Jeremy Corbyn’ were deafening, despite some of them being too young to even vote for their choice of school dinner. It was fitting for VANT, a band who aren’t afraid to tackle the big issues, although their stage banter saw them make the most of the conditions and implore the crowd to engage in a mud fight. They oblige, various brown components being flung during the frantic ‘PARKING LOT’ and the pummelling ‘DO YOU KNOW ME’.
Swaths of sequined teens swarmed to the front of the stage and hands soared, feet stomped and ovaries exploded for the double-punch of Will Joseph Cook and Sundara Karma. Making Declan McKenna look like Cliff Richard, Cook may spend his free time signing Red Stripe-soaked training bras, but his bleach-blonde bellowing has the crowd in the palm of his hand. Sundara, too, have their own indie Adonis in long-locked frontman Oscar Lulu, and even the two of us, the only people present over the age of 18, find ourselves lost in the pomp of 'She Said'. However, we soon realised we resembled the jittery uncle and aunt at a wedding, watching a gang of kids who must have been freezing their denimed buttocks off, so we left the youths to their Snapchat stories and went for our first festival interview.
If you've never conducted a face-to-face interview before, they're not as glamorous as you'd expect, and there are certain rules to follow. Be knowledgeable. Be human. And don't ask for selfies. We were led down to the artists' estate, which was actually a succession of portacabins akin to a glossier German market. Mattie and Henry from VANT were friendly and thought-provoking, and their answers to our politically-minded questions helped us come up with a solid idea for an article. After a ten minute slot, where you sit and chat next to a stale-looking rider, you're led away but the experience is still a thrill, particularly when the interviewee engages with your questions. I still find interviews nerve-wracking, but it's important to get pushed out of your comfort zone. We left the press tent just as The Magic Gang barrelled in moaning about the mud on their brogues.
The Wombats had that knowing wink to nostalgia and we frolicked to 'Techno Fan' as a slew of young girls, polite feminists with strong views and wild haircuts, adopted Caitlin as their cooler older sister, fawning excitedly over her colour of hair (red) and form of wine (bag). This continued during The Libertines' commendably tight set, when a girl - aged anywhere between seven and 17 - confided in Caitlin her other friends were struck in a camp K hole and she was alone. We tried to combine watching the Libs with looking after our new daughter, but we got engrossed in pondering over Pete Doherty's penis - surely years of harsh heroin abuse had rendered his man marrow a veinless, decorative stump? We were still debating this when we saw the girl get taken away by a raving old couple in brightly-coloured wigs.
We were in the mood for some post-gig festivities, but we found every tent to be a rammed, ket-cramped collection of bad drum & bass and bucket-hatted ravers, so we ended up going to the cinema, where they were halfway through a screening of Jaws. Sat amongst a curious congregation of excited tweens and comatose adults, all I knew of Jaws was that he was a killing machine. Throughout our time watching, though, he only slaughtered one unimportant boater. We found ourselves crying and shouting at the screen for Jaws to kill, but it never happened. We began to ponder if maybe our knowledge of Jaws was all wrong - maybe it was a psychological thriller examining why he killed. Maybe his actual crime was loving too much. Maybe he was a shady politician with nothing to lose.
We ended up discovering, much later, that John Jaws only kills five people throughout the entire film. Earlier in the festival, we had watched another Jaws perform, namely the Birmingham beach-pop merchants. Whether or not they have killed more than five people remains to be seen, but they were certainly much more thrilling.