Gaskarth’s guide to Slam Dunk success: Stay hydrated, get weird and have sex in the loo. Got it? Good.
So Mr Gaskarth, Slam Dunk is but days away – which bands on the bill are you looking forward to seeing/hanging out with, and why?
“That’s a tough question to answer. There are so many good bands on Slam Dunk this year! When we play festivals, especially overseas, it really comes down to reuniting with friends. We spend most of our lives on the road, and the friends we make out here, like us, are doing their own thing, so it’s special when we all get to meet up at a show like this and get rowdy together. I know I’m excited to see the Four Year Strong dudes, Pierce The Veil, The Early November…there’s just so many good people on this festival!”
What are your top five tips for making the most of a festival, making sure it’s one to remember?
“Stay hydrated; it sounds lame, but no one wants to be the kid that faints at the barricade and ends up missing half the show! Make friends; One of my favorite aspects of show-going was always the sense of camaraderie between strangers. It’s a unique opportunity to surround yourself with like-minded people and create some great memories.
Get weird. Crowd surf. Head straight for the pit. Shows, especially festivals, are all about having an insane time. If you don’t head-walk at least three times you’re doing it wrong. Try to see some boobies! This may or may not apply to the girls, but I always made it a personal goal to spot at least one pair of boobs. It’s a festival, for cryin’ out loud!
This one sort of goes hand in hand with making friends, but DON’T BE A DICK! If someone falls down, pick them up. If someone gets hurt, help them out. Don’t be the asshole in the crowd starting fights and forcing bands to stop their set so that you can be dealt with. It’s the worst! Shows are all about respect. Oh, and have a beer!”
…And five things that you really, really shouldn’t do at a festival?
“Definitely don’t eat too much. Mosh-puke is the worst kind of puke. Don’t fuck with venue security. They will either kick your ass, or hand you over to the police. Instant festival buzz-kill. Don’t use porta-potties towards the end of the night. Seriously people, it’s common sense. Don’t drink too much booze. It’s one thing to have a couple drinks and enjoy yourself, but it’s a whole other thing when you’re blacked out, staggering around the festival grounds looking for your friends, your phone, your keys and your dignity.
Oh and NO SEX IN PUBLIC RESTROOMS. Gross! Ok, maybe just this once…”
What’s your favourite thing about UK festivals?
“Without a doubt, the crowds. The UK has always treated us so well, and the energy at shows across the pond, especially at festivals, is special. Next to that, and in the case of outdoor festivals, maybe the constant chance of rain. We’ve had some absolutely insane moments when, mid-way through our set, it just starts pouring down. I feel like all inhibitions go out the window and the crowd becomes a riot. So good!”
You’re headlining Slam Dunk this year, so what do you have lined up for your set? If someone’s coming to the festival and hasn’t seen you before, what can they expect?
“People can expect the same energy we always try to bring to our shows. I think we’ll be putting an emphasis on playing music from the new record, songs people haven’t heard live yet. We’ve been really stoked on the reaction to our new material, so we want to share that with the UK. Expect sweaty, filthy madness.”
What’s your personal favourite festival memory?
“We snuck into Warped Tour in 2005 when we were on our own, self-booked summer tour with a band called Hometown Anthem. We were in Florida on a day off, and basically just drove our van into Warped with all the other bands in vans. We didn’t have passes or anything, but we kinda managed to talk our way in and enjoy the day. Fall Out Boy was on main stage, and From Under The Cork Tree was blowing up. I think their set was probably the craziest set I’ve seen…ever. So nuts. Definitely inspiring.”