Slam Dunk Festival has really grown over the years. It started in 2006 with a seven band line-up in Millennium Square, Leeds, and before that it took the form of a humble club night. This year the punk/metal festival returned with a shiny new location: Temple Newsam, and an infrastructure that pushed it into the big leagues. Happily it didn’t lose it’s modest ticket price - something for which we’re all incredibly grateful. The new set up worked a treat, the stages were set out across the site close enough to band hop, which saved panic about missing favourite acts, and there was no queuing for stages like previous years: it was super easy to navigate.
The food and drink offering was ace: bars dealt well with the demand for drinks, and no hungry festival goer was left disappointed with the snacks available. As with all festivals, it never hurts to have a couple of extra WCs, though.
The ‘secret’ band for Slam Dunk wasn’t a huge surprise (the hint ‘Y3K’ left little to the imagination) but the crowd's reaction was amazing anyway. Slam Dunk may have an audience that traditionally likes heavier music but you wouldn’t have known it when Busted came out. People were bursting out of the tent as screaming fans desperately fought their way to the front with their disgruntled partners in tow. They opened with one of their latest songs from the album Half Way There, before mixing in classic bangers like Year 3000, Air Hostess and What I Go to School For. The rest of the day consisted of stage hopping to see some fantastic acts and discovering new music along the way - Kublai Khan sounded great, and that was the first time I’d ever heard them. Of course it rained (it is a festival after all) but that certainly didn’t dampen spirits.
The headline clash at the end was a tense one between NOFX, All Time Low and Bullet For My Valentine. Bullet For My Valentine clinched it for me, and I’m happy to say that they smashed it out of the park.
Till next year Slam Dunk, you were incredible!