Music festival Slam Dunk is set to make its first 2024 line-up announcement.

The pop-punk, ska punk, metal, emo and alternative rock festival took place in Hatfield Park for the fifth time in May, with St Albans band Enter Shikari among the 2023 headliners.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Enter Shikari on stage at Slam Dunk Festival South 2023 in Hatfield Park.Enter Shikari on stage at Slam Dunk Festival South 2023 in Hatfield Park. (Image: @eddymaynard)

Slam Dunk organisers have now confirmed on social media that the first 2024 festival announcement will be made at 5pm on Wednesday, October 25, with tickets on sale two days later at 10am on Friday, October 27.

Slam Dunk Festival South has been held in the grounds of stately home Hatfield House since 2018, having previously been staged at the University of Hertfordshire's College Lane Campus from 2010 to 2017.

The late May Bank Holiday event's North leg currently takes place in Temple Newsam Park in Leeds, having previously been held in various venues in Leeds city centre.

Since moving across town from the University of Herts to Hatfield Park, festival-goers have seen headline performances from Good Charlotte, All Time Low, Don Broco and Sum 41.

You Me At Six have also played a huge outdoor show in Hatfield Park using the Slam Dunk festival site.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: The Offspring at Slam Dunk Festival 2023 in Hatfield Park.The Offspring at Slam Dunk Festival 2023 in Hatfield Park. (Image: Josh Kim / IG: @joshuaonenineproductions)



Welwyn Hatfield Times: Slam Dunk Festival 2024 poster following first line-up announcement.Slam Dunk Festival 2024 poster following first line-up announcement. (Image: Slam Dunk Festival)

This year's festival – with The Offspring and Enter Shikari as main stage headliners – was sold out, and there were major issues for motorists on the A414 getting onto the Hatfield festival site.

Slam Dunk officials have fully investigated "why things went wrong" and will be introducing "solutions and improvements" for next year.

In a long statement posted on Slam Dunk's website, the festival said: "Please let us be clear that we are not trying to pass the blame of anything to other people, we are simply telling the truth about what caused those issues, so you can be assured we have identified the problem and therefore are able to fix it.

"We would like to stress that we take full accountability of everything that happened on the day, and we are so sorry that some people didn’t have the experience that they should have. We hope you give us the chance to change that.

"Please believe us when we say we were all deeply personally effected by what happened. After working so hard on this event for over a year in advance, to see how unhappy some people were was distressing for us.

"Slam Dunk is a small independent company and the end result you see is produced by so many different companies we bring in to help us run it, but we accept the buck stops here.

"Those of you that have been coming for many years know that we have had issues before, and when they have happened, we have a good record of improving them for the next year. We rely on your continued feedback in order for us to improve the event year on year and we would like to thank you for your ongoing support.

"We are confident that with these new measures, we will be able to resolve all issues and hopefully assure all our attendees that we can deliver a much better Slam Dunk Festival experience in 2024."

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Slam Dunk Festival 2023.Slam Dunk Festival 2023. (Image: @stateofloveandtrustalex)


2023 festival 'not oversold'

Slam Dunk organisers have refuted claims the festival had sold too many tickets for Hatfield and Leeds this year.

"We can confirm we did not oversell Slam Dunk Festival 2023. The two festival sites have always been designed to hold 30,000 people each, we had just never reached that number of attendees before," said Slam Dunk's report.

"We work closely with Hatfield Park, Temple Newsam Park, Hertfordshire Council and Leeds City Council to ensure that all health and safety measures are met and that we can deliver a safe event for everyone.

"All our event management plans are submitted to a local authority group, containing members of licensing, various council departments and the emergency services before we proceed with the event. 

"If we had sold over our licensed capacity, we would risk our license for future years, which is something we would never want to do under any circumstances.

"We will however guarantee to make changes to the sites to improve the flow of people and make the sites bigger if you all choose to come again."


Food and drink

Among the festival improvements planned for 2024 are more food vendors and a greater number of toilets and water points.

Team Slam Dunk said: "There were 3 public water points at both sites. These each had multiple taps which should have been enough for the number of people in attendance. We realise that the queuing time at some points in the day was too long, so agree with your feedback that more are needed.

"Post event we also discovered that one of the water points in Hatfield was labelled incorrectly on the public map, which led to accusations that one was missing."

The statement continued: "Next year we will have at least 25% extra toilets above the industry guidance based on the number of attendees.  We are also exploring better ways of distributing them across the sites. 

"There will be additional taps at all water points.  We will also improve communication on the day to direct customers to toilet blocks and water points that are less busy, and of course ensure the map is correct."


Car park issues - South

​Responding to complaints about the car park nightmare in Hatfield, organisers revealed: "There were many contributing factors that meant that the car park operation at Slam Dunk Festival South experienced issues that we have not come across before. 

"We normally see around 10% of the cars on the day arrive without an advance ticket. This year that number shot up to closer to 50% of the already higher number of cars due to the increased attendance.

"It is not fully clear why so many more people chose to drive but we did discover the following.  We saw a big drop in the car-to-passenger ratio; historically we normally have an average of three passengers per car, however this year we saw many people arriving in pairs or by themselves. 

"Although there were no train strikes on the weekend of Slam Dunk, as there had been earlier in the month, confidence in the trains was very low, and people chose not to trust them.

"There also seemed to be a lack of hotels in the area, at least one was temporarily closed and many more were full from really early on, which we believe pushed people into making the decision to drive. 

"We believed that it was very clear where to buy parking tickets in advance, but it seems many people couldn’t find them online so we will make it clearer. Also, as we go into further below, we accept that all our information around car parking needs to be vastly improved.

"Once it was clear on the day that we had so many more cars arriving than expected we made the decision to stop checking tickets upon entering the car park to speed up the process of getting everyone in. The route into the car park is such that it is almost impossible to turn people away, so it was safer and quicker just to let people in.

"Please understand that this decision was not made lightly. We know people are unhappy about purchasing a car parking ticket for it not to be checked, but the important thing was we got them parked and they received the service that they paid for. We are extremely sorry that it took much longer than it should have."

Organisers also say results from the post-event survey showed that people Googled or entered an assumed address in their sat nav, rather than following the information sent in a separate email in advance of the festival, which resulted in people arriving at different and incorrect entrances.

This also meant that some pick-up / drop-off customers were going to the incorrect entrance and entering the car parks.

Team Slam Dunk added: "Our whole traffic management plan works on a one-way basis which is then reversed when exiting the site, this caused complications and delays as taxis and other vehicles were trying to leave via the same road that everyone was trying to enter the site through.

"This was why the flow into the car parks was nearly at a standstill at some points as these vehicles pushed their way out against the one-way system."


Changes for next year on both sites

In response to 2023's issues at both Hatfield and Leeds, Slam Dunk will be implementing a strict limit on the amount of car parking tickets being sold.

Organisers said: "These will ONLY be available to purchase prior to the event.  The car parking passes will be physical and sent to you via post as they will need to be clearly displayed in your windshield meaning we can check tickets without stopping vehicles. They will have detailed instructions printed on them for you to follow the correct route to access the car parks.

"We have been working closely with the venues to offer another entrance to the site so we can split all car park traffic in two and have both smoother arrival and exit process. 

"In addition to this, we are going to add a colour code system to our arrival gates and routes to make them easier to follow.

"There will be very clear routes for pick up and drop off, and stricter procedures put in place if anyone enters through the wrong gate."

With the first line-up announcement due later this month, organisers are also proposing "a limited time discount" for everyone that attended the festival this year and effected by the issues.