Slam Dunk Festival has become something of an institution to us, with us having attended for the previous three years. Of course, with a line-up this fantastic we had to take part again this year, and every minute we spent there was utterly fantastic!
Review by Jane Howkins
Photos by Chris Mackins
Instead of being held in Leeds city centre, the festival has now expanded to Temple Newsam Park, and the site certainly seemed like an improvement, for the most part. Long lines at the bar and cash machines was a bit of of a pain for some, and the sizing of the site didn’t always seem right, but we generally found that we preferred the new site. Now onto the bands…
We spend most of the day at the Punk In Drublic Stage, where most of the bands featured were from the hallowed halls of the skate punk glory days. The first band we saw were political punk band Anti-Flag, who warmed the crowd up perfectly. Sound issues affected the stage across the day, but moving forwards towards the stage improved things immensely, and the raft of stagedivers so early on showed how exciting the day was for all involved. We stayed there to watch Mad Caddies, who’s ska-punk vibe brought a different feel to the day than a lot of the other bands on display, allowing a nice change in pace.
The Interrupters were up next, and these guys are definitely tipped to become big in the near future! They’ve had an awesome rise within the punk ranks over the last year or so, and their own style of pop-punk managed to straddle the borders of both those genres perfectly. Up next were skate punk stalwarts Lagwagon, who put on a fantastic set as always. We’ve seen these guys perform a few times, and they never disappoint, and despite a few sound issues, they put on a fantastic show, with a lot of crowd pleasers and singalongs thrown in for good measure.
We went to check out Simple Plan next, finding ourselves surprised by how much we enjoyed their set. Whilst their music gets a bit of a bad bad rep at times, they were clearly very excited to be there, and the vast singalongs suggested that the audience felt the same too. Less Than Jake were up next, and as anyone who has been to a ska-punk festival in the past few years will know, their sets are legendary within the community. Full of fun tracks and humour, the band were clearly a fan favourite, and for good reason!
Bad Religion were the next band on our list, and the one act that we were most excited for. They have recently released a new album, and their set was surprisingly mixed with songs new and old. The crowd ate it all up, showing that you’re never too old to rock! They’re a fantastic live band, and we really recommend you catch them in future if you have a chance!
The penultimate band of the day for us was The Menzingers, who’s own brand of folk punk seemed to fit in surprisingly well with the rest of the music on show here. Our only quandary was that they should have been on a bigger stage, but they gave it their all, and put on a great show as always. Last but not least, it was time to see punk legends NOFX, who managed to draw a pretty big crowd, despite the fact that a lot of the punters seemed to have left the festival by this point. They played a set full of old favourites, and their controversial brand of humour was much appreciated throughout the audience.
Whilst Slam Dunk 2019 wasn’t perfect, it was certainly our favourite incarnation of the festival so far, and we cannot wait to see what they manage to do next year. Check out the gallery below for more pictures of the festival!