When my friend Mike informed me about going to Slam Dunk Festival I then found out that it was in Wolverhampton. Needless to say I got myself a ticket and so did he. The lineup for me looked good with a few familiar faces and other bands who I haven’t heard much of but heard good things about. So how was the event overall and what did I get up to?

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First up me and Mike had a wonder around the area to get an idea of where each of the stages were. Our first surprise of the day came in the form of meeting Dani Winter-Bates from Bury Tomorrow. It was Mike who first noticed him, so we went and both got our pictures taken with him, that was cool. For the first band we decided to check out a couple of the smaller bands, Shvpes and As It Is. Shvpes in particular did a good job at getting the crowd going. There was even a bit of a pit fight going on that the lead singer jumped into the middle of (brave lad). After that was the first band Mike was anxious to see PVRIS (why is everyone flipping the A’s upside down?) at the Main stage which was in the Civic Hall. Considerably lighter than the first two bands but a lot more atmospheric. They played sort of like an industrial Paramore, plenty of bass with dark tones, and I can’t deny the charm of frontlady Lynn Gunn. We really enjoyed them.

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Naturally as Mike already had a plan of what bands he wanted to see I was trusting his judgement. The next band we saw were Beartooth. While they were good I think it would’ve been better if we had a better view (we had a tree obscuring our view). Still we did bet a better look at crowd members climbing trees and even one guy rocking on a lamp-post, so I guess it’s kind of a trade-off. After that we queued for the signing tent so we could meet PVRIS. We didn’t have much on us so all I got signed was my ticket, but it was still worth it as the band seemed really nice (plus I think Mike might have a thing for Lynn Gunn. :P). After that we still had plenty of time before the next main stage act Neck Deep. They also seemed like an enjoyable mob, the hall was more packed and there was more of a light show. We left their set early though so we could catch the start of Bury Tomorrow’s set on the Monster Stage.

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These guys were announced as the special guests so maybe not a lot of people expected to see them, but we did. Their music packs a real punch and frontman Dani Winter-Bates was frequently interacting with the audience, even giving a shoutout to the guy on the lamp-post. After their set we went to the Desperados stage inside the Wulfrun Hall to see Zebrahead. If it’s a party you’re after these guys bring a full deck of cards. I knew I was going to like these guys when they came out to the Team America theme. Overall the atmosphere was unparalleled, with many crowd interactions, moshing, crowd surfing and a drinking Santa (just when you thought you’d seen it all). Oh and they had some great singalong songs like Rescue Me, Hello Tomorrow and my personal favourite Falling Apart. It was an awesome set that finished all too soon. After that though Mike had to leave early to get the last train home, so I was on my own from there on.

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Not too long later though I met up with Kayleigh, her boyfriend Thompson and even Jordan who I didn’t even know was going. After that I decided to get some food, so I went for a hot dog. I caught the last few moments from Comeback kid on the Impericon Stage and Don Broco on the Main stage. At that point I just decided to stay at the main stage. The penultimate act were American Pop-punks Taking Back Sunday. They definitely made a refreshing change of pace from the more heavy and sweary bands, plus they have a nice catalogue of songs to get the crowds going like Cute without the E and Makedamnsure. All that was left after that was You Me At Six. I’d been listening to a few of their tracks in preparation, though was surprised when Josh said that they would be paying more attention to their debut album, so songs like Save it For the Bedroom and The Rumour make a welcomed return, and of course other favourites like Loverboy and Stay With Me, but no The Swarm (Shame). The crowd were bouncy and really getting into it, particularly for highlight Reckless. At this point my back was killing me but I stuck it through right up until Underdog at the end. After that I went home.

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Overall I really enjoyed Slam Dunk, I saw a lot of great bands, rocked out and had an overall memorable day. If I had to pick a favourite band though I would have to give it to Zebrahead, they just stole it for me, and even got me to get their T-shirt. If given the choice would I do it again? Of course I would.

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