One Week On: A Look at Slam Dunk 2023

Text & Images: Anieck van Maaren I As one of the first UK festivals to kick off festival season, and with the weather to match it, Slam Dunk took place in Leeds and Hatfield last weekend. Their first sold out edition ever almost proved too much for the organisation. Hordes of moshers, headbangers and two-steppers made their way to the site to see over fifty bands across seven different stages and with roads jamming up ahead of the festivities, we can only hope everyone got to see their favourites in time. One thing is for sure; there were certainly plenty to choose from. We’ve lined up our favourites down below.

The Rock Scene and Dickies stages topped the bill, boasting Enter Shikari and The Offspring as their respective headliners. A special mention deserves to be given to Shikari for putting on possibly the most creatively theatrical main stage show in Slam Dunk history. Utilizing LED screens as a backdrop and creating immersive scenes set in a forest fire, a museum and a water tank, amongst others, the band receive collective gasps of awe from the audience on multiple occasions. Top that off with Shikari’s ever-energetic performance and some perfectly timed pyro and you get the perfect recipe for an incredibly worthy headliner.

Another highlight of this year’s Slam Dunk was the amount of unexpected reunion shows or full album performances. The band that made their most-awaited return at the festival was Kids In Glass Houses, playing their album Smart Casual (almost) in full on the main stage fifteen years after first releasing it and eight years after playing their last show. Upon KIGH taking the stage the field erupted with cheers and the band played a surprisingly solid set, considering how long it’s been for them, with loud singalongs.

A band that didn’t get a stage quite as big for their UK reunion was Yellowcard. Having been booked on the Kerrang! stage, which certainly wasn’t big enough for them, the band caused the tent to overflow with punters hoping to catch a glimpse. Perhaps one of the better sets of the day, the energy of the crowd was high from start to finish. Truly a band we’re glad to see back.

Check out the gallery below for other sets by Real Friends, Zebrahead and Less Than Jake: