Slam Dunk Festival

Music Festival Review: Slam Dunk South – 26th May 2019

On Sunday 26th May, we headed to Hatfield Park for Slam Dunk South 2019. The two-day festival taking place over the May bank holiday weekend visited Leeds and Hatfield this year and featured sets from the likes of Milk Teeth, As It Is, Lights and All Time Low alongside many more. As we and around 20,000 thousand others made our way into the site, immediately we knew we were set to have a great day ahead and we weren’t let down. With such a jam-packed schedule, here are some of our set highlights from across our day at the festival.

Milk Teeth – Dickies Stage

Kicking off our day and opening the Dickies stage was Milk Teeth, proving good things truly do come in three the trio thrashed their way through a chaotic set waking up the crowd. The driving drums from Oli Holbrook are complimented by Em Foster and Becky Blomfield’s contrasting vocals. With the crowd expanding as the set progresses, Em saw this as a challenge to get the crowd to sit down for absolutely no reason whatsoever; the most impressive part about this? Most of the crowd did it. If Milk Teeth are a name you aren’t accustomed with check out Owning Your Okayness as the perfect starting point, as proven at SDF19 even if you’re new to the Milk Teeth family you’ll be singing along before the set is out.

Boston Manor – Monster Energy Stage

As with any festival, clashes are inevitable with our first of the day coming with Boston Manor and the secret guest Y3K. Boston Manor’s growth to mainstages has been a steady affair but because of this has allowed them to master their craft. Filling huge stages such as the Monster Energy Stage with ease, the band caused chaos within the crowd with pits opening up left, right and centre. Vocalist Henry Cox domineered the stage observing the sea of crowd surfers coming towards him as the band performed material from 2018’s Welcome To The Neighbourhood with passion. But they didn’t forget the older fans within the audience as tracks such as Laika made an appearance much to the crowd’s delight. With such a relentless touring schedule it has allowed the quintet to perfect their craft and their sound, resulting in one of the strongest and most memorable sets of the festival.

Busted – Key Club Right

Every good festival needs a surprise act and Slam Dunk is no different. Prior to the event fans were teased with Y3K an act who’ve never played the festival and last time they were in the UK played arenas. Guesses ranged from the Jonas Brothers to A Day To Remember to Blink-182, when we reached the packed out tent it was clear that word had spread fast about it, in fact, being none other than pop royalty Busted. Slam Dunk has always been known for bringing genres together, but to see fans both old and young, pop and punk lovers singing along to Year 3000 and Air Hostess made for a very special day highlight. Who wouldn’t love a bit of classic Busted in a tent in a field having just months ago seen them in huge arenas! Is this when we see Busted taking on an official slot at next year’s festival?

As It Is – Monster Energy Stage

Slam Dunk veterans As It Is took over the Monster Energy stage with their darkened vibe in support of their latest material The Great Depression, having worked their way up the stage ranks it was a truly momentous occasion. Appearing onstage to the biggest crowd of the day so far who were still sporting huge smiles despite the rain which was pouring down at this point, they burst into The Reaper accompanied by Aaron Gillespie of Underoath fame. Patty Walters has maintained his powerful frontman abilities, seeing pits opening throughout the crowd and crowd surfers making their way over the barrier. This new era of the band has seen them lay to rest much of the material fans who’d stumbled upon their set were hoping for, bar the addition of Dial Tones which everyone and we mean everyone was singing along to. Closing their set with The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry) saw the band put down their mics and leave it up to the sea of dedicated fans to complete their set. As It Is have worked their way up the stages and who knows where on the bill they’ll be playing in a couple of years time…

Liam Patrick Cromby – Acoustic Stage

Away from the hustle and bustle of the main festival laid the Acoustic stage where we headed to watch Ex-We Are The Ocean vocalist Liam Patrick Cromby perform a beautiful set becoming one of our favourites of the day. The sheer simplicity of this set made it a captivating watch as Liam performed material including WATO’s Now And Then and fan favourite Young Heart. However new solo material is written about his own experiences including recently (three years ago) falling in love, truly gave him the chance to shine. This short but incredibly sweet set allowed him to show everyone regardless of whether they were there to watch him or just to escape the hustle and bustle of the festival that keeping it simple and letting the lyrics do the talking makes for the most powerful music experience.

