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Highlights of Slam Dunk Festival 2019

All of Slam Dunk Festival is always a highlight, but these were the acts that truly went above and beyond to impress us this year.

For many fans of alternative and pop-punk music, the May bank holiday weekend has become synonymous to the annual Slam Dunk Festival, and this year’s extravaganza proved to be a memorable event as always. Seeing the diverse acts every year sharing the same passion on stage always impresses us, but there are a few that shine like a diamond in the rough with outstanding performances and leave a lingering memory of the festival.

When Boston Manor took over the Monster Energy Stage, they made the most of the energy that accompanied the festival start to deliver a riotous performance, which included a giant circle pit around singer Henry Cox for Stick Up. Coming to stage donned in a grey balaclava, the angry turbulence that underlies their latest album Welcome To The Neighbourhood translated well live with a raw performance, but it was older songs like Laika and Lead Feet that had the whole crowd jumping along and sent a seemingly never-ending wave of crowdsurfers over the barrier.

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As It Is’ follow up set on the Monster Energy Stage seemed to set the whole stage alight again with fresh new energy as a dedicated crowd of fans gathered for their first Slam Dunk performance following the release of The Great Depression. Those present at last year’s instalment of the festival may have had a sneak peek already, but there was still nothing that could’ve fully prepared fans for the emotionally charged set. The band was completely masterful of the situation, knowing just how to work the crowd, and we were reminded of how much of a treat it is to see them.

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For the eagle-eyes fans, they may have spotted the secret artist of the festival Y3K. Their curiosity was soon satisfied as it turned out to be the renowned Busted, and as a large crowd eagerly huddled inside a tent that was filled to the brim, they were treated to songs such as Reunion, Crashed The Wedding, and of course, Year 3000.

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As always, Waterparks were an absolute delight and perfectly balanced the set between catchy tunes such as Take Her To The Moon that had everyone bouncing along to the infectious energy, and a healthy dose of humour sprinkled in between sets. Between asking for crowdsurfers during Not Warriors and bantering about generally, frontman Awsten Knight was charismatic as ever and it’s easy to see how they’ve built up such a dedicated fan base. The angst-ridden Turbulence went down as a treat, and finale TANTRUM fed off the remnants of that ember to leave a buzzed up crowd who were ready for even more of what Slam Dunk had to offer.

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Whilst fans had to brave the temperamental weather outside in front of the Monster Energy Stage, those inside tents were a bit luckier in avoiding the random outpours whilst still enjoying the day. On the Jägermeister Stage, The Word Alive finished the European leg of their recent 10 year anniversary tour with a flaming performance that won’t be forgotten soon. With a delicate balance of material spanning their discography, it was a show to remember for both older and newer fans. As we hit the early evening, the adrenaline definitely didn’t seem to cease for grandson’s fervent set at the Left Key Club Stage, as he whipped up a frenzy and an almost tangible electricity within the tent. Asking everyone to get on their knees for Stick Up, grandson never faltered for a moment and this incessant energy was fed right back at him by the crowd.

However, it was the headliners of the Left Key Club Stage, I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME, shortened to iDKHOW, that left the most memorable impression on us this year. They truly are a dynamic duo to witness, and as vocalist Dallon Weekes humorously re-worded Nobody Likes The Opening Band to nobody likes the headlining band, it’s clear that the pair are born showmen and it won’t be long before they’re taking over more stages with their charm.

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Photos: Kasia Osowiecka