One of the most entertaining figures in British culture today, Big Narstie has become a true superstar of the internet age. The BDL figurehead has helped usher in the new era of Grime dominance with his punchy vocal flow and unmistakable presence, dropping by mainstream TV and chart features with ease. Catching a viral sensation in the flesh, Big Narstie’s appearances on the BBC Radio 1Xtra Stage are set to be a true highlight of a legend in the making at this year’s festivals.
Californian heroes Third Eye Blind are set to return to British shores with a hugely anticipated set on the Festival Republic Stage. Following the sold out London & Manchester shows last November, American alternative rock band Third Eye Blind return to the UK for Reading and Leeds. Expect the classics and fan favourites from the first 4 albums, along with songs from their recently released ‘Dopamine’ album.
The favourites of today and the future reign supreme at Reading and Leeds 2016, as seen by the return of Deaf Havana take to the stage armed with a catalogue of unifying rock tales and new material from an upcoming fourth studio album that’s sure to see airplay at their NME/Radio 1 Stage appearance. Rising pop-soul queen Låpsley has drawn vast plaudits for her recently released debut LP ‘Long Way Home’ and her mercurial sound is sure to create a unique and bewitching spectacle on the Festival Republic Stage, whilst Arcane Roots and their heavy-hitting onslaught is sure to be a massive hit over at the Lock Up Stage.
Across a spectrum of stages, Reading and Leeds provides a true platter of game-changing music with a variety of names added to the line up today.
Joining a mammoth line up on the Main Stage that already boasts appearances from the biggest names in modern music are American groove-benders Clutch, celebrating 25 years and 11 studio albums of forward-thinking alternative rock. They are joined today by Macclesfield trio The Virginmarys whose set of riotous punk comes fresh off the back of sophomore album ‘Divides’. Providing an opportunity to seize the biggest stage of the summer, the Main Stage is lined up to provide festival moment after festival moment at Reading and Leeds 2016.
NME / RADIO 1 STAGE
With Deaf Havana announced for their return to Reading and Leeds, the NME/Radio 1 Stage is also set to host the hotly-tipped six-piece Whitney who’s deftly Americana sound has seen them rise into a bonafide force of their own. Formed for just over a year, their debut appearance at Reading and Leeds Festival is sure to be a riveting affair. Joining them are Fickle Friends who have been on the tongues of new music fans for over 18 months, steadily building a reputation for dazzling tropical indie and delectable pop hooks that are sure to bring the sunshine to Reading and Leeds this summer.
THE PIT/LOCK UP STAGE
Alongside Arcane Roots being announced today is the distorted scuzz sound of Ghost Town. Infusing electronic dance music with dank heavy vibrations to form a true hybrid spectacle, Ghost Town will be coming to The Pit with sheer ferocious intent fresh from having spent the entire summer on the Warped Tour in America. Also on the Lock Up stage, rising favourites Greywind will touch down for a hotly anticipated performance, as the Irish brother-sister duo unleash a wave of sound that cements just why they remain one of the hottest properties in rock today. Full of originality and sensational live spectacles, The Pit/Lock Up Stage once again boasts the best in the heavy rock sphere.
FESTIVAL REPUBLIC STAGE
Full of the headliners and the anthemic sounds of tomorrow, the Festival Republic Stage has added even more of the hottest names in ground-breaking new sounds. Psychedelic Australian rockers King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard will be launching into dense technicolour, whilst ethereal sound-scapers Palace will continue their rise with an emphatic and moon-lit set this summer. With further appearances announced for pop groover Will Joseph Cook, Austrian ‘stoner-rock’ duo White Miles and the alternative neo-indie of Gnash, the Festival Republic Stage is once again the place to be.
