With festival season well and truly underway with some big names already taking to the fields and parks of the U.K. I look towards one of the big major festivals in England that kicks off part one of two this weekend in Leeds. Slam Dunk Festival.
Since its first introduction in 2007 in a single venue, Slam Dunk has grew and grew into the highly anticipated summer showcase that it is today. From one venue to spread around Leeds city centre to its new home since 2019 at Temple Newsam. It has even spread from Leeds to its twined event down south in the centre of Hatfield. The festival is a must for anyone in the alt scene and beyond and it’s a perfect kick start to any festival season.
The organisers have been tasked with several hurdles on the build up to this weekends event with one or two drop outs along the way but being as good as they are, the issues have been overcome and the festival is one of the biggest in its ever successful history. The most notable absence was Rancid who were later replaced by punk stalwarts The Dropkick Murphys whilst ska punk legends The Mighty Mighty Bosstones called it time on their career and won’t be featured.
Despite the stumbling blocks, the festival have pulled it off and I’ll take a look at the top 5 artists that are a must see across the day. With 6 stages spread across the site housing over 50 artists from the UK to the US, it’s safe to say there’s no shortage of talent on the go suitable for all.
First to check out is the first artist to kick off the day on the Jägermeister Stage – fresh of the back of her huge support slots with My Chemical Romance, up steps Essex born Cassyette. Bursting on to the scene in 2018 with debut single Push n Pull, the singer/songwriter makes her first appearance at the festival bringing a raw mix of pop and rock with modern day electronic to a very seriously well crafted and jaw dropping set.
Skipping across the stages later in the day on the Rock Scene Stage, Manchester’s emo power pop duel band Hot Milk. Anyone who has seen this powerhouse before know exactly what’s to be expected – an explosive set that see’s front duo Hannah Mee & James Shaw leap around the stage making sure they own it from the offset. You can fully expect to find yourself deep in one or two mosh pits but regardless of the song, you’ll be part of something special with a full scale crowd sing-along.
From the UK homeland to the land down under – New South Wales band Yours Truly take the journey from Oz to take to the Slam Dunk stage once again. Formed in 2016, the pop punk have a sizable backlog the dates as far back as 2017 with the debut ep Too Late for Apologies to their debut studio album Self Care in 2020. In 2021 the band were credited as one of the several bands who reinvented pop punk – catch them at lunchtime on the Rock Sound Stage.
America is very well represented and sitting high on the bill is Ohio hardcore punk/metalcore band Beartooth who are no strangers to the UK festival scene and will be welcomed back to Yorkshire with open arms. With 4 albums behind them, the 5-piece aren’t short of a hit that can whip the crowd into a frenzy. One of the more heavier bands to grace the stages this year and a band that is bringing a high sense of excitement with them. Expect to see pits from the side to the other and a never ending sea of crowd surfers – if that alone doesn’t fill the buzz then what can? Trust me.
Now it would be rude not to take a look at who tops this years bill. With the disappointment of pulling out of the 2021 edition due to covid restrictions, Sum 41 make a highly anticipated return to the UK to close of the festival – a band that really don’t need an introduction. Since their formation in 1996, The Sums (for those who know, know) have slowly but effectively built their empire to what it is now and are undoubtably well positioned as festival headliners. You can be sure to hear the old time classics like Fat Lip & The Hell Song and for those American Pie lovers out there, In Too Deep – a song thats raked up 300 millions streams on Spotify alone.
In 2019 the band dropped their most recent studio album Order In Decline that won Rock Album of the year before later announcing record number eight Heaven and Hell will be dropping this year – teasers have already been dropped for what’s to come with 2021 single Catching Fire that saw a collab with Nothing, Nowhere.
As hard as it is to cover all corners of the festival – Slam Dunk 2022 is not short of old and fresh new talents to check out. Welsh rockers Neck Deep, Alexisonfire and metal band Cancer Bats – new talents like As December Falls and power duo Nova Twins to name a few. Be sure to get along to what’s set to be a special weekend of music.