Slam Dunk – The Forum, Hatfield – 29/05/2017 – LIVE REVIEW

Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield, 29/05/2017, Photo Credit: Hayley Smith

Nowadays it’s sadly rare to see the words “SOLD OUT” plastered across the poster of a UK Rock Music Festival. But take a glance at the Slam Dunk Festival 2017 website and you’ll notice – the whole darn thing was packed out.

The reason why less and less festivals manage to sell out is a complicated one, open for debate and already heavily analysed. But the reason why Slam Dunk CAN is pretty obvious.

Every year they pull together a musical event in every meaning of the word and this year was no exception. Things happened at that festival that you couldn’t see anywhere else.

We Are The Ocean, Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield, 29/05/2017, Photo Credit: Hayley Smith

First and foremost – we sadly said goodbye to We Are The Ocean. After a decade in the business the Essex four-piece took their final bows at Slam Dunk, Hatfield, after an emotional final set.

With four studio albums, ten years of live shows and twenty music videos – We Are The Ocean were a long standing part of the British music scene and whilst it would have been foolish to miss their farewell tour earlier in the year, the only place to see them play for the very last time was Slam Dunk Festival 2017.

Across the summer a plethora of music festivals of varying sizes, spanning the entire spectrum of music genres, call the UK home. But for fans of Frank Iero & The Patience, Beartooth, Bowling For Soup, We The Kings, The Ataris, Less Than Jake and Waterparks the only festival needed was Slam Dunk.

The stellar performances delivered by those bands (and many, many, many more) were exclusive to Slam Dunk. There was simply no other festival in the UK this summer where you could catch them.

You might be thinking, “dang, that’s a lot of big bands, must have taken ages to type out that list” and you’d be right, it did. But it’s actually just a small percentage of Slam Dunk’s honestly massive freaking line up.

With Confidence, Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield, 29/05/2017, Photo Credit: Hayley Smith

There were eight stages at Slam Dunk. Eight. Those eight stages hosted at least 70 bands (yep, I counted the poster).

70 might not seem like a lot up against the likes of Reading and Leeds or Download who host…a lot more than that (yeah I’m not counting those posters) but the venues that house Slam Dunk are a lot smaller.

That means the stages are smaller.

That means the crowds are smaller.

That means you can really get up close and personal.

Boston Manor, Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield, 29/05/2017, Photo Credit: Hayley Smith

And whilst I take a moment to remember watching Panic! At The Disco at Slam Dunk in 2016 whilst being approximately 5 cm from the stage (might be exaggerating, but it was damn CLOSE) I will remind you that all the while you’re standing on concrete.

Concrete doesn’t get muddy.

And, as if you need an ‘and’, the mighty Enter Shikari were the Slam Dunk Festival 2017 headliners.

But even that wasn’t quite exceptional enough for Slam Dunk. No. Not only were Enter Shikari headlining but they played their debut album, Take To The Skies, in, it’s, entirety.

Frankly, that’s something that we’ve all wanted to happen for ten years.

And seen as their latest album, The Spark, is more than a little bit cracking and they’re busy headlining Alexandra Palace and winning Best Live Band at the Heavy Music Awards and then playing in the same town and on the same night as the first ever afterLIVE LIVE (which is completely fine by the way) – it seems unlikely that it will ever happen again.

The way this thing is going Slam Dunk Festival 2018 is bound to be something pretty special and I for one thank the Slam Dunk for thinking outside the box, being a bit ingenious, and adding something different to the UK Summer.


Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield, 29/05/2017, Photo Credit: Hayley Smith