With Big Narstie announced today, the BBC 1XTRA Stage packs the biggest urban festival line up of the summer, with new additions including radio icon Charlie Sloth; arguably the voice of British urban music and a true champion of innovative and fresh hip-hop from around the globe. He’ll take to the decks alongside names including established South London MC Sneakbo, Jay Z collaborator Baauer, US underground starlet Mick Jenkins, Kiko Bun and his modern take on classic reggae and admired producer Troyboi. With The Range and Rude Kid also confirmed for moments across the weekend, the BBC 1XTRA Stage will provide an exciting soundtrack to the bank holiday weekend.
Stuffed full of incredible music and festival memories, Reading and Leeds 2016 will break new ground with 5 Headliners Over 3 Days, with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals, Biffy Clyro, Disclosure and Fall Out Boy all commanding euphoric celebrations for landmark headlining performances. They head up a bill that includes the leading names in rock, indie, dance, hip-hop, RnB and everything in-between featuring Jack U, The 1975, Two Door Cinema Club, Boy Better Know, Chvrches, Imagine Dragons, The Vaccines, A$AP Rocky, HAIM, Nas, Good Charlotte, Asking Alexandria, Fetty Wap and over 200 more. The epicentre of alternative music, Reading and Leeds is once again destined to cement the next generation of musical legends.
Biffy Clyro (Co-headline) (UK Festival Exclusive)
Fall Out Boy (Co-headline) (UK Festival Exclusive)
Red Hot Chili Peppers (Headline)
Imagine Dragons (European Festival Exclusive)
Two Door Cinema Club
Boy Better Know
The Vaccines (UK Festival Exclusive)
A$AP Rocky (UK Festival Exclusive)
HAIM (UK Festival Exclusive)
Nas (UK Festival Exclusive)
Good Charlotte (UK Festival Exclusive)
Coheed and Cambria
Tonight Alive (UK Festival Exclusive)
Twenty One Pilots (UK Festival Exclusive)
Crystal Castles (UK Festival Exclusive)
Fetty Wap (UK Festival Exclusive)
Eagles Of Death Metal (UK Festival Exclusive)
Parkway Drive (UK Festival Exclusive)
Nothing But Thieves
The Internet (UK Festival Exclusive)
Lower Than Atlantis (UK Festival Exclusive)
Asking Alexandria (UK Festival Exclusive)
The Dillinger Escape Plan (UK Festival Exclusive)
Travi$ Scott (UK Festival Exclusive)
G-Eazy (UK Festival Exclusive)
Five Finger Death Punch (UK Festival Exclusive)
Sleeping With Sirens (UK Festival Exclusive)
The Neighbourhood (UK Festival Exclusive)
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
Die Antwoord (UK Festival Exclusive)
Cage The Elephant (UK Festival Exclusive)
Krept & Konan
Half Moon Run
The Temper Trap
Brian Fallon And The Crowes
Clean Cut Kid
Pulled Apart By Horses
The Magic Gang
Highly Suspect (UK Festival Exclusive)
Lewis Del Mar
The Vryll Society
Giraffe Tongue Orchestra
Danny L Harle
Fred V & Grafix
The Japanese House
David Rodigan MBE
My Nu Leng B2B Oneman + Dread MC (Reading) / Oneman B2B My Nu Leng + Dread MC (Leeds)
If I was going to tell you that I knew anything about the 2000Trees festival as I was stuck on a hellish drive down from London on Thursday, it would be an outright lie- the small festival on the outskirts of Chelt enham has managed to evade my personal radar for 8 years since it’s inception and having learnt about it last year, I can count myself lucky enough to have attended this year. Still, besides all of the hype from previous years’ attendants, I had not entirely decided on what I should expect.
The modest capacity festival is hidden deep in the Gloucestershire countryside, complete with rolling hills, bleating flocks of sheep, and and an idyllic river running around the edge of the site, and even though we were lucky with the weather (A welcome change from the usual rain of the UK festival scene) the scenery would have stood up and still looked beautiful regardless.
Unfortunately arriving later than anticipated, and due to the lack of advertising for Thursday’s acts, we missed some of the earlier performances. However, Thursday night saw the Indie rock and rollers, THE SUBWAYS draw close to the day’s music with their explosively energetic performance at ‘The Cave’ while ANDREW O’NEIL headed up ‘The Croft’ with his Schadenfreude style of comedy, somewhat appropriately referencing to the late Bill Hicks in his set, to warm reception.