Lights – Key Club Right

Following on from the release of her Skin & Earth album, Lights is a name we’ve enjoyed featuring on CelebMix and we had a feeling her set at Slam Dunk wouldn’t disappoint. With the rain pouring down outside, we were even more excited to be in a warm tent to watched the red-headed starlet perform. Bouncing on to the stage and throwing herself straight into electro-pop action supported by her slick band helping to create a magical atmosphere. Tracks such as Savage and Up We Go provided opportunities for the pockets of fans within the crowd to get their shining moment and lead the singalongs but also for new fans to get involved with the catchy, infectious lyrics. Having spoken to her earlier on in the day the energy and passion the singer-songwriter possess is admirable and when this is flaunted on stage it became an impossible mission to not find ourselves singing and dancing along throughout Lights set.

New Found Glory – Monster Energy Stage

Back over on the Monster Energy Stage, pop-punk veterans, New Found Glory has understandably drawn in the biggest crowd of the day thanks to their feel-good fun sets. Having not long ago celebrated their 20 year anniversary it meant they’ve been trying new ideas to keep their sets and material fresh; the latest being From The Screen To Your Stereo series. The series has seen them put their unique take on movie classics and at the festival, fans were being treated to hearing classics such as Eye Of The Tiger performed with an NFG twist. But the most notable unexpected Slam Dunk moment of the day came with Let It Go, yes you read that right. New Found Glory made a crowd of pop-punk fans sing along to a track from Frozen and it was absolutely incredible. Not forgetting the main reason fans were there; to see their original hits the band performed classics such as All Downhill From Here and My Friends Over You. NFG truly are the masters of musical longevity with gritty guitars, bold sing-alongs and a captivating stage presence. What more could you want from a live show?

Idkhow – Key Club Left

I Don’t Know How But They Found Me have become CelebMix regulars thanks to their refreshing, unique sound which is a breath of fresh musical air to listeners ears. Due to this, it was no surprise that when they took to the Key Club Left stage for their headlining slot the crowd were whipped into a frenzy from the moment Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman took to the stage. Performing a selection of material from 1981 Extended Play alongside older material from their past band The Brobecks, there was something for everyone. Any band who changes Nobody Likes The Opening Band to Nobody Likes The Headlining Band definitely deserve your attention, however, they were wrong as everybody did love the Key Club Left stage headliners. Recent single Choke was the track many had come to see, the sheer sass and grit when performed live was overwhelming as the duo highlighted their 80s vibed sound. Bands like iDKHOW are a perfect example of the diversity of Slam Dunk Festival and what makes it such a special weekend.

All Time Low – Monster Energy Stage

Headlining the Monster Energy stage was Baltimore quartet All Time Low and whether you love them or hate them it’s impossible to deny that they know how to put on an incredible live show. Taking to the stage to Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t) the crowd erupted into action as an all killer no filler set unravelled before everyone’s eyes. Celebrating ten years of Nothing Personal, the band played homage to the album with Keep The Change, You Filthy Animal and A Party Song (The Walk of Shame) being setlist additions. We have to give All Time Low some credit for fixing the weather, turning the pouring rain into the most incredible double rainbow which saw the crowd turn in awe. Fans both old and new were treated to a fiery set complete with crowd surfers, mosh pits and some of Jack Barakat’s compulsory humour which no show would be complete without. New track Getaway Green saw the crowd instructed to ‘dance like it’s your favourite song’ and of course the crowd didn’t let the quartet down. As the night began to roll to a close, it was the crowds time to shine as lucky fans were picked to go up on stage and party with All Time Low during Timebomb, we can’t lie we might have been a little bit jealous… Closing the weekend at Slam Dunk South was Dear Maria, Count Me In, released back in 2007 this is a song which has stood the test of time as it saw smiles grace the bands faces due to the phenomenal singalong occurring in Hatfield Park and smiles on the fans faces who have followed the quartet’s journey and grown up alongside the band. All Time Low might not be everyone’s cup of tea; but for many, they were the perfect evening treat.

We had a great time at Slam Dunk South 2019 and even sat down for chats with Boston Manor, iDKHOW, Lights and New Found Glory. Keep your eyes peeled on CelebMix over the coming days to find out who loves Let It Go, who wants to see a revival of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who is a comic book lover and who wished for rain at the festival!

Slam Dunk Festival might be over for another year but we’re already thinking about 2020! Who would you love to see feature on the line-up next year? Tweet us @CelebMix and let us know.

Written by Nicola Craig

Lover of all things pop, a boyband or two, and discovering new artists to get hooked on. You'll usually find me at a gig, truly living my best life without a care in the world.