My First Slam Dunk Festival 2018 - North

May 29, 2018

I can't believe the weekend is already over, I've been counting down the days for festival season starting and my first festival this year was Slam Dunk Festival. I was mega excited for the festival, the bands that were playing are some of my favourites and it was a first time experience for me as I've never been to Slam Dunk before. It's always been on my list of things to do and I'm still gutted I missed last years festival but sometimes its not always possible to do everything.

Anyway me and my friend Nat headed to Leeds on Friday, we was staying at the Ibis Budget which wasn't too far away from the train station or the festival site which was good. I always find staying at Ibis hotels pleasant and cheap so its a win-win all round. We decided to get some shopping done and find Almost Famous before heading to the Leeds University Student Union to exchange our tickets for wristbands; this was an excellent perk of being in Leeds the day before as it saved so much time on Saturday morning and no long queueing to get our wristbands. The Union was open from 5pm until 9pm to collect our wristbands so we headed over at around 5.30pm, there was a short queue but nothing major and it was moving quite quickly; as we was leaving the Union the queue was getting bigger so getting there early was best.

Saturday morning came around early and although I'd been awake from 7am I was ready for a busy, fun-filled, packed out day. We headed to a pub for some food whilst planning our schedule for the day using the Slam Dunk App on our phones. It was clear at this point that we wouldn't be able to catch every single band and some decisions had to be made. We started by entering the festival site at the south entrance, we wanted to explore the site and find your feet with the location; we was already familiar with where the arena was so that wasn't a problem. The Slam Dunk app was super helpful and we used the map to navigate around; the app also notified us when our next scheduled band was about to start.

After wandering around the festival site it was time to head over to the Jaegermeister stage (First Direct Arena) for out first band of the day; Four Year Strong. There was a massive queue to get into the arena but it was moving, we opted to queue for the seated area, we got into the place as the band was starting. I'd been in the arena previously at a First Direct bank event; you can read that post here. The place is set up theatre style so no matter where your sat, you've got a good view of the stage. My friend left me to go watch some other bands at the other festival site so I decided to move forward in the seated area as and when I could, once Four Year Strong went off there was loads of spare seats closer to the front.

I stayed at the Jaegermeister stage to watch Creeper which was one of the main bands I wanted to see, I'd pretty much planned my day around seeing them play. Up until now I'd missed Creeper at Download Festival and when they played Manchester back in December so I was even more excited finally see them play. Creeper did not disappoint and played a lot of my favourite songs, Hannah also performed a new song along which was so emotional and actually gave me goosebumps; that girl can sing! The whole band got involved in the rest of the show and really gave it their all, I can't wait to watch them again. Shortly after Creeper's set, State Champs came on stage opening with my all time favourite song from them and playing their new song Dead and Gone 3 songs in; another total banger! I decided to leave a little before State Champs finished to try to make the Creeper signing which was the in Kerrang! Signing tent at the other site.

Luckily I made it back to the signing tent in time to meet Creeper although this was really the bands fault as they ran over the time slot a little and made sure everyone in the queue got to meet them. The band was so lovely and had a chat to each and everyone one of us and I was able to get a photo with Will which was a complete bonus! The band signed my ticket but Monster Energy was handing out flyers which could be signed so if you didn't have anything to get signed, you could use this flyer. Next to the signing area was the Merch Tent, this area was filled with band merch and festival merch; I grabbed a Creeper t-shirt of course then headed to the Fireball stage to watch Zebrahead.

A few of the stages in this area was situated outside so it had a real festival feel to it, Zebrahead were playing on one of the smaller stages but still put on a great show, there was even a panda crowd-surfing on a rubber dingy so you know, it was pretty damn awesome! We grabbed drink from one the many bars and then headed to the Fireball tent to get temporary tattoos and have a go on the photobooth, Fireball was giving out free samples whilst we was there so we was able to try Fireball which was delicious and not what I was expecting; the flavour is really nice and not too harsh at all. We grabbed a free temporary tattoo which a member of the team applied for us and I bought a pin badge whilst I was there too; we also got given a guitar pic from the team.

At this point we had a short amount of free time so we had a wander around, caught a little bit of Lower Than Atlantis's set, had a sit down then I headed back to the Jager stage, my mate stayed at the other stages for a while. I wanted to catch PVRIS at 8.15pm but I got straight into the arena so managed to watch Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes too, another added bonus and an extra band than planned. I've watched Frank Carter play on the TV and the band always puts their all into any set, it was even more special to be in the crowd for this set. I'd come into the standing area to watch PVRIS and was even able to grab a Slam Dunk t-shirt on my way in which I'm glad I did as they didn't have my size left at the end of the evening. PVRIS came on stage and really owned it, I was impressed with Lyndsey's voice and her musical instrument talents; she played keyboard, guitar and drums whilst also being the lead singer of the band; total bad ass.

The standing area was pretty big and so my mate could find me when she arrived I stayed near the back of the room in front of the sound tech but I had a really good view and the barrier around the sound tech gave me something to lean on in-between bands. Nat met me well before Good Charlotte and she managed to watch a bit of PVRIS's set too; she said she would totally watch them again too so I've got a mate to go watch them with next time they tour. The headlining spot was taken by Good Charlotte, we wanted to watch Jimmy Eat World but made the decision to catch GC as we didn't want to risk not getting into the other stage area if we left half way through plus I'm pretty glad we didn't leave now as GC put on an extremely amazing show; this is the second time I've watched them and it was definitely better than the last show!

Good Charlotte opened with some old favourites including; 'The Anthem', 'Girls and Boys' and 'Keep Your Hands of my Girl' then followed with some newer songs and the latest release 'Actual Pain'. We'd been given a free GC mask earlier in the day so this came out for the new song, I was happy to hear the new song live and it's already been added to my Spotfiy playlist. GC are one of my favourite bands and I've followed them since being a teenager which is crazy, they will always be relatable, perform well and I'm so glad they made that come back 3 years ago; don't leave us again guys!

Slam Dunk was a new experience for me, a great experience at that and I will definitely be back next year, this is now on my not to miss festival list. The pop punk scene is something I never wanna grow out of and don't plan too either. Bands I'd love to see next year would be; Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Rancid, I Prevail and The Distillers. Plus Bowling For Soup will always be favourite of mine too plus they are so much fun to watch and jump around too!

Now Slam Dunk is over with, I'm looking forward to Download Festival at the beginning of June. There will also be a review up about my time there after the event but keep an eye on my Instagram for updates whilst I'm there!

Did you go to Slam Dunk Festival this year? 

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