I kicked off Friday’s music with a punt on a completely new band to me – BITE THE BUFFALO, and how glad I was that I did. Comparing the 2 piece from Bath, England; to Royal Blood would be short sighted, as the Blues outfit brought filthy riffs, bluesy overdrive, and confident ballsy attitude and stagemanship, yet an honest humility that cemented them as my favourite act of the weekend. ALLUSONDRUGS treated a modest crowd to their blend of Indie rock and acid infused prog, switching seamlessly from one to the other. Heading up to ‘The Croft’ I had planned to catch some of SAM RUSSO’s set whilst escaping the peaking sun- the Singer-songwriter providing a nice contrast from Allusondrugs, allowing those who chose to get respite from the sweltering sun with a calm background of songs about love, friendship and moving on. Having only intended to catch a bit of his set, I ended up staying for the whole thing. Back on the main stage, TAX ON HEAT continued the stage’s bluesfest with sweaty and groovy 70’s era licks, with a stage presence that wouldn’t be out of place on a bigger stage, with a bigger crowd. Catching a bit of DEAD HARTS set over lunch at the Cave Stage, a welcomed heavy and tight performance was only dampened by the Sheffield rockers insistence on perpetually insulting the crowd, and trying to goad them into movement. NOTHING BUT THIEVES brought a massive crowd to ‘The Axiom’, the first act of the day to pack out the tent, fans sprawling around outside singing along to their set.
The main convenience of 2000trees scheduling is that most of the line up is staggered over the stages, meaning you only ever have to choose between 2 acts to see or easily catch half of both sets enabling whole days of tent hopping and the potential to (talking in extremes here) see every act (or if you realise that you are in the wrong place entirely, to avoid every act.) I spent a bit of time in the hidden ‘Room No.7’ to sit down and chill out on a sofa, with the sounds of ACOLLECTIVE bouncing across the site.
Back to the Main Stage, and YOUNG GUNS had already seized control of their crowd, with frontman Gustav Wood commanding their crowd with professional bravado that one would expect of a band of this caliber, while the band behind ran a tight ship, as the stadium filling hits kept coming. Headliners DEAF HAVANA, making a welcome return after a self realised absence kicked off their set with ‘The Past 6 Years’, before packing out their set with most of their more recent hits, with the whole crowd throwing back the lyrics right back at them. Humbled by the crowd’s staggering response, an emotional James Veck-Gilodi apologised for their recent absence and with the promise of a new album, a headline tour and new drive and enthusiasm for Deaf Havana, before closing off their night with nostalgic anthem, Hunstanton Pier.
The night didn’t end there for the people of 2000Trees, however. Silent discos then kicked off across the site at the Main Stage and The Cave, whilst The Axiom provided silent cinema until 3am, and acoustic sets around the site on the various busk stops and down at The Forest kept those who missed out on headphones for the silent activities entertained until around 1am, or until they staggered off into the night.
Saturday’s music kicked off with an unusual act on the Main Stage, HUMAN PYRAMIDS. Described as Neo-Classical meets Post-Punk, Axe’s Paul Russell’s brainchild soothingly eased everyone into the day’s music, starting with a melodic introduction from their String quartet and horns section, before gradually coming to a crescendo with roaring guitars and heavy bass. Opening up ‘The Cave’ at 12:25 were Blackpool’s BOSTON MANOR (check out the interview HERE), who didn’t see fit to spare audiences hangovers, and bust straight into a flurry of fast paced punk hits from the go, not relenting until their time was up, having been a fan of BOSTON MANOR for a while, I am glad to have caught their set, before interviewing them later in the day.
Through other people’s suggestion, I headed over to check out MILK TEETH (on ‘The Axiom’), but was unable to get closer than the side of the tent, due to their massive pull for their time slot. The Stroud based group cranked out grungy punk, often showing their very heavy Nirvana influence, but unfortunately failed to capture my attention for all that long, as their (maybe purposefully, and fitting with the grunge genre) set sounded unpolished and loose. I caught a bit of BOY JUMPS SHIP’s set back on ‘The Axiom’, which keeping in the ‘Pop-Punk’ theme of the stage going, managed to play their faster, more intricate set than the preceding band with a lot more technical proficiency and enthusiasm, creating a more enjoyable experience for the casual music fans loitered in between stages for their lunch.
On the subject of lunch, 2000trees has a modest selection of food vendors dotted around the site, by each of the 3 main stages. Festival food for me seems like it has a bad rep, but the team at 2000trees only seem to have booked vendors who would offer a fair service for non-extortionate prices. Grilled Halloumi burgers and sweet potato fries kept me sustained throughout Friday, while a chunky bacon butty and fresh scotch eggs kept me alive Saturday. Monmouth Coffee being served as well was a really big surprise, and you’d get change from a tenner for a meal, which when coming from London is a rarity.
After lunch, songstress ALICE PHEOBE LOU dazzled the crowd with her beautiful voice, serenading the crowd with angelic highs with a bit of Sia-esque grit hidden behind. Forgetting lyrics aside, as she bonded with the crowd over the weather, and treated us all to a chilled, eerie set. As the day edged to an end, and after an outstanding genre spanning set from THE SKINTS, I found myself back up at ‘The Croft’ for THE BIG SIXES, only due to the fact they had spent the day attaching terrible posters to everything across the site advertising their set, and not knowing what to expect initially, my doubts were swept away by a tide of harmonies, expertly crafted songwriting, and top notch inter-song conversation, before their encore consisting of a couple of songs in the crowd, surrounded by a mass of singing fans. THE BIG SIXES managed to work up a predominantly neutral audience into a hyped crowd, a feat that would be natural for an established fast paced Pop-Punk band, but not for a slow and groovy act such as The Big Sixes.
Saturday’s headliners ALKALINE TRIO took to the stage at 21:45 just as the clouds began to burst, having held out -threatening rain- for the latter half of the day. The initial swell of excitement quickly died out, as those who were not diehard fans were let down by what was a lethargic performance, frontman Matt Skiba giving an uncomfortable appearance, whilst he murmured out lyrics to songs with little emotion. Bassist Dan Andriano however was giving a lot more to the crowd, interacting well with drummer Derek Grant and moving around the stage between swapping vocal priorities with Matt. Unfortunately for ALKALINE TRIO, and what may have be exacerbated by a disappointing lack of crowd compared to their stateside presence, or what Matt Skiba may now be used to playing for Blink 182, a more instant degree of stagemanship is necessary to win over a crowd that may not only be there to see you, as not to fade into the background.
So what would I say about my first experience at 2000Trees?
I’m going to be bold with this statement, the attitude at 2000Trees reminds me of that at Glastonbury, albeit on a tiny scale. You get the real feeling that the people around you haven’t just come to see their favourite band, and will spend the rest of their time getting into as much trouble as possible, but more that it’s an annual tradition for them. The nine year old festival caters for everyone, and whilst running about the site this weekend, the amount of friendly faces I would bump into at each act astounded me, only to bump into them 20 minutes later at a different tent.
The site itself is relatively tiny, but not cramped. Even those arriving half way through Friday were finding spots to camp up with ease, with enough room for stoves, barbecues or extra gazebos to sleep under when their tents got too hot.
I’m not sure what my favourite part of this weekend has been- whether it’s the terrific atmosphere from the punters in the know and relish the intimacy of this little festival, the picturesque surroundings that the festival is lucky enough to have, the fantastically located Forest stage or what has been a fantastic line up, bringing some names such as Deaf Havana, We Are The Ocean, MClusky* and Alkaline Trio, and providing emerging and underground UK music a proving ground on the UK festival scene. This weekend at 2000Trees has been one that shall be remembered, relished, and hopefully repeated in the coming years.
