Music is a massive part of life. It’s all around us and helps shape our lives – Because of this, we all have our favourite bands and the best way to hear them is to go to a gig. A festival is great; all your favourite bands together playing all the music you love. This year, I went to Slam Dunk North in Leeds; this is my roundup of the bands I saw and how they were.

Slam Dunk is this huge 1-day festival that hosts the same bands in 3 different locations, first in Leeds, then in Hatfield in the south and then Birmingham in the Midlands. There were 8 stages hosting different styles of music ranging from the Fireball stage hosting Ska bands of the likes of Reel Big Fish, to the Impericon Stage hosting Post-Hardcore / Metal-Core style bands like Every Time I Die. The two main stages, on the other hand, would play your more popular Pop Punk bands like Four Year Strong, Sleeping With Sirens and Good Charlotte.

My highlights for Slam Dunk this year featured State Champs, Comeback Kid, Four Year Strong and Jimmy Eat World; while I had been on the festival grounds for a few hours before I strictly went to see a band, the first band a properly watched where State Champs. Because of long queues, I wasn’t able to see the whole set but from what I saw, the set was great, upbeat and engaging. This was the first time I saw them but despite being in the stand seating area, I still felt involved in the gig.

Up next where Comeback Kid; this was by far the best gig I went to during the day. Not because of the music (the music was still fucking awesome) but because I was able to get into a Pit. The Pit is a beautiful, liberating place where nothing matters apart from you, the rhythm and your feelings. It’s a great place to just let go and go wild. Moving on to Four Year Strong, I saw them in a completely different style to what they normally play. I watched them perform on the Acoustic stage; just two guys on stage with two guitars. It was one of the most intimate experiences I have ever had due to the size of the room we were in. Once again, I didn’t see the entire set due to the fact that there was a lot of demand to be able to get into the room to see them. But they sounded great, hearing some of their most popular songs in a different style was awesome. They even hinted at the possibility of a UK Acoustic tour meaning a tour featuring lots of small intimate gigs, the best kind.

The final highlight was the headliner I decided to go to – The choice was between Good Charlotte, Reel Big Fish and Every Time I Die. Instead of any of those bands, I chose to go watch Jimmy Eat World. This was the first time I saw the band and I’m glad I did, opening with Bleed American and finishing with The Middle (Two of the band’s biggest hits) was great, but getting all of their other songs like Sweetness, I Will Steal You Back, Always Be and Big Casino was awesome. The whole feel of this gig was a little weird, while everyone was still listening and watching the show, it didn’t really feel like a normal gig, rather it felt more like a street party, it was different but still really good. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t play Get It Faster or Authority Song, but overall, as a finish to the day, it was great.

So here’s my round-up of the bands I saw during Slam Dunk 2018. While there where some bands that I didn’t get to see that I wanted too like Brutality Will Prevail, Trash Boat and The Devil Wears Prada, but there will always be other chances to see them. If you went to any of the Slam Dunk events this year, let me know who your favourite band you saw was in the comments down below.