The alternative festival's long-delayed Parisian spin-off was originally due to launch at La Cigale & La Boule Noire in 2020
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The festival's European spin-off got off to an encouraging start – but its flagship UK event was hit by a flood of complaints
By James Hanley on 06 Jun 2023
The debut of Slam Dunk Festival in Italy surpassed expectations by drawing around 30,000 attendees across three days, according to organisers.
Slam Dunk Italy was held across two stages from 1-3 June on the beach in Rimini at Bellaria Igea Marina (Parco Pavese and Beky Bay), on the Adriatic coast.
The rock, pop-punk, emo and alternative event was a co-promotion with local booking agency Hub Music Factory.
Il Resto del Carlino reports that the first two nights, headlined by Sum-41 and Rancid, respectively, were each attended by more than 8,000 fans, with the final day – starring The Offspring and Simple Plan – a 10,000-cap sellout.
“High numbers, beyond expectations”
“High numbers, beyond expectations,” says Hub’s Alex Fabbro.
Other acts on the bill included Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls, Bowling for Soup, Billy Talent, Enter Shikari and Boston Manor. The festival also offered camping options and reports about 20,000 overnight stays over the course of the three-day event.
Slam Dunk France also debuted at Halle Tony Garnier in Lyon on 2 June, headlined by The Offspring. The inaugural French edition was promoted in partnership with French Independent promoter Opus Live along with AEG France.
“I’m so happy as an independent festival to be able to expand in Europe with help from some great local partners who share the vision of the festival,” said Slam Dunk festival director Ben Ray last year. “We hope to add more countries in the future so watch this space.”
“We recognise there were problems and that some customers did not have an experience to the standard which they expected”
The European spin-offs followed the established UK edition of Slam Dunk, which launched in 2006 and took place across two sites at Hatfield Park and Temple Newsam, Leeds in 27 and 28 May, respectively. However, the Leeds leg was hit by complaints regarding long queues and traffic problems, as well as claims of overcrowding.
Organisers have issued a lengthy apology, saying they “recognise there were problems and that some customers did not have an experience to the standard which they expected”, but deny the festival was oversold.
“We would like to apologise for the issues that occurred and reassure our customers that we are committed to improving the event,” reads the statement. “We would like to assure all customers that neither event was oversold, and customer safety is, and always will be, paramount to the festival. Like all other major events, all our event plans were reviewed by local authorities and are in line with industry standards.”
The statement says that an “unprecedented” number of cars arrived to the festival site without pre-booking car parking.
“From next year, only those who have pre-booked their car park tickets will be permitted to park on site”
“This, alongside other external factors, created a traffic flow issue which inevitably caused delays into the festival site,” it adds. “As a measure to combat the traffic flow issue we made the conscious decision to stop checking passes for parking to increase the rate of entry to the car park and to prevent further delays.
“Keeping this in mind, we have made the decision to no longer provide on the day car parking. From next year, only those who have pre-booked their car park tickets will be permitted to park on site, along with other measures we are looking to implement. We believe these will create smoother entry into the event.
“We also recognise the issues surrounding food venues and queues. We were assured that we had an adequate number of food vendors for the expected number of attendees. However, we recognise this wasn’t the case and we are committed to increasing the number of traders at future events, along with where they are located.”
The festival adds that it will be carrying out a “thorough investigation, whilst working extremely hard to rectify all problems for future events”.
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