Tickets for 2000Trees 10th year are now on Sale, and can be picked up on their site.
With a Guinness World Record, Gold and Silver Discs and plaudits from the likes of Billboard and NME, it’s not surprising that Super Furry Animals are held in such high regard. The Cardiff five-piece has fused rock, indie, electronic and psychedelia in a career that spans over 20 years and Y Not Festival is understandably thrilled to be adding Super Furry Animals to this summer’s proceedings. Public Service Broadcasting rocketed onto the scene over the last year and the duo is currently on a near sold out UK tour. Fans unlucky enough to have missed tickets fear not, the immersive PSB experience is now confirmed for Y Not. Some cinematic rock is added to the bill courtesy of Deaf Havana who have previously supported the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Muse. Singles including ‘Mildred’ were crowned ‘Hottest Record In The World’ by the likes of former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, so expect rousing moments when the guys hit the stage at Y Not.
Elsewhere on the line up promoters have secured sets from a fine mix of guitar slingers, from the delicate and twee to swaggering screamers. Irish rock outfit The Strypes, singer-songwriter Rhodes and former Feeder front-man Grant Nicholas are all headed for Y Not. The Kerrang!-approved Arcane Roots, blues-tinged Rag N Bone Man along with alt pop husband and wife duo Summer Camp and Jaws make for yet more musical delights on offer. Walking On Cars, a band that topped the Irish iTunes chart with their debut single,Blossom’s psyche-pop and a mix of hardcore, post and math rock from Black Peaks form yet more of Y Not’s sonic bounty. Also added are many more names including Twin Wild, All Tvvins, High Tyde, Forever Never, Man Made, Ady Suleiman, Movie, The Beach, Vant and United Fruit.
Independent labels Big Scary Monsters and Alcopop are joining forces at this year’s Y Not Festival producing an eardrum-pleasing stage takeover. Featuring Aberdeen’s finest power-pop trio, The Xcerts, the takeover will showcase both labels’ best and favourite talents in the form of Tellison, Brawlers, Best Friends, Get Inuit, Axes, Woahnows, Spills and John.
The final raft of bands has been revealed for the 2000trees Festival, as organisers confirm they expect the event to sell out.
Joining the likes of DEAF HAVANA, ALKALINE TRIO, IDLEWILD, WE ARE THE OCEAN, THE SUBWAYS and YOUNG GUNS are…
Errors / Skinny Lister / Honeyblood / Kiran Leonard / ROAM / Tax the Heat / Boy Jumps Ship & Oh Boy!
The award-winning 2000trees Festival celebrates its ninth year near Cheltenham, on 9-11 July. It features the very best new and underground music on six stages, plus comedy, DJs, a silent disco, quality food and drink and children’s entertainment.
Other acts among the 100-strong bill include And So I Watch You From Afar, Mclusky*, The Skints, Future of the Left, Kerbdog, Pulled Apart By Horses, Arcane Roots, The Xcerts, Bury Tomorrow, The Twilight Sad, Benjamin Booker, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Turbowolf, Feed the Rhino and Defeater.
Alt-rock heroes Deaf Havana will headline the 2000trees Festival main stage this summer.
Kerbdog, Pulled Apart By Horses and Arcane Roots are also confirmed in the first line-up announcement of the year from the multi-award-winning festival, along with The Computers, Rob Lynch, Big Sixes, Allusondrugs, Nothing But Thieves and &U&I.
Gloucestershire’s own SOLEMN SUN, The Cadbury Sisters and Thrill Collins are set to play, along with Milk Teeth, The St. Pierre Snake Invasion, Bridges, Lonely Tourist and Rozelle.
Deaf Havana have released two critically-acclaimed major label albums, supported Bruce Springsteen and Muse, completed a plethora of sold out headline tours and played numerous high profile mainstream festivals.
