This year was the first year of Slam Dunk Festival South. The pop-punk festival, which has previously only taken place in Leeds, this year has expanded to the South – To the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.
It worked in a similar way to that of the Reading and Leeds Festivals. The bands perform for one day, then travel overnight to reach the next venue and play the next day.
We arrived in Hatfield to be greeted with rain – a must have for any British festival. I had come mainly to see Against Me!, I will be posting a review of their new album, White Crosses soon. I was also interested to see Alkaline Trio, I discovered both of these bands due to the wonders of Spotify! However I was keen to have a listen to Capdown and Sonic Boom Six aswell.
I arrived hoping to discover some new bands, and this I definitely did. For such a small festival, there were a huge number of bands performing. There were over 35 bands on from 3pm to 11pm, on around 7 different stages. There were two main stages, the first, the Jagermeister stage featured the headliners Alkaline Trio, whilst the other featured the second headliners, New Found Glory.
Our first stop was the Vans Acoustic Stage, to see The Skints, a London-based Ska/Reggae group. I was a bit disappointed with the sound setup, as the bass drowned out everything else, we couldn’t even hear the vocals. However, I was pretty impressed by band member Marcia Richards. She started off on the keyboard, then switched to flute, then to sax, then melodica, as well as singing backing vocals! I have since had a listen to them properly, and have fallen in love! Check out ‘Bright Girl’ from their debut album ‘Live. Breathe. Build. Believe.’
We then switched over to the acoustic stage, sponsored by Macbeth, to see Portia Conn. She had a really great voice, and clever lyrics – check out her new single on iTunes. Also on the acoustic stage was Sam Little playing very cheesy, feelgood acoustic pop. He too had a great voice, and continued to play unplugged after technical problems stopped his mic from working.
Next on the list was Me Vs Hero, at the Off the Wall Stage, where I experienced my very first Wall Of Death!! It wasn’t really my thing, with a combination of pop-punk and screamo, but I have to admit that they really got the crowd going, with Human Pyramids, Walls of Death and Mosh Pits!
Also at the Off the Wall were Sonic Boom Six – one of my new favourite bands! They worked their way through all the hits, including Piggy In the Middle, Sound of a Revolution, Strange Transformations and Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang. I love their mix of Punk, Rap, Reggae and Ska, and their trombone player was awesome!
This was where it all went wrong… There had been a heavy downpour of rain, and everyone who had been outside, was trying to shelter inside. At the same time, two bands from the indoor stages had just finished, so everybody was either trying to get in, or get out. I found myself squashed against a window for 2o minutes, while the security tried to get everyone out.
After about 30 minutes, after I had finally got outside, Security realised they couldn’t deal with it, and had no idea what to do, so they simply locked the door, leaving hundreds stranded outside in the rain, with only a few people remaining inside to see the bands. This left some people missing the bands that they had travelled miles to come and see, eventually including part of the New Found Glory set. You can see the mess this made below..
I still have too much left to write about Slam Dunk, so I will continue this in my next post.