WORDS: KATIE CONWAY-FLOOD
Slam Dunk Festival has cemented itself as a central pillar to the UK’s rock, pop-punk, emo and alternative music festivals. From beginning its life in Leeds Millenium Square some fourteen years ago, situated a small-scale festival that hosted headliners Fall Out Boy for a mere £20 a ticket to broadening its horizons spreading over two days and two sites, boasting some of the best alternative acts in the industry. As well as becoming one of the most highly anticipated festivals found in alternative music’s calendar to kickstart festival season each year, Slam Dunk’s success can only be measured in the profound impact the May bank holiday event has had on other UK rock, pop-punk, emo and alternative music festivals.
Whilst Slam Dunk Festival hasn’t had heritage acts in the vein of Download headliners Kiss or Iron Maiden make their presence known in Leeds or Hatfield, Slam Dunk has subsequently been responsible for showcasing some of the best emerging talents to break out of the scene, whilst simultaneously establishing bands on the brink of hitting the big time.
A true trailblazer in championing on the cusp artists by providing them with a main stage headlining platform at the same time as housing similar smaller stages for breakout bands
A true trailblazer in championing on the cusp artists by providing them with a main stage headlining platform at the same time as housing similar smaller stages for breakout bands to fill slots upon, it’s The Acoustic, The Dickies and The Key Club stages that have made Slam Dunk become the catalyst for breaking grassroots groups and on the radar bands alike to propel their prospects into filling the gaps in future line ups elsewhere in the UK’s festival circuit. Slam Dunk has bared witnessed to watching its one time headliners such as Fall Out Boy ascend into a multi-time Reading And Leeds line up topping band and more recently, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me going from headlining the more minor Key Club stage at Slammy D to opening the major main stage on the first day of R+L 2019. It’s evident Slam Dunk has impacted the way the UK alternative festivals sort after their acts.
Very much a celebration of the alternative for the large part, Slam Dunk seeks to serve the punter with their previously aforementioned selection of stages, serving up as the perfect taster into dabbling into the sounds of crowd surfing pop-punk to headbanging metal and it seems this influence has trickled down into festivals formed after Slam Dunk’s establishment some fourteen years ago. Impacting the likes of 2000 Trees, Slam Dunk has enabled its diverse alternative line up to be spread across several stages to cater to particular target markets within the alternative genre umbrella.
Festival-goers seeking to surround themselves in more rock music can head to Slam Dunk’s Jägermeister stage, whereas the fan who favours a flavour of everything can stay in the confines of The Key Club. It seems these stage splits have had its impact on the later founded 2000 Trees, which takes genres akin to rock, punk and alternative and spreads them across their stage setups including The Cave and The Neu amongst many more, all in the name of avoiding set clashes to enable its attendees to exclusively or expansively get a live taste of their most listened to areas of alternative music.
one thing that remains is that Slam Dunk Festival will continue to be a unique one of a kind festival found nowhere else in the UK for many years to come.
From the way festivals book their emerging and established bands to how they satisfy their fans’ musical inclinations, it seems Slam Dunk directly continues to impact other UK rock, pop-punk, emo and alternative UK festivals in such means and ways. Whilst it’s an unlimited prospect getting to see the same bands at Reading And Leeds as you did earlier in the year at Slam Dunk or getting that sense of freedom to express your music taste in the stages you choose to duck and dive into at both 2000 Trees as you did earlier in the year at Slam Dunk, these very shared similarities are a testament to this very festivals significant influence and impact. Whilst a festival-less summer is forecasted for the remainder of this year, one thing that remains is that Slam Dunk Festival will continue to be a unique one of a kind festival found nowhere else in the UK for many years to come.
Slam Dunk Festival will be back next year between 29th-30th May 2021.