Lead guitarist Chris Pennells says the band are really excited to headline the main stage:
"2000 trees is a festival we've always looked forward to one day playing, due to its solid line-ups of great British rock bands. It's great that our pals Big Sixes will be there and we're looking forward to The Computers and Rob Lynch too"
On September 27th Ringmaster Festival will open it's gates for the first time and are pleased to announce their Friday schedule, which will serve as a taster to the main spectacle of Saturday's line up.
Friday will see Dry The River as headliners, along with performances from Dan Croll, Night Engine, Flyte, Dancing Years and a local opener, selected by Dry The River.
Saturday brings along Maximo Park, Mystery Jets, Deaf Havana, The Blackout, Hadouken!, We Are The Ocean, Ghostpoet and Johnny Borrell & Zazou, as well as some of the UK’s finest rising acts like Swim Deep, Lewis Watson, Theme Park, Thumpers, Luke Sital-Sing and Chloe Howl, whilst Gnarwolves replace Dinosaur Pile-Up.
Saturday will also see the signing tent come to the action, where fans can will be able to meet bands and see acoustic sets from the likes of Deaf Havana in a 150 capacity environment.
Originally planed as a one-day event, the now two-day festival takes place at Hopton Wafers, in the stunning Hereford & Worcestershire countryside. This year’s Ringmaster will home big top tents with the look and feel of a vintage circus but with a focus very much on music.
With a shared vision and ethos of celebrating creativity in all forms whilst supporting the next generation running through from the festival founders and all the extended staff Ringmaster will be donating a share of £5 per ticket to their two chosen charities, Barnardo’s & Longlands Care Farm. The festival will also be supporting the local area by using local food produce.
Other acts set to play this year are: The Xcerts, Young Kato, The Family Rain, Arcane Roots, Fossil Collective, Tall Ships and Sons and Lovers, plus many more..
Ringmaster Festival has, due to access issues being insurmountable, changed to a larger venue, enabling the festival newcomer to incorporate 2 nights of camping to the schedule.
Newcomer Ringmaster Festival announces a venue change to Hopton Court, Hopton Wafers, Cleobury Mortimer, Worcestershire, DY14 0EF. The change in venues enables the addition of two nights campaign at this years festival and more music from up and coming local acts on Friday 27th September (full details to be announced soon).
Set in the stunning Worcestershire & Shropshire countryside borders, Hopton Court will now welcome this year's Ringmaster Festival.
Originally planned for one day, Ringmaster is now extended to include camping on both Friday 27th and Saturday 28th September, with upcoming bands now planned for the Friday evening.
Acts confirmed for this year are: Maximo Park, who headline the BIG ELI tent, withMystery Jets, Deaf Havana, Swim Deep & Theme Park. The Blackout, We Are The Ocean & Canterbury play the Red Baron stage and Ghostpoet, Johnny Borrell & Zazou, Tall Ships & Chloe Howl being some of the names on the Mabel Stark stage.
Ringmaster also welcome Mike Dignam, Dolomite Minor, The Darlingtons, Lloyd Yates, Tom Jarvis, Midnight Special, Katey Brooks, The Watermelons and Liz Lawrence and many, many more to this years line up.
For full line up and stage information please visit: www.ringmasterfestival.co.uk
As the festival season draws to a close, September 28th 2013 will see the first Ringmaster Festival take place on the Whitbourne Estate in Worcestershire for an explosion of music and food meets a vintage circus.
This year sees Maximo Park, Mystery Jets, Deaf Havana, Swim Deep, Theme Park, Tall Ships on the line-up, who will be joined by rising stars Chloe Howl, Luke Sital-Singh, Thumpers, and in keeping with the festivals ethos of supporting upcoming talent, Laurel Canyons, Marie Naffah, Lewis Mokler and Tom Jarvis amongst others join the bill.
Set in the stunning Hereford & Worcestershire countryside borders, a place usually home to cattle, this years Ringmaster Festival will, for one day, be home to 6 big top tents, with the look and feel of a vintage circus (circa 1934) but with a focus very much on music.
