Photo taken by the amazing Jemma Dodd
Every year Slam Dunk Festival pull out all the stops to produce one of the best weekend’s in the musical calendar and for about four years I’ve had to double up on sites due to the sheer number of bands. Mixing up between the Northern Leeds site, the Midlands site in Birmingham and the ‘London’ site located in Hatfield is always good fun as it means I get to see way more music, although I always end up missing something I love due to 453123132132 clashes.
This year I headed to Birmingham on Saturday 27th to catch day one of the festivals at the NEC arena. Last year was the first time it was held here and it actually ran pretty smoothly and this year it was even better with things more spread out so there was less queues and backlog. I actually think the Midlands leg is my favourite of all three.
After a wedding on Sunday, I headed to Hatfield University for the final show out of the trio on Bank Holiday Monday. This time I wasn’t alone and took alone my other half to show him why I love festivals so much and to catch up with the million other people I knew going that day. For this show, I had made some playlists for him and let him totally decide what we saw during the day which resulted in me seeing things I’d have never normally gone to see.
Instead of just listing all the bands I saw (which was about 20+) here’s five reasons why it was my favourite weekend.
Photo taken by the amazing Jemma Dodd
Discovering so many new bands
I ended up seeing quite a lot of new bands over the weekend, bands I’ve been meaning to see for ages and some bands I’d never really heard much of and I loved it. I have been making an effort to do this more and Slamdunk gave me a great chance. I think I saw about seven new acts over the weekend which for someone who goes to as many live shows as I do is quite a feat. A small band I saw in London thanks to my other half was Vukovi who were so good and such a lot of fun and probably my favourite new band of the whole weekend.
We bid farewell to We Are The Ocean
We Are The Ocean decided to call it quits but wanted to play some final shows to say farewell to fans and Slamdunk was the final leg of this. I saw their full set in Midlands and the final three songs again in London and it was such a beautiful experience. There were so many people around singing along to the band’s tracks and of course it played like a complete ‘best of’ set like you’d imagine. WATO have actually played Slamdunk Festival more times than any other band so it’s going to be weird heading back next year without them in sight. It was a beautiful tribute and farewell to a great band.
I got to see 2 of my favourite bands
Beartooth and Bury Tomorrow are two of my favourite bands and it was great to be able to see both of them pretty much back to back playing the main stage. I opted to see them both at the Midlands leg as my other half wasn’t bothered about seeing them and it was great as this was an inside stage as opposed to London’s outdoor main stage. Bury Tomorrow was sadly cut short due to technical difficulties meaning they overrun but they smashed through a great energetic setlist. Beartooth though was on another level and probably my favourite band of the whole festival, every time I see them I am reminded how great a frontman Caleb is.
Enter Shikari’s Take To The Skies anniversary show
The main headliners of the whole weekend were Enter Shikari who were playing their debut album ‘Take To The Skies’ in full for it’s 10 year anniversary. For me this album is hugely important as Shikari are a local band for me so going back 12 years’ ago when I was an impressionable teenager heading to local shows in dingy bars every week this was a band who I saw multiple times and the songs from this album soundtracked such a huge part of these years of my life. There are some tracks from the album which I just don’t remember seeing live all those years’ ago and plenty I love which I never thought I’d get the chance to hear again so this show was an incredible experience. Fortunately being inside for the Midlands show I think the lighting show was even better than what I saw when I walked past in London.
It was a pop-punk fuelled party
One of the great things about Slamdunk is the amount of pop-punk about with various stages showcasing bands from this genre. Now I go to a lot of shows where the music is a tad heavier so I love going to Slamdunk and it just feels like a massive party where everyone is happy and dancing. From old-time legends like Reel Big Fish to fantastic newer bands like Decade and Set It Off, everything about this type of music makes me smile.