ALTERNATIVE MUSIC FESTIVALS - Slam Dunk 2018 survival guide

Slam Dunk is growing every year. What started off as a little one-day event in Leeds back in 2006 has now grown into the UK’s best metropolitan festival, formed of three one-day events across Leeds, Birmingham and Hatfield. With it’s easy to get to locations, no need for camping and ever-brilliant line-up, Slam Dunk is one of the perfect ways for people to experience their first festival. So if this is your first festival, what do you need, what kind of things should you wear and what can you expect from the event? Don’t worry, we here at AltCorner will give you the lowdown ahead of the 2018 event.

What do I wear?

One of the major things many people (myself included) first think about when going to any sort of event is what to wear. Do I go casual? Do I glam up? If like me, you spend hours deliberating, then never fear, we’ll give you some hints (disclaimer; this is by no means a definitive ‘you should wear this’, wear what you feel comfortable in!)

The most common outfit you’ll find among the majority of the public at Slam Dunk is the simple and effective band shirt, skinny jeans and Vans combination. This combo defines comfort for a long day running between stages, keeping things simple and casual, while also showing your support for one of your favourite artists. This combination is a go-to for any festival (though maybe swap the Vans for wellies if it’s a grassy outdoor one!). The good thing about this combination with Slam Dunk is that the stages are either indoors or on concrete for those outdoors one, so there’s minimal chance of getting your Vans muddy (unless you find a very muddy puddle and decide to use that as a centre for a pit – we can’t predict the weather sorry guys!). So if you don’t really want to think about your outfit or are only deciding last minute what to wear, then this is an effective choice, you just have to decide which of those dozens of black band shirts you want to wear (don’t lie, we all have the same dilemma!).

If you’re more like me who likes to get glammed up for gigs, Slam Dunk is the best festival for that due to the previously mentioned lack of grassy areas and the indoor stages. Although one thing I would personally recommend you leave at home (which I always say I’ll do, but then never do) is the heels, while they can be a good idea if you’re just going to a normal gig, spending short of 12 hours running around a festival in heels does take it out of you (believe me, my poor feet last year. The things we do for style ey?). But with the after-party kicking off as soon as the headliners have finished, an outfit that you can both hit the pits during the festival and get your dance on at the after party is also something to look into. While the above combo would still work, I myself prefer something a bit more glam, even if it’s just a skirt and a cute crop top with some (dreaded) heeled boots or platforms (so if you see someone fitting that description running around the Birmingham date, come say hi!). A quick spruce up of the make-up and you can go from festival chic to party queen in the blink of an eye!

As I said at the start of this section, this is just a bit of fun with a couple of little tips in there. The best thing to remember is to dress how you want to and will be comfortable for you throughout the long, fun day.

What to take?

  Now that the outfits are sorted, next is what do you need to take? Well the good thing is, you don’t need any camping gear because you’re only there for a day. In fact, there isn’t a lot you’ll need. You won’t be able to take any drinks or food into the festival but there are plenty of places to get these inside. So the main thing you’re going to need is money. Believe me, the day is very long so you will need to keep yourself hydrated and fed to be sure to enjoy it, also there are tonnes of merch booths for your favourite bands, the festival itself and some record labels too! There are cash points on site if you don’t bring enough or don’t bring any at all but they may charge you for withdrawing and the queues will be long (believe me, I queued for 30 minutes just to get a tenner out).

The mention of merch brings us on to the next thing you’ll need and that’s a bag, unless you fancy carrying the bundles of merch you want to buy around in your hands all day trying not to lose it, then some sort of bag would be a good idea! We’d recommend avoiding proper backpacks because they can get annoying and have this year been banned from the festival for security purposes, but something like a tote bag would come in handy. Some of the merch stands may sell bags (if you’re in luck, perhaps your favourite band will have a design) but we can’t be sure on that so the best bet is to be prepared and take one yourself (besides if it’s empty, you can fold it up and stick it in your pocket or something so that it’s out of the way, its a win-win). This year, the festival is tightening it’s guidelines on bags, with anything that can be worn across the back (like backpacks, drawstring bags etc) and anything bigger than A4 being banned, so bear this in mind when you’re deciding what bag to take. The Slam Dunk website has a printed guideline of what is and isn’t acceptable.

Portable phone chargers are the best invention for festivals, while the likes of Reading & Leeds/Download etc have portable charging facilities and also stalls where you can buy/exchange portable chargers (we love Music Angel Social Power, so if you’re heading to a weekend festival, check those out online beforehand. Unlimited exchanges of a power bar as soon as they run out and you get to keep the charger afterwards? Count us in!), Slam Dunk does not have this, there may be charging points around but we can’t guarantee that (or that you’ll get access to them), if you don’t already have one, I would seriously recommend a portable charger. You can get one for about £10 cheapest and as long as you make sure to charge it up before you go (best bet is the night before) and you take your phone USB lead, you’re good to go and won’t have to worry about your phone dying when you’ve lost your friends or parents in the middle of the day and you can happily record and snap away on your phone (and grab those selfies with your favourite bands) knowing that when your phone hits that dreaded 20% mark, you’ve got your charger to hand.

So, on the check list so far we have money, a bag and a phone charger (pretty sure in this day and age, we don’t need to remind you to take your phone), you may think there is one thing that we’ve missed out here and that its a very important one; your ticket! Your ticket should always be both the first and last thing on your checklist as this is the most important. If you take everything else but forget this, then sorry it’s no entry for you!

So now we have everything we need, what can you expect when you get to Slam Dunk? You can expect a lot of people, lots of brilliant music, too many clashes to count and to make countless new friends!

Earlier I mentioned about selfies with your favourite bands and yes this is possible, several of those performing will no doubt be at their merch tents over various parts of the day, most of these will be announced during their sets and you never know, you could bump into your idol stood watching another act! There is also a signing tent popping up at the festival, so make sure to keep an eye out!

The most important thing to remember is to have fun, Slam Dunk is one of our favourite festivals in the UK and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Slam Dunk 2018 survival guide - LATEST ARTICLES

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AltCorner is the promotional platform for alternative music, documenting upcoming artists and established alternative acts. Driven by a team of passionate writers and photographers, AltCorner strive to make a difference in the music world by focusing on the rising stars of alternative music. Great artists are out there and we showcase them every day through news coverage, reviews of the latest alternative releases and interviews with both upcoming and established artists. There is also our acclaimed festival coverage and galleries of live performances to boot. We keep our fingers firmly on the pulse of the alternative music scene, whether it is covering already established alternative acts or documenting the stars of tomorrow, we are always there. The alternative movement is alive and kicking and we here at AltCorner deliver your alternative music fix daily.