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Hardbeat’s Guide To Slam Dunk 2021

Before we even get started on this, despite being just  days away from the first Slam Dunk Festival for almost two and a half years, Covid does mean that all information on bands playing, set times and our opinions of which bands are ‘must-see’ is subject to change. You knew that though…we’ve been living this for what feels like a lifetime.

So, on to the serious stuff. Hardbeat will be present at Slam Dunk 2021 with a photographer on-site at Leeds on the Saturday and then we’ll be taking in the sights and sounds of Hatfield on Sunday for a very special live review. To give you a bit of a taster we’ve pulled together our unmissable bands from the weekend and where (we hope) you’ll be able to see them.








[Spunge] – The Key Club Stage 

On a weekend that is packed with fun, [Spunge] will always stand out. Their energetic ska is interlaced with humorous and self-deprecating lyrics, they’re truly at their best in front of an adoring crowd and that’s something they always get at Slam Dunk. Zebrahead may be the true ‘house band’ for Slam Dunk, but [Spunge] are a staple that never disappoint.

Get Spinning: Kicking Pigeons, Ego, Skanking Song



Vukovi – The Key Club Stage

One of the major highlights of the Download Festival Pilot earlier in the Summer, Vukovi’s sound has evolved over the years but what certainly hasn’t changed is the sheer energy that pours out of each and every track. On stage, Janine Shilstone is starting to really shine at the front of the band with stunning vocals to back up the bands loud aesthetic.

Get Spinning: La Di Da, Aura, Kill It



Holding Absence – The Key Club Stage

Issue 2 cover stars Holding Absence need very little extra input here, their stunning, career-defining album The Greatest Mistake Of My Life is going to top many an album of the year list in a year overflowing with quality releases. The intro to this set is guaranteed to give you goosebumps.

Get Spinning: Afterlife, Celebration Song, Monochrome




Malevolence – Jagermeister Tent

No Slam Dunk is complete without bands just that bit harder than the company they keep. Brutality Will Prevail, Bury Tomorrow and While She Sleeps will all try and take the crown of that best heavy band of the weekend but Malevolence are a beast of a different kind. Spectacularly beautiful at the Download Pilot, get yourself in the pit for these – you deserve it.

Get Spinning: Trial By Fire, Keep Your Distance, Serpents Chokehold




Alkaline Trio – Punk In Drublic Stage

Having just reeled off British bands so far it would be unforgivable to miss out some of the absolute legends that are playing. Anti-Flag, NOFX and Zebrahead (they had to get another mention!) surround Alkaline Trio, a band so good they even improved Blink 182. Little else needs to be said, just make sure you don’t miss the 50 minutes of joy these provide.

Get Spinning: Basically anything from their nine albums. Start with Mercy Me though:


Special Mentions: 

Creeper – A band that just keep getting better and better. A true force to be reckoned with live.


Skindred – Surely everyone in the country knows who Skindred are by now? The Welsh band, driven by the ridiculously talented Benji Webbe, will have the crowd eating out of their hands, as they always do.


Whatever happens over the weekend, and whoever you see, the real winner here is the continued return of live music. Keep up to date with the happenings over the weekend through our socials and keep an eye out for reviews and galleries.

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