MUSIC lovers in Oxfordshire are once again being given first chance to snap up tickets for one of the country's best-loved festivals.

Over the past decade, Truck Festival, which is held at Hill Farm in Steventon, near Abingdon, has grown into a showcase for local, national and international talent, attracting fans from around the UK.

Tickets for this year's, 11th Truck Festival go on sale on Wednesday. But, to ensure the event keeps its local flavour, they will be available first from a handful of local shops.

Queues are expected at The Scribbler, SS20, Videosyncratic and Music Box, in Oxford; Mostly Books in Abingdon; Baby John's in Didcot; Toby English Books in Wallingford; and Rapture in Witney, with festival-goers keen to grab £60 tickets before they go on general release a few days later on the festival website

Anyone unable to get to one of the stockists, is advised to register on the Truck website in advance. They will then be sent an email allowing them how to purchase tickets online.

Although the full line-up has not yet been unveiled, Truck has revealed a selection of some of the artists who will be playing over the weekend July 19 and 20.

Among them are Morrison Steam Fayre, Maps, Camera Obscura, Noah and the Whale, The Television Personalities, Emmy the Great, Small Faces legend Ian Maclagan, Martin Simpson, These New Puritans, Lovers, and Danny & the Champions of the World.

Oxfordshire artists lined-up to play include Little Fish, Richard Walters, The Winchell Riots, Alphabet Backwards, Tristan and the Troubadours, Borderville, This Town Needs Guns and The Family Machine.

Cult clubnight Abort, Retry, Fail? based at Oxford's Cellar club, will host a night featuring a live set by Robots in Disguise, while the Cellar's Fresh Out The Box night will stage what is being billed as 'the best rave ever'.

More than 5,000 people descended on Hill Farm, for 2006's festival - but last year's was postponed to September after torrential rain left the site flooded.

The cancellation left organisers with a £10,000 bill and threatened the event's long-term survival.

However, organiser Robin Bennett said the success of the rescheduled event, and a weekend-long benefit concert at Oxford Brookes University, had put the festival back into the black.

Thousands of pounds were also donated to charity through the volunteer-run bar and food stalls.

Mr Bennett said: "We want Truck to retain its local flavour.

"It was becoming a national festival, and local people who weren't quick enough off the draw were missing out. We want to give them the chance to come.

"Truck is an Oxfordshire festival - that's part of its charm."

Referring to the line-up, he said: "There will be further big announcements to come."

Truck is also holding a small-scale eco-friendly festival called Wood, at Braziers Park, near Wallingford, from May 16-18. Acts include Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly; Ashley Hutchings; King Creoste; Stornoway, The Epstein; and Danny and the Champions of the World.

Truck on Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, at 11.11am (it is the 11th Truck Festival after all! ) from:

  • Oxford: The Scribbler (01865 727524); SS20 (0845 658 5520); Music Box (01865 204119); and Videosyncratic, in Cowley Road and Summertown (01865 792220).
  • Abingdon: Mostly Books (01235 525880).
  • Didcot: Baby John's/Windjammer (01235 818 511).
  • Witney: Rapture (01993 700567).
  • Reading: Guitar Works (01189 589333).
  • High Wycombe: Counter Culture (01494 463366).

Check for news and ticket updates on Truck and Wood.