Redemption at Slam Dunk despite the weather as it reminds fans why it’s a festival favourite

You’ll never catch a bit of rain and mud stopping this country’s gig-goers having a good time.
Slam Dunk music festival review 2024

Weather and festivals (sigh), they’re never going to be best mates here in the UK, but with last year being such a nightmare for the long-standing rock and pop-punk favourite, Slam Dunk 2024 HAD to be better.

And it was, even despite the weather. It might have been by the skin of their teeth and a few issues here and there, but they managed it.

With the city having hosted Live at Leeds on the already soggy Temple Newsam ground the day before, the conditions were hardly going to be perfect and even with the Whites playing a massive game at Wembley, we still saw thousands marching on together down the hill.

Some ended up sliding most of the time, but you get the picture.

We only had boots on the ground at Slam Dunk North on the Sunday, but we’d heard much more positive things from those in the South shows at Hatfield Park in London and, regardless of the rain, spirits were high, voices were full and emo phases were still very much in full effect.

Catching an early throwback with We The Kings for our first slot of the day, it became very apparent that we were going to feel one of two things: pure nostalgia and the added realisation of just how old we’d gotten.

We definitely weren’t alone in that respect, though it was nice to see how much of a mixed age the festival had welcomed this year, but it did dawn on us very quickly that it had virtually been two decades since we first heard some of these songs – not least from the headliners.

But we’ll get on to that…

slam dunk lineup this year
So many names that hadn’t been to the UK in years rocked up for the day.

One of the standout moments had to be seeing Mallory Knox reunite after five years up and they couldn’t possibly have picked a better way to do it than at a festival like Slam Dunk, which had been a proving ground for them and so many other bands from that era.

We were gutted when they started having some sound issues right from the beginning of their set – the last thing you want after so long out of the game – but it warmed our hearts to see the crowd keeping the songs going for every single second and it was clear it meant a lot to them.

Frustration aside, they smashed the set and Mikey Chapman sounded just as good as ever, no matter the odds that were stacked against him and his old friends, not to mention a very wet audience.

We then managed to catch the wonderful Manchester band Pale Waves (which our Manc family visiting for the day clearly appreciated) before the frustrating part of the day where clashes began to crop up and we sadly had to split up. The cruel axiom of all live music festivals.

However, we can all individually vouch for Asking Alexandria, Boys Like Girls, The All American Rejects and The Wonder Years being absolute dynamite. It really did feel like the old days.

But let’s not beat around the bush any longer, there was one big name that most people had turned up to see and although they’ve consistently continued making music for 20 years now, the performance was a real blast from the past and a bit of a love letter to our younger selves.

We’re talking, of course, about You Me At Six, who played their final ever festival set in front of an adoring Leeds crowd that was full of emotion and plenty of tears. Seriously, there were a lot.

Similar to the feelings drummed up by seeing Mallory Knox back on stage and that sense of symbolising so many that had gone before, in between playing banger after banger, frontman Josh Franceschi gave a rousing speech about how young bands need to keep dreaming big.

As he put it, the five-piece were once in their shoes and simply kept going no matter who told them they weren’t good enough. But the message was a universal one, much like the ones in songs such as ‘Underdog’, ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Take On The World’ have always felt.

And that’s exactly why you didn’t see a single Sixer miss a single word.

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This wasn’t just a goodbye for many fans, though they will get one last chance to see them on their farewell tour in 2025, it was a reminder of just how big this particular British rock band and old pop-punk pioneers on this side of the Atlantic meant to their generation.

Hearing an entire field scream their head off to ‘Bite My Tongue’ will forever go down as a core gig memory and we couldn’t ask for anything more when going to see live music: giving you something you’ll remember forever.

Slam Dunk North 2024’s highlight definitely came down to one momentous headliner but it had to be said that despite the weather a few hiccups here and there, they did their very best to battle through obstacles and make things go ahead and we believe they redeemed themselves.

And on that note, all that’s left to say is RIP, You Me At Six, 2005-2025 and thank you, Temple Newsam – we’ll see you next year for more mud and moshing.

Featured Images — The Hoot Leeds/The Manc Group

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