Despite the fact that the first Truck festival, held in Oxfordshire, England, used flatbed trailers as makeshift bandstands, that’s not how the event got its moniker. According to Robin Bennett, who with his brother and Goldrush bandmate Joe Bennett started Truck in 1998, the annual music festival is actually named for Ten Trucking Greats, a compilation CD of kitsch ’70s trucker tunes. But whatever the story behind the name, from April 30 to May 2 those who dig cutting-edge indie sounds will want to join the convoy headed to the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, where the Bennett brothers will present the very first Truck America festival.
In addition to celebrated local outfits Mercury Rev, Ida, and Mike & Ruthy, the three-day gala also promises appearances by Hudson Valley-to-Brooklyn transplants Hopewell, Canadian roots rockers the Sadies, Brooklyn alt-poppers White Rabbits, Americana artist Tim Easton, Slow Dive / Mojave 3 main man Neil Halstead, Welsh power trio the Joy Formidable, and a still-growing roster of intriguing indie acts that also includes the Bennetts’ new project, Dusty & the Dreaming Spires.
“We don’t really play too many festivals—we’re more comfortable in more intimate venues, but [Truck America] looks like a really good one and we’re excited about being invited to play,” says Ida’s Daniel Littleton, who with his wife and bandmate Elizabeth Mitchell recently appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” in reggae king Ziggy Marley’s backup band. “We actually played at the Full Moon Resort once before, for a friend’s wedding. It’s a really beautiful spot. And the fact that’s it right down the road from Woodstock, where we live, is pretty great for us too." [Laughs] (See Mike Wolf’s review of Ida’s new album with folk legend Michael Hurley, Ida Con Snock, elsewhere in this issue of Chronogram.)
With an attendance record of 5,000 people, Truck is one of Britain’s more modest music fests—biggies like Glastonbury consistently draw in the 150,000 range—and is lauded for its small-scale, family atmosphere. Headliners during the festival’s previous seasons have included Supergrass, the Lemonheads, Regina Spektor, Battles, and the Raveonettes. Held at Oxfordshire’s rustic Hill Farm, the performances each year are recorded for a live compilation released on the organizers’ Truck Records label.
Like its current UK incarnation, Truck America will offer sets by acts at three indoor venues: the Barn, the Roadhouse, and the Main stage, the last of which is inside a large, heated tent. On top of the above-mentioned artists, also booked to perform are up-and-comers Cat Martino, the Silent League, Common Prayer, Oxygen Ponies, Brandon Patton, Atlantic/Pacific, the Shoestring Band, and many more. In addition to the live music, attractions include workshops, film screenings, jam sessions, and kids' activities.
Three-day passes for the festival include free camping, but those from outside of the area who aren’t amenable to sleeping out under the (hopefully) star-filled night skies will be pleased to know that the resort has a range of rooms available for rent nightly or the entire weekend. A bit of advice for all you Truckers, however: Watch out for Smokey when you’re rolling up Route 28.
The Truck America festival will take place from April 30 through May 2 at Full Moon Resort in Big Indian. (845) 254-5117; www.thisistruck.com.