The last few years have been a difficult time for almost every industry, but few have suffered more uncertainty about their future than live music festivals. Despite a brimming scene prior to the pandemic, the events of 2020 have caused countless live music enterprises to lose their funding and fall by the wayside. But throughout 2021, there had been hope for a number of the surviving businesses to try and make a go of it. With the news that restrictions were to be lifted in the summer, many of the events scheduled for the latter half of the year felt it necessary to go ahead regardless of the troubles they may face, especially as insurance companies would no longer support them should a lockdown be called back into effect. But for Slam Dunk, the risk became that little bit greater as they chose to move the dates from its usual May setting to September, pushing everything together in the hope that they would still be able to go ahead this year.
So with the August Bank Holiday set for so many events, many looked on to see how they would fair and what the repercussions would be. Thankfully, those events went off without a hitch and Slam Dunk was in the clear to get their 2021 event up and moving. Despite a number of artist cancellations in the lead up, with more than half of the original line-up forced to cancel for COVID related reasons, they were still able to piece together a stellar array of names to fill the gaps and deliver a solid event from start to finish.
We had previously commented on Slam Dunk's connection with the alternative crowd given that Reading & Leeds had lost interest in the punk and metal scene for more commercial directions, and this day only solidified their determination to make themselves the premier alternative rock festival on the UK calendar. Creating a diverse billing that focused on the new and classic names in the scene, they are once again filling that crucial gap for hardcore music fans that calls on their distinct and underground tastes.
But with the music aside, Slam Dunk is once again a leading contender for the best atmosphere at a festival. With security rarely seen making any interventions, the spirit of those in attendance was one of calm yet excitable jubilation. Knowing that most had been locked up for more than a year, we all felt this connected appreciation for where we were. These events could have been a thing of the past this time last year, but yet here we were, soaking up all the thrills and privileges these kinds of events have to offer.
Slam Dunk's concise and rapid pace for music has always been something I've enjoyed in the past, and I was glad to see that it hadn't changed in the time it was gone. No matter what time it is, you will find something to watch and enjoy. And although they went ahead minus one stage this year, it showed that they were more than willing to pack even more great music into the space they had. Festivals may have had a tough time these last few years, but when they can return as if nothing ever happened, you know that they can survive pretty much anything.