Slam Dunk is a unique festival – staged over 3 days in three venues nationwide. Day 1 sees the bands and their entourages assemble in Leeds, then with an exercise akin to a military manoeuvre everyone up sticks and transport themselves to Hatfield, Hertfordshire, repeating the process again on day 3 to complete the journey in Wolverhampton, West Midlands – all within 72 hours!
The crowds flock to each venue and queues form long before the 1pm opening time. Like an army the expectant crowds, adorned in the regulatory uniform of shredded t-shirt, shorts and beanie hats all appear to be competing to see who can sport the biggest or most colourful tattoo on whatever piece of skin is this year’s most ‘fashionable’ to have exposed.
Their eagerness and excitement cannot be ignored and the support for these annual events have grown apace, and no wonder, with 5 stages, each brought to life with bands playing from the moment the gates open until 10.45pm. Whichever stage, be it the Macbeth, Monster, Cheer Up, Atticus or the Kerrang boast a line up not to be missed, and the challenge is to try getting around them all or carefully selecting which bands you definitely cannot afford to miss!
Getting around needs precision planning if your choices are not to be missed or you will be swept along with the tide of highly charged fans, and once in a the midst of a set any hopes of leaving that particular venue will undoubtedly involve negotiating the multitude of crowd surfers of cutting across a mosh pit or two – good luck!
All said, despite the usual offerings of burger, chips and chicken nuggets, the copious rounds of lager, Strongbow and Monster Energy on offer and a plethora of merch tents (which actually boasted a wide selection of good quality items), the enjoyment of all those attending is clearly evident and the atmosphere hard to beat. Whether this is due to the packed set lists, the choice of the stages or the variety of music on offer in such a compact area, in one day who knows. Add to that the bonus of being up close and personal to your musical idol(s) and even being able to buy a golden ticket for just £4 that allows you to mingle at the after party, you are onto a winner, one that has proven to work.
Everyone seems to leaves happy and in good spirits – some to go home, others to continue onto the next venue, but all I am sure will agree that these events provide a much-needed platform for the British music scene to showcase talent, an arena where artists can see first hand that the fruits of their labour is fully appreciated and an opportunity for many a new artist to be discovered – long may Slamdunk continue.
Written By: Lindsy Stott