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Last week, Slam Dunk announced that eight bands wouldn’t be able to make it to the fests at Leeds Temple Newsam on September 4 and Hatfield Park the following day. In an open letter online, they asked fans to hold on to their tickets, spelling out the effects that COVID has had on the business of putting on tours and fests.
Read it in full below:
Dear friends of Slam Dunk,
Last week was a turning point for the festival. With just one month now to go, international artists had to make final decisions on whether they could make the trip to the UK or not. They need to start booking flights and paying out other non-refundable expenses. Truth be told, it did at one point look like we would lose all our international artists. But then a miracle happened and the UK opened up quarantine free travel to double-vaccinated US and European citizens. Unfortunately for some, the change came too late and coupled with other restrictions, meant they can no longer come. So it is with regret that we have to inform you these artists won’t be playing SDF21:
Sum 41, Four Year Strong, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, The Vandals, With Confidence, Crown The Empire, Ice Nine Kills & Free Throw
For those that no longer wish to attend, refunds are available from your ticket provider, as they have been since the first reschedule. However we are pleading with you, the fans, to still attend SDF21 and support us and all the artists still playing. We truly depend on it. For those of you that still attend, you will receive a discount and early access to tickets for SDF22.
To those who ask ‘why not just cancel’ the simple answer is that if we do not attempt to do the festival this year, there might not be a next year. Many people don’t realise we are a small, independent company that revolves around, and relies upon, putting this festival on. Hundreds of other people, from staging, sound and light companies, food vendors, security, and the bands still ready and willing to play, are dependent on us to offer them a chance to work after 16 months of our industry being left for dead. Your support directly contributes to so many people staying in a job. The artists booked to play this year will not roll back another year, most already have their own tours and plans booked for 2022.
Many will ask, ‘why don’t you replace artists with some big-name UK artists’ believe us, we have already tried this at every available opportunity. Although you may look at a bands’ schedule and see they are free over SDF weekend, there are many reasons behind the scenes that could prevent an artist from playing.
We know that for many of you, this is not the same line-up as when you purchased your tickets. For some of you that is as far back as September 2019 – and the festival has been through 3 reschedules and various line-up changes since then. We could not be more appreciative of those of you who have stuck with us through thick and thin. That being said, we fully understand the disappointment from others after so many changes. Throughout this unprecedented and scary time in our industry, we were determined not to lose faith and deliver you all an event filled with the joy and revelry that only live music can bring. We are still determined to do that. It may not be what we had originally planned, but it will still be Slam Dunk Festival.
For SDF21 to work we need our community to come together now - and we can only do this with your support. Hold onto your tickets, keep your travel plans in place, get your COVID tests or vaccinations sorted and defy the odds by making this happen. We want to say a massive, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has stuck with us and we can't wait to see you at Leeds or Hatfield in just a few weeks.
We are so close now, we will not give up… we all need and deserve this event.
Slam Dunk takes place at Leeds Temple Newsam on September 4, and Hatfield Park on September 5.
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