With a shared vision and ethos of celebrating creativity in all forms whilst supporting the next generation running through from the festival founders and all the extended staff Ringmaster will be donating a share of £5 per ticket to their two chosen charities, Barnardo’s & Longlands Care Farm. There will also be a focus on being ‘green’, with the festival using local food produce and only allowing a certain number of vehicles on site, to reduce long term damage to the fields.
In addition to this year’s festival Ringmaster will be announcing and holding a festival warm-up tour, which will see some of this year’s fresh and upcoming lineup take to the stage.
Line-up (more to be announced soon)…
Maximo Park, Mystery Jets, Deaf Havana, Swim Deep, Theme Park, Lewis Watson, Young Kato, The Family Rain, Thumpers, Canterbury, The Xcerts, Blitz Kids, Attention Thieves, Big Sixes, Tall Ships, Chloe Howl, Fossil Collective, Luke Sital-Singh, Sons and Lovers, Astronomyy. Meadowlark, Port Isla and upcoming acts: fiN, rumHoney, Tom Jarvis, Laurel Canyons, Lillian Todd-Jones, Black Balloons, Charlotte Carpenter, Passport to Stockholm, Joyce the Librarian, Marie Naffah, Rhys Lloyd Morgan, Alexander Joseph and Lewis Mokler.
In keeping with the festivals local and family feeling Under-10s go free with an accompanying adult. Under-18s must be accompanied by an adult of 21 years or older. Any over 21-year old can only be responsible for up to four Under-18s.
Tickets cost £39.50 and can be purchased from the website and following outlets.
With so many festivals spread over whole weekends, Slamdunk offers something a little different. With seven stages, both indoor and out, and bands playing throughout the day, Slamdunk Wolverhampton offers the younger generation a chance to experience the excitement of a punk rock festival without the hassle of camping.
The crowd immediately gravitated towards the Monster Energy stage at the far end of the arena, as it boasted the first act of the day, Heart in Hand. The British hardcore act kicked off the festival with a bang, exhibiting the spirit that set the precedence for all the bands that followed them.
After exploring outside through all the assorted merchandise tents, the flow of the crowd swept me inside in time to see what the main stage had to offer. With bands such as Tonight Alive and Sleeping with Sirens on throughout the day, there was constantly a lively crowd leading up to the big headliners, the fantastic All Time Low. I don’t think I’ve ever heard screams like those leading up to the entrance of the US four piece. As the lights went out after the final sound checks, the screams were beyond deafening and many of those ladies had their bras at the ready to throw. And throw them they did! Lead guitarist, Jack Barakat, had quite the extensive collection hanging from his mic stand by the time the first song peaked. And with their bright, energetic performance, they didn’t disappoint, with crowds spilling into the hallways straining to get a glimpse of the famous foursome.
If you preferred a closer encounter with your favourite bands and were willing to explore the more hidden stages, you were rewarded with two more stages, each offering their own unique take of the festival experience. The Tiger stage alone offered a more intimate setting, giving bands like Yashin and Cancer Bats, a chance of a far more personal performance. In fact Harry Redford, one of the two lead singers of Yashin, couldn’t keep himself away from the crowd.
It wasn’t exclusively for the younger generation of punk rockers though. Heading back outside to the Vans stage, there was an impressive line-up of 90s punk bands to greet the more old school punk in the crowd. Throughout the day there was a gathering of brightly coloured mohawks to be seen, and as soon as the bands announced their arrival the ‘hawks made their way forward, like shark fins heading towards their next victim.
With the likes of [Spunge] proclaiming “We are not dead!” and MC Lars stating out loud to the crowd that skanking is still cool, with his post-punk laptop rap inviting members of the crowd onto the stage to get down and dance. There were even brass instruments, some more steampunk than others, making an appearance with the likes of Streetlight Manifesto and the recently reformed King Prawn.
All in all, beers, bands, bras and some bloody scary 10ft aliens walking around. This bank holiday Monday, Slamdunk Wolverhampton was the place to be!