It’s that time of year again where Slam Dunk Festival invades several cities and Universities for the second bank holiday weekend of May. Boasting over 60 bands across eight stages, themed from ska punk and pop-punk, to metalcore and hardcore, Slam Dunk has something for everyone.

Each year the festival brings something exciting to the day, a grand return or a special occasion, last year it was Panic! At The Disco making a return to the UK. Though this year there is something on a grander scale. Enter Shikari headlining the whole event with a special ‘Take To The Skies’ anniversary set, celebrating the now decade-old album that put the politically-charged electro-rockers on the map. It will be a momentous occasion.

Another momentous occasion would be the return of three third-wave ska icons to Slam Dunk Festival. Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish and Goldfinger return as a package for the first time since 2011 where they stormed the Jagermeister Stage. This year they take over the Fireball Stage and unload yet more great sing-along skank-worthy anthems for the masses. It truly is a wet dream for ska-punk fans. Let’s not forget the return of pop-punk favourites, Cute Is What We Aim For, to the UK too.

Full Lineup and set times here

Our Top 10 Picks For Slam Dunk Festival 2017

Every year there is a monster lineup at Slam Dunk Festival, sometimes it’s hard to choose, especially when there are clashes, regardless of clashes, here are some bands we absolutely recommend you see this year.

Enter Shikari – Jagermeister Stage @ 21:25

Of course at the top of our list is Enter Shikari, one of the most exciting and energetic bands to see live with their brand of trancecore or electro-rock, they never fail to entertain. But with the fact that they are performing a special ‘Take To The Skies’ set just makes it an even bigger selling point. Prepare to hear some classics you haven’t heard live in a long time, the frantic nature of ‘No Sssweat’ is certainly getting us giddy.

Crossfaith – Jagermeister Stage @ 14:30

Rather similar to Enter Shikari in some respects, Japanese lads, Crossfaith blend the ferocity of metalcore with infectious synth melodies, all delivered as if they have an energizer battery powering them. They are relentless, vicious, yet fun. Plus their incredibly punchy cover of ‘Omen’ by The Prodigy is always enjoyable.

Beartooth – Jagermeister Stage @ 17:40

Beartooth shifts between the fun vibes and the tenacious attitude more times than you can count. What you are guaranteed to is a collection of tracks that will either make you lose your shit or lose your voice. The core tone of their 2016 album, ‘Aggressive’ can be described as exactly that, but lots of hooking melodies and sing-a-long segments. It’s like a grittier sounding A Day To Remember.

Less Than Jake – Fireball Stage @ 22:20

Less Than Jake never fail to entertain and bring the fun to any event, so this is a safe bet. Packed with over 20 years worth of ska anthems, you can expect upbeat greatest hits set, along with some new material from their recent album ‘Sound The Alarm’, which has more of an old-school Less Than Jake Feel to it.

Goldfinger – Fireball Stage @ 17:45

“Who knew a video game would have such an effect on a song?” said main man John Feldmann at Slam Dunk Festival, South in 2015. He was, of course, talking about the iconic song ‘Superman’, loved by anyone who played Tony Hawks Pro Skater. Much like Less Than Jake, we can expect another set of Goldfinger greatest hits songs that spread over the last two decades, providing a mixture of fun-fueled ska anthems and hard-hitting skate punk hits.

Reel Big Fish – Fireball Stage @ 18:55

At risk of repeating comments on Goldfinger and Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish will deliver much of the same in terms of popular material from their back catalogue. Laced with two-tone vibes and punk-rock tones, it will be another safe bet for a highly enjoyable time. Let’s face it, we’ve all lost our voices to their cover of ‘Take On Me’ on multiple occasions.

Neck Deep – Monster Stage @ 21:40

Neck Deep are up there as one of the most popular bands in modern pop-punk, it’s not even surprising in the slightest after only performing the festival once, they are now headlining a stage. Neck Deep combine the angst of youth with upbeat nature of pop-punk to deliver vibes of joy, expect a possible show stealing performance.

WSTR – Monster Stage @ 15:35

For a band that’s part of the pop-punk revival era, they strongly take note from the subgenre pioneers, such as New Found Glory. Liverpool lads WSTR are a band that follow the usual tropes of pop-punk while writing songs about breakups but delivered with pure honesty. They have a “raw” appeal that makes them stand out more positively compared to their peers.

