Slam Dunk 2016 highlights

Words and interview by Luke Stannard

Atmosphere, Crowd, Hatfield, Kennerdeigh Scott-15
Atmosphere, Crowd, Hatfield, Photo by Kennerdeigh Scott

Eagerly awaiting a space to park in a huge car park queue is how my days usually go about, however this bank holiday Monday was very much different, of course. I am talking about the well known Slam Dunk Festival at College Lane Campus in Hatfield. Even a touch of bad weather couldn’t have swayed the miles of fans from enjoying the day.

Spirits high myself, upon arriving at this year’s festival, at first glance I knew it would be one to remember. This was obvious from the huge crowds spiraling around the entire campus eagerly awaiting the festival gates to open. The only downfall to my experience arriving was walking around at the start of the day attempting to follow a printed out Map which seemed impossible, however, with a hint of luck I managed to catch a glimmer of life backstage and locate where I was supposed to be.

The atmosphere during almost every set I attended was outstanding. The feeling I got when I managed to get to the front of the stage when it was empty and then turning around and seeing a massive wave of fans build behind me was really something quite remarkable.

Miss May I - 2.jpg
Miss May I, Hatfield, Photo by Luke Stannard

I mainly stayed at the Atlas stage which was filled with heavy rock and metal bands most of the day. This included some of my all times favourites such as;

  • Miss May I who did not let down my expectations of sheer brilliance in both performance and stage presence. Their lead singer sure knows how to rouse a crowd.
  • The Word Alive, a new band for me, and after hearing them for the first time, pleased my ears with their unique sound, and their great deal of stage presence. So much so that every member of the crowd was immersed in their set.
The Word Alive.jpg
The Word Alive, Hatfield, Photo by Luke Stannard

Following a few sets on the Atlas stage, I did however split off to explore what else this festival had to offer at different stages, armed with a grease dripping, slightly overpriced, stereotypical festival burger and pint in hand. I saw the Main stage where Mallory Knox were playing at the time. It was filled with a mile long line of fans bobbing their heads and moving their bodies to the music.

Mallory Knox, Hatfield, Photo by Kennerdeigh Scott
Mallory Knox, Hatfield, Photo by Kennerdeigh Scott

Another stage I visited had some really fast-paced dance music, which seemed to me a chill out tent as some people were sitting on the floor. However, as soon as a song came on, I soon realised I was very wrong as they swiftly jumped up and started to dance in a way I can honestly say this reviewer has never come across before.

The day was getting on a bit, all tired out myself from all the head-banging and dancing I had been doing myself. I moved inside to interview ‘Four Year Strong’. You can check out the interview below. These guys are undoubtedly one of the most laid back, funny bands I’ve interviewed thus far with some of their responses! I am so thankful to have had the chance to interview them, but also pleased they were able to answer my questions even though the interview space I managed to grab was quite temperamental.


I also managed to catch their set later that evening and they did not disappoint, the band was set to play inside the Forum. Not being very keen on being in such a tight crowd filled space myself, this was definitely a first for me. Not focusing too much on that, I focused on their brilliant songs they were playing that we all know and love.

Four Year Strong, Hatfield, Photo by Kennerdeigh Scott.jpg
Four Year Strong, Hatfield, Photo by Kennerdeigh Scott

Overall Slam Dunk Festival 2016 was a brilliant bank holiday to remember for years to come and I highly recommend the festival to new comers over the next year’s to come. There is only so much you can describe in words but nothing can do it as much justice as actually just being there for yourself. Slam Dunk is doing Hatfield the honour of bringing up a dull small town (I’ve lived near there all of my life) and making it into a thriving music scene.

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