Slam Dunk Festival: South 2019
After seeing the flood of photos from Saturday in Leeds, I couldn’t wait to dive in to Sunday’s show in Hatfield, and though the weather proved to be very english and temperamental, it didn’t seem to stop anyone from having an amazing experience and witnessing an absolutely phenomenal line-up.
And damn that Line-up did not disappoint.
I imagine I’m not the only one who wanted to be able to clone themselves so they could cover more ground. There was something for everyone. You had the acoustic stage covering your more chilled out needs, the Impericon and Jagermeister tent giving you your heavy fill of Hardcore and Metal and the Punk In Drublic stage fulfilling all your Punk Rock and Ska dreams.
First up on the Punk in Drublic were The Bombpops. Having only been recently introduced to them and then falling head over heels with their album ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ and the release of their latest EP ‘Dear Beer’ in 2018, this was a female fronted, fast-paced family I was stoked to see in action. Front ladies Poli Van Dam and Jen Razavi kickstarted the day with their trademark harmonious vocals and guitar shredding. You could clearly see they were having fun up there and that energy is infectious. There was a beautiful mix of bitter sweetness in how they story told and their action packed set paved the way for a really fun and really sweaty day.
A quick break to the bar to refresh myself with a cider and back to the Punk in Drublic tent to catch the one and only Anti-Flag. I know from stories I’ve been told and videos I’ve seen that this was going to be one of the most energetic and unparalleled performances of the entire day. The crowd were going wild before the band even graced the stage but when they did and the roars of ‘you gotta die, gotta die, gotta die for your government. Die for your country, that’s shit’ echoed throughout the park, you got chills. Although strangers, we all became family during this set, joined together in the shared love of music and the belief that we can make a difference. I’ve never experienced such a display of unity. They really involved the crowd and Chris #2 and Justin were both brilliant at getting everyone fuelled up! Cue bodies surfing over the crowd and middle fingers in the air.
After running into some friends and hearing who they were headed to see, I headed to the press tent for a quick interview with SHVPES before heading back to the bar for a refreshing Monster. Big shout out to the bar staff by the way because it cannot be easy to try and serve THAT many people and keep track of everything.
I ran to the Impericon stage to try and catch the rest of Cancer Bats. The crowd was unforgiving in letting anyone through but a lovely blonde stranger with an accent saw my camera and
grabbed my hand and we pushed our way through to the front. And then when I turned around to thank her she had vanished into the sweaty circle pit. But whoever you are. Thank you! Cancer Bats were right in the middle of the set were exactly as I expected and so so much more! Ruthless and full of unrelenting riffs. The crowd were screaming their lyrics back at them as Liam Cormier commanded the stage with his guttural vocals and tireless energy during tracks like ‘Sorceress’. The audience completely loses it when they hear the introduction to their Beastie Boys Cover ‘Sabotage’. The band have complete control over us as they tell us to shush when the bass gets turned way up before exploding into chaos. I left feeling completely refuelled and raring for the rest of the day.
The Get Up Kids are an American Rock band from Kansas City, Missouri. I’d seen Neil Wayne wearing their shirt during The Bombpops set and it spiked my curiosity. Formed in 1995, the band was a major player in the mid-1990s Emo scene. They brought bounds of Pop-Punk energy and the crowd was feeding off this through the entire set. Their new album ‘Problems’ is out now.
If you don’t know the Birmingham based SHVPES and their album ‘Greater Than’ by now then please go educate yourself because these guys are here to stay and dominate. Having just interviewed Grant Knight who plays Bass for SHVPES, I was so excited to see this passion live in action. There’s no soft introduction for these guys, but instead a complete outburst of energy. An incredible fusion of Metal and Hip Hop, the boys play a blinding set that demands the attention of everyone at the Key Club stage. I absolutely love the sound on the record but they blew us away live. I cannot wait to see what’s next for these guys.
In all the excitement and pushing through crowds, I had forgotten to eat. An amazing amount of choices that catered to everyone’s needs. From your burgers and pizzas, to chinese food and vegan wraps. There was something for everyone. I found myself at C’est Cheese ordering a Halloumi Burger. The rain was coming down hard at this point but it was really cool to see mostly everyone embracing it.
Back to the Punk In Drublic Tent for NOFX. The rain had finally subsided (for now) and the band came out to Rocky Horror Picture show playing, complete with dance moves from Mike wearing a beautiful dress. I’d heard a NOFX show can be a bit hit or miss but today was a total hit. Between the songs was their usual banter with each other and the crowd keeping the audience captivated and hooked on every word. Lots of air jump mocking from Mike and a lovely moment between between him and Eric Scott Melvin. The energy was on a high the entire set and the crowd were lapping up every line. A truly fantastic way to end another year at Slamdunk South.
Still soggy from the downpour, I headed towards the station which is conveniently located right across from Hatfield Park. 20 minutes later and I’m back home with a full heart, ringing ears and excitement for Slam Dunk 2020.
For my first festival experience, i’m glad it was you Slam Dunk. Let’s do it again next year okay?
Photos & Review - Luna Louise Photography