Stray From The Path – Impericon Stage @ 19:35

What if Rage Against The Machine was a hardcore band? Stray From The Path is exactly that with their strong political messages delivered with punchy riffs and funky as hell rhythms. If anyone can get a crowd bouncing and kicking ass, it’s these New Yorkers.

The Gospel Youth – Rocksound Stage @ 19:55

If you like Deaf Havana, Kids In Glass Houses or anything resembling that anthemic pop-rock category, The Gospel Youth should be right up your street. In recent years, we have seen these lads crawl up the pop-punk scenes with appearances supporting ROAM and performing at Breakout Festival, now they are peaking the interests of major festivals by being confirmed for Warped Tour this year. Now is the perfect time to catch this band as they are continuously on the up.

Information about the festival

Saturday 27th May –  Slam Dunk Midlands – The NEC, BIRMINGHAM (14+)

Where is it? Genting Arena, NEC & outdoor stages.

Times: 1pm – 11pm

Slam Dunk Midlands says: “We will be adding a lot more outdoor space to the site next year including a large outdoor stage. This will increase space to move around the site more freely and allow for more viewing space on all stages. Wristband exchange will remain in the same location and although that ran with no problems last year, we have already found ways to improve it and make it quicker for you all!

As always we stand by the fact that there are enough toilets on site. We have however discovered that at some points of the day, certain toilets were in demand while others were going unused. We are combatting this by adding more stewards to communicate where to go if queues at some get larger than others. We will of course try to add even more if we can fit them in!”

The NEC,
Pendigo Lake, Birmingham,
West Midlands, B40 1NT

BY TRAIN: We are just a short walk from Birmingham International station.
BY CAR: Please see the ticket links to pre-book your event parking.
BY BUS: The Birmingham Airport coach and bus stops are just a short walk away from the main festival area.
BY PLANE: Birmingham Airport is the NECs onsite airport with flights arriving from all over the UK and Europe.

Sunday 28th May – Slam Dunk North – LEEDS, CITY CENTRE (14+)

Where is it? Millennium Square, O2 Academy, First Direct Arena, Leeds Beckett Uni & outdoor stages.

Times: 1pm – 11pm

Slam Dunk North Says: “For 2017l we are proud to announce the inclusion of the First Direct Arena as one of the stages at the festival. This stage is just a short walk across the road. By moving one of the stages to this new venue we will create more free space in the festival site, allowing more room in each venue and reducing queues.

This move will also allow us the space to run 2 main wristband exchanges, one at Victoria Gardens like this year and one at the Arena as we did in 2015. As well as these new measures we will also be running a number of smaller wristband exchanges around the city the day before the event – to allow people to pick up their wristbands the day before the event if they choose. These measures will guarantee much shorter queues at Slam Dunk Festival 2017.”

BY TRAIN: We are just a short walk from Leeds train station.
BY CAR: Please see the ticket links to pre-book your event parking.
BY BUS: Leeds bus station is centrally located and a short walk from the festival site.
BY PLANE: The closest airport is Leeds Bradford Airport with flights arriving from all over the UK and Europe.


Monday 29TH May – Slam Dunk South – The Forum, HERTFORDSHIRE (14+)

Where is it? University of Herts, Hatfield Campus (22 minutes from London Kings Cross)

Times: 1pm – 11pm

Slam Dunk South says: “This year the site has been extended to give us the space to run an additional larger outdoor stage. This will move more of the larger acts outside and reduce indoor congestion. We have also moved and redesigned the wristband exchange area to operate faster and to allow more wristbanding to take place before doors open.”

Hertfordshire Students’ Union
College Lane, Hatfield
Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB
Tel: 01707 285000

BY TRAIN: 22 minutes train from London Kings Cross + shuttlebus.
BY CAR: Please see the ticket links to pre-book your event parking. The university campus is within easy access of the A1(M)
BY BUS: The shuttle bus will run from 1030am-12am. Picking up at the train station and at the festival site. This is a free service from the University of Hertfordshire!

Check out our Slam Dunk Festival 2017 Playlist