Tuesday 31 May 2016

Slamdunk Festival 2016

My first ever Slamdunk festival, I went to on Sunday, 29th May 2016. It was at the NEC in Birmingham, and the que when we got there was HUGE. It looped around the green outside the building. After queuing for 40 minutes to check into our hotel, which we were then told we were not able to check in until after the festival, this sucked. We shared a taxi with some people we met at the hotel, Joe and Matt, who were also going to Slamdunk. Cheap taxi fair, excellent. We eventually got our wristbands and got into the venue, got a free mini can of Desperados, and then queued for a further 40 minutes for the cashpoint, (error in preparation for the day). While we were queueing to get cash, Roam were playing on stage and also a couple of acoustic acts.

AJ and I grabbed a beer and wondered around some of the merch tables at The Key Club Stage and then we headed to The Impericon Stage. It was so busy and a struggle just to make our way through crowds towards where the stage was. It was overflowing with people who wanted to see Chunk, it was one-in-one-out. You were only able to make out what the music was from familiarisation of the sounds. Some guy wearing a black trilby pushed through everyone, he got called out "you are literally pushing through everyone" and trilby said "yeah pretty much" and carried on. As we were there, a lot of people left to catch other bands and we eventually got through into the stage to see Chunk finish performing. 

Checking out the merch table in the room, AJ bought an Every Time I Die shirt with Buffalo NY on it and a photo printed on it from one of their gigs at the White Rabbit in Plymouth. Which, as a fan who has seen them loads, she probably definitely attended that exact gig before it closed down. After a quick toilet break and a couple of Krispy Kreme's, we stayed at the Impericon stage to see Gnarwolves. After this I think we went back around and into the big room where The Key Club Stage was to get some food, while Real Friends were playing on stage. I really liked one of their t-shirts that had a skeleton on said "Growing up is giving up." A hotdog and beef rice pot later we wondered to have a look at the merch tables, collecting free stickers and stuff (goodies yay), then sat down while we ate our food and heard Yellowcard performing on The Main Stage.

Then we went outside and caught Capdown just as they started, they were so fun I really liked their songs a lot. They are a ska band. Everyone seemed to have a really great time dancing and jumping around to them. Mosh pits were encouraged at the front of the crowd, rainbow dreadlocks and superglued mohicans playfully battling it out. The sun was bright and everyone's clothes/various band shirts e.t.c were all so colourful it was so nice! On stage at the back you could see who I assume were friends/family members of the band just hanging out and enjoying the show, little kids wearing ear defenders and holding their hands over the speakers haha cute.

After dancing around to Capdowns funky tunes and saxophone riffs, we wondered over to look at the merch table to find it was nearly all gone or packed up. I heard my name called and it was my friend Jenny from Plymouth who I haven't seen since I lived in Plymouth like 12 years ago! Cool! :D 
Outside we stayed to see Zebrahead, on stage there was a guy in a hello kitty onesie at a table just chilling and making drinks haha. While another guy in a pikachu onesie was having a good time on the other side of the stage. 

Back inside we caught some of Four Year Strong at The Key Club Stage, before heading to The Main Stage for the first time of the day to see New Found Glory. Four Year Strong were difficult to hear as the guitars were so loud, I couldn't make out their singing very much. So as a new listener, I cannot tell if I like them or not. At the main stage we stayed until the end of New Found Glory's set as we would not have been able to see The Beat at The Desperados Stage like we wanted, because The Key Club Stage was at capacity at the time, and this was the way through. It was cool to stay nearby though cause we wanted to see Panic At The Disco later. New Found Glory called a fan on stage who was singing along to every song, it's something they've been doing at their gigs lately. The guy was obviously a huge fan but couldn't choose a song for them to sing as they had already played his favourites, and he was put on the spot. They got someone else to choose, and let them both be on stage for a song or two. The guy who chose the song "The Promise" was originally misheard as "hummus", but they worked it out and performed "The Promise" much to the singers playful strop about it. 

We paid stupid amounts of money (lots) for some water, and a Sprite and once a huge crowd had left The Main Stage area, we went back in to sit down and wait for Panic At The Disco. It was nice to relax for a few minutes, our feet were achey but we were glad to have lasted this long before getting tired, ha! We stood up and moved more towards the front as more people got ready to see Panic. They opened their show with their song "Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time", it was so exciting and the lights were amazing. When Brandon spoke we realised he has a lisp! Which is quite endearing. He sounded great and definitely had the best time performing, even though he said he was kind of spaced out from jetlag and performing in Exeter for BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend. I only know Panic's new songs from their new album, Death Of A Batchelor, and it was so cool to sing along to them in real life, a nice change from singing to them in my car while in busy Oxford traffic. The lights around the stage were actually incredible i loved all of the colours and patterns so much, and the flames! Even the songs I didn't recognise were still awesome. 

There wasn't actually seating available at The Main Stage but staff started letting people up in the seating areas to see the show as the room was at capacity. We left Panic early to try and catch the end of Every Time I Die's set, back at the Impericon stage. We made it in and put earplugs in for the first time of the day, it was loud. As we got there they were playing their song "Bored Stiff." Every Time I Die are a metal punk bank I am not familiar with but it was a good show and I'm glad AJ got to see them again. During their last song a guy from the crowd climbed up and danced around a support pillar, security guards quickly gathering on the floor around him. After a while the excited fan jumped off and into the crowd, lasting about 2 seconds there before 3 security guards BRUTALLY removed him from the building. It was shocking to see how they manhandled him, it freaked me out, I think it was way too harsh and uncalled for to be so aggressive. Every Time I Die's set finished with the guitarist Jordan, crowd surfing amongst the fans holding him up while he attempted to still play his guitar.

Headed outside and to the exit of the festival, hopped in a taxi with two others heading to the same hotel (cheap taxi fair again, brill), finally checked into our room, and ate our third donut of the day. 

Pretty much all of the bands I saw at Slamdunk were new to me apart from Panic At The Disco, haha but it was still so fun.


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