After what felt like a lifetime of waiting to return to Slam Dunk Festival we arrived at the field entrance at Temple Newsam in glorious Leeds. We didn’t think we would make it. We even thought we might never see Slam Dunk Festival again after the rough road they have traveled down the past 18 months but the festival team made it. Date reschedules, COVID rules and line-up changes right up till the week before kept SDF working relentlessly to give the people the festival that we all wanted, that we all deserved. They sure did.
Entrance to the festival was swift, even with the extra level of requirements with COVID we were inside in minutes. The distant thump of soundchecks and background music, the crackling blanket of the noise of people eagerly waiting to see their favourite bands, the incredible selection of food vans preparing their food. The great thing about moving the location to Temple Newsam is you really get hit in the face with that festival feeling as you can see over the whole site pretty much from the entrance gate, a view I have sorely missed.
We parked ourselves on the grass in front of the main stage in preparation to catch ROAM who set a good example of how to slam the mainstage blowing the cobwebs straight off from the recent absence from live music.
Following them on the main stage was HELLOGOODBYE who was one of our must see’s as it’s been years since we managed to see them last. This was the soundtrack of our MySpace pages and didn’t disappoint as we found ourselves belting out the lyrics to ‘Here In Your Arms’. Frontman Forrest Kline was alluring and all-around entertaining dazzling us in his gold robes.
For us to be able to get a good spot for the secret band we had to cut their set short but equally allowed us to catch one of my personal favourite breakthrough bands WEATHERSTATE who I was pleased got added to the line-up change. These boys have big riffs and catchy melodies, hearing this at a festival setting rocked the park and could of easily transposed this to one of the bigger stages, hopefully, we will see that in the coming years.
By the time WEATHERSTATE was finishing up we found ourselves quickly packed into a sea of people, which felt very strange after the recent year we have had. There were two rumours flying around who the secret band was so it was between Neck Deep or MCFLY. I’m a bit of a gear nerd so I was scoping out the backline to see if I could tell who it might be, passing thoughts to my wife who had everything crossed it was McFly who turned up.
Short but oh so sweet, MCFLY entered the stage as the secret band with a 6 hit song setlist which I thought was incredible to watch someone of that level who has spent years touring arenas perform one of the smallest stages we will probably ever see them on again. There was a quick shift in the crowd with two streams of people going in and out, those who thought it was Neck Deep leaving and those eagerly wanting more of MCFLY getting to the front.
One of our firm favourites MAYDAY PARADE got us excited, playing one of their first live shows since the pandemic. Hits like Piece of Your Heart, Jersey, and Jamie All Over got the crowd surfing and circle pits underway ahead of State Champs’ set.
It truly was an incredible feeling to be back on the holy nostalgic soil grounds watching bands with friends and family again. We can’t wait to do it all over again next year.