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Download Vs Slam Dunk – The Battle Of Big And Small Festivals

We weigh up the pros and cons of the bigger and smaller rock festivals. Are you on Team Reading and Leeds or Team Slam Dunk?


Source: Rhian Westbury

Nowadays there are so many festivals popping up all over the place. And though this might be the case, we all still have our favourites—you’re a Download enthusiast or a Reading and Leeds fan, a Slam Dunk-goer or a Glastonbury devotee. Hell, you may even be a Coachella lover. But no matter how great the festival you choose to attend is, they all have their flaws. Slam Dunk is too small, Camden Rocks is too confusing, Reading and Leeds is too big (and muddy), Coachella is too hipster, and so on…

Personally, us Mosh lot dig them all, but we can see why some prefer one type of festival to the other. We can also see why most people question whether seeing a few of their favourite bands is really worth it because let’s face it, prepping for a festival is a lot of work.

So we decided to make a list of the pros and cons of big and small festivals to help you make an informed decision on whether or not you can really be asked to go.

steel panther

Source: Rhian Westbury

Pros of small festivals:

  1. The view – Smaller festivals like Slam Dunk and Camden Rocks mean that you can at least see the bands you came for (most of the time)! At the big festivals, you’re an ant watching a faraway screen in a sea of thousands of other, more annoying ants that are selfishly climbing on each other’s shoulders! (Do ants have shoulders?)
  2. Less people! – The lines may still be long (especially for the girls’ bathroom), but hey, at least they have indoor ones! Slam Dunk has a few indoor options if you don’t want to try your chances with a portable toilet. And Camden Rocks, well, you can just walk to another venue and try that bathroom!
  3. The experience – Smaller festivals are more intimate. You cherish being within spitting distance of your favourite bands and being able to hear their music so clearly and so loudly that you can’t hear anything but the little buzz noise in your ear for the rest of the day. You also get the pleasant experience of bumping into your favourite musicians while walking around, or more accurately, when you’re wandering around trying to remember which stage is which.
  4. The price – Once again, small festival = small ticket price. This means you have more money for booze and pizza.

Cons of smaller festivals:

  1. The line-up – If big festivals mean big bands, then small festivals mean smaller bands. Don’t get us wrong, they host some of our all time favourites, but don’t expect Slipknot or Babymetal to come down to the University of Hertfordshire.
  2. Small rooms – There aren’t as many people at the small festivals, but that doesn’t mean it’s not packed! It’s not that noticeable with an outdoor stage or a large venue, but when there are 1,000 people trying to get into the Underworld at Camden Rocks, there’s a problem. And the indoor stages at Slam Dunk get filled quicker than you can say, “oh there’s the stage”.
  3. Delays/issues – Smaller festivals, though are organized to the best of the producer’s ability, usually have some sort of technical issue or delay. The band come on stage later than expected and ruin your well-thought-out, clash-avoiding schedule that took you literally forever to make. The halls get crowded, the doors get blocked, and you get squished, listening to, but barely seeing, a band from underneath some dude’s armpit.
  4. Confusing layouts – Smaller festivals are usually in the most inconvenient and weird locations. We’ve been going to Slam Dunk for as long as we can remember and we still can’t find half the stages! If it’s not outside, we’re fucking confused. It takes us almost a whole set-list to figure out which one is which! And don’t even get us started on Camden Rocks. We have no idea where half the venues are! Never even heard of them! We’ve missed so many bands because most of the venues are practically in Narnia for all we know.

Final Verdict: Both are equally great and equally sucky at the same time. *Shrugs*

Don’t blimming ask us, we’re not judges, we’re heavy music enthusiasts.

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