Slam Dunk Festival 2023 Preview

Taking place across the bank holiday weekend at the end of May is independent, alternative music festival ‘Slam Dunk’. Debuting in 2006 at Leeds Millenium Square, the festival has grown year to year, with the festival site moving to Temple Newsam in 2019. This year is the sixteenth instalment of the festival which now boasts a capacity of 60,000 people across both sites in Leeds and Hatfield.

Slam Dunk Festival is guaranteed to be once again one of the biggest weekends in alternative music as British rockers Enter Shikari return to headline the Rock Scene Stage along with American Punk band The Offspring headlining the Dickies Stage. In comparison to previous years, the festival will kick off with an earlier start with gates times opening at 9am and stages opening at 11am, promising more bands than ever before.

The Dickies Stage promises a highly anticipated performance from punk rockers, The Offspring, who make their Slam Dunk Festival debut this year. The stage also sees longstanding favourites as well as rising musicians with London based ska band, Millie Manders and the Shutup set to open the stage and pop punk favourites Bowling for Soup set to return to play their classic hits, as well as rockers Less Than Jake celebrating the 25th anniversary of fan-favourite album ‘Hello Rockview’.

We Shoot Music Top Picks: Undoubtedly The Offspring must get a mention alongside pop punk legends Bowling for Soup. Less Than Jake are also a good shout although some lucky festival goers may have already had the chance to catch them at the NOFX final show.

Continuing their partnership into 2023, Amazon Music presents the Rock Scene Stage sees Enter Shikari return but this time to headline, fresh from the release of their UK/EU tour as well as their number one album ‘A Kiss for the Whole World’ alongside UK acts Wargasm, Holding Absence, Trash Boat, Vukovi and Zand returning to the festival. In addition, the stage will be hosted by BBC Radio 1 and Kerrang! Radio’s Alyx Holcombe and will see Kids In Glass Houses celebrate the 15th anniversary of “Smart Casual” with Slam Dunk being the only place to catch this reunion live! As well as having a stage, Amazon Music will also be hosting the official signing tent at this year’s festival and will be an unmissable highlight for fans wanting to meet the talent of Slam Dunk Festival 2023. Over the years, the tent has been visited by festival-performing artists such as All Time Low, Simple Plan, Beartooth, Hot Milk and KennyHoopla. This tent can be found next to the Rock Scene stage in North, however queues are likely, so it is recommended those interested get down early to secure their spot.

We Shoot Music Top Picks: Enter Shikari are riding high following their first number one album and will definitely bring the party. Also highly recommended are Vukovi, who were recently nominated a record five times in the Heavy Music Awards following breakthrough album Nula and continue their stratospheric rise.

Recently celebrating forty years of supporting alternative music, Kerrang! will host an eclectic whos-who of iconic names across two stages (Left and Right), with pop punk royalty Yellowcard set to headline left stage after reuniting last September, with fans also being able to catch the official reunion of emo band The Academy Is. Not only will Kerrang! be hosting their own-dual stage, the legendary music publication will have their own tent open to all festival-goers at both Slam Dunk Festival sites, showcasing their soon-to-be-launched clothing range to the public for the very first time with the possibility of seeing a few famous faces stopping by. Similarly, to Amazon Music’s signing tent, Kerrang!’s tent will also be located next to the Rock Scene Stage.

We Shoot Music Top Picks: With both acts coming off the back of extended breaks, it’s a perfect opportunity to catch both Yellowcard and The Academy Is. With a new album due next month, Trophy Eyes will be looking to extend their UK fanbase and Blackpool based rockers Boston Manor have the opportunity to showcase recent album Datura to a wider audience.

The Key Club stage pays homage to the beloved Leeds venue that keeps alternative music alive all year round. Split into Left Key and Right Key (like the Kerrang! Stage), the alternating stages will see The Hunna and The Maine top the bill while offering some of the most exciting and fast-rising names throughout the day, including JDXN, Sueco, Maggie Lindemann, Noahfinnce, Scene Queen, Charlotte Sands and girlfriends. This is quite simply THE place to see emerging alternative talent on a bill completed by Emarosa, Youth Fountain, Grayscale and The Tyne.

We Shoot Music Top Picks: Fresh off the release of new single Lifeline, JXDN will be making his Slam Dunk debut and fellow TikTok star Maggie Lindemann continues her meteoric rise through the ranks. Scene Queen brings the angst mixed with some bubblegum pink pop and her very own special the ‘twerkle pit’.

A brand new partnership for this year is the KnotFest Stage with South Yorkshire metallers Malevolence headlining the stage, whilst also treating fans to a DJ set from DJ Fresh at the end of the night. The stage also sees American titans We Came As Romans, Escape The Fate, Fit For A King, Dragged Under, See You Space Cowboy and French metalcore talent Landmvrks play the stage, as well as support from up and coming bands on the UK scene: Static Dress, Higher Power and Heriot. Additionally, KnotFest will be hosting exclusive 20 minute Q&A sessions with artists from the stage bill that will take place in a public-facing tent near the Knotfest stage itself and will feature artists taking a deep-dive into their latest work and career highlights.

We Shoot Music Top Picks:  Bursting onto the scene with their debut album in 2022, up and comers Heriot open the stage and are almost certainly going to be creating the first of many mosh pits that will continue throughout the day. Spanning a two decade career, Escape the Fate will have no shortage of tracks to choose from and We Came As Romans are back following a five year absence after the tragic passing of vocalist Kyle Parvone.

Along with the other tents present at the festival, Leeds-based Crash Records will be giving festival goers and superfans an unforgettable opportunity to support Slam Dunk Festival artists in their latest releases with fans being able to gain exclusive access to a meet & greet and signing at the festival. Please note, you must have a Slam Dunk Festival ticket as well as a Crash Records ticket to gain entry.

Slam Dunk Festival NORTH Crash Records tickets are available here.

Slam Dunk Festival SOUTH Crash Records tickets are available here.

Slam Dunk Festival is always set to be a packed event with usually far more choice of acts to see than time permits, causing the age old problem of who to pick because of the clashes. Check out the handy clashfinder below which will hopefully help!

Tickets for both Slam Dunk North and South are now completely sold out including travel through the official and exclusive coach travel partner Big Green Coach. Tickets for car parking and shuttle buses are available from, listed under Travel & Car Park. Gates open at 9am with the stages opening at 11am and the first sets of bands/musicians set to perform for 11:25am.

Cover Photo Credit – Apertunes


Izzy Clayton

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