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This Is Why Your Favourite Band Loves Slam Dunk So Much

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 27 May 2022 at 13.32


You can grab your tickets for Slam Dunk right now from right HERE

Slam Dunk Festival is not just something that means a lot to the thousands of people who attend it every year. It also means a lot to the bands who are playing it as well. 

You just have to ask some of the headliners to see what we mean.

For Sum 41's Deryck Whibley, headlining Slam Dunk has been a long time coming, but he couldn't be more delighted to finally get the chance.

"We’ve been trying to do this festival for years now and we are finally going to do it. Obviously, we love the UK and I’m coming back for the first time as a British citizen now, too. My whole family’s from England and I’ve been trying to get my citizenship for a while. It finally went through, and I’ll be there with a British passport this time.

"Because things have kind of come back, then disappeared, come back, disappeared… we’re excited. It’s been two and a half years almost since we played a show. I haven’t even seen the guys. We talk all the time, but we haven’t been in a room together since we were on tour in February of 2020."

The same sentiment can be said for Alexisonfire, who are hitting the stage again with not just a love of live music driving them but also a brand new album in 'Otherness'. Guitarist Wade MacNeil feels as though it's the perfect time for them to be headlining at Slam Dunk, because they have never been in a better place as a collective.

“It feels great to be back at it, because I feel better about the band than I ever have. We want to travel and get back to being a band with some songs that we are proud of. I think we are going to be able to continue to grow. I think we really shattered the final walls of what we can and cannot do now. Musically we can do whatever we want, and that’s very exciting, especially when it comes to getting on stage and destroying everything at Slam Dunk."

And vocalist George Pettit is preparing by remembering what it feels like to get on that stage and lose himself in the occasion.

"There were years that I was so numb to it all, to the performance and to the build up, just because I did it so much all the time. I would do it like it was nothing. I was doing a disservice to the band and the audience and myself by feeling like that. It was hard to feel the sensation. And now, I feel fucking terrified sometimes, I’m standing at the side of the stage and know I need to do a physical thing, which is performing with this band,. That’s a very difficult, gruelling thing.

"But then you get out there and because you were scared it slingshots you. It gives you a more direct route to the place of performance. When we perform now, I go to another place. It’s me, but not me. It’s otherworldly. I’m the least spiritual of everyone in this band, but when we perform there is something there that is beyond my own understanding and that I can recognise.”

And there are few people who understand the significance of the festival more than Neck Deep's Ben Barlow. From playing on the smallest stages a decade ago to now topping the bill in their own right, Slam Dunk and Neck Deep have a wonderful history together.

"It feels like this is a reward for a lot of hard work. [Slam Dunk promoter] Ben Ray has always believed in us, and I remember after the last time we played Slam Dunk and broke the record for crowd surfers - I find it hard to believe, but there you go - he said, ‘You’re gonna headline this soon’. He knew then, and showed a lot of faith in us. I think we fly the flag for this world and this scene at the minute, and there’s no intentions of us slowing down. This is an indication of that step up to be a band that can headline a festival.”

And he also loves that throughout the year it has always supported brilliant alternative music of every shape and size.

"The UK historically, not just in pop-punk and alternative music, is a musical powerhouse. It just is. It’s in our blood. Now that there’s a crop of genuinely good UK pop-punk bands, it makes it feel like more of a homegrown thing. It kind of makes it feel a bit more ours, whereas in the past its always been an American thing. But now that the UK has made a bit of a claim to pop-punk, it feels like something that we can be proud of and maybe we can make our own sense of what it is and our own culture.

"In the same way that Warped Tour developed punk and pop-punk culture in the US, Slam Dunk has been our opportunity to make our own. Now is the most fruitful time for it, because there are so many bands in the UK who are playing this type of music. It’s the best time that it’s ever been for UK pop-punk specifically, and we’re very proud to be leading the charge on it and opening the floodgates.

“I think the curation of Slam Dunk comes from a much more musical place. ‘Who are the up and coming bands people want to see? Who’s a culty pop-punk band that people want to see?’ It still has its roots in your typical ’90s skate punk and ska, so you have stuff for those ’90s and early ’00s kids, which is always good because those bands don’t necessarily roll through on tours or play to bigger crowds in the UK, but they’ll get a big crowd at Slam Dunk.”

So, now you've heard from the bands, what are you waiting for?

Slam Dunk will be taking place on June 02 and 03 at Leeds Temple Newsam Park and Hatfield's Hatfield Park respectively.

You can grab your tickets right now right HERE

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