The Slam Tent’s return in Edinburgh to be ‘cave of rave’ say DJs who started it

After a six-year hiatus, The Slam Tent is back.

The iconic ‘cave of rave’, created by legendary DJs Slam, was a music mecca for techno fans, becoming an essential fixture at T in the Park after its introduction way back in 1997.

With a capacity of upwards of 12,000 revellers, the arena soon became one of the world’s most famous dancefloors, with tunes being played out by the very best DJs from across the globe.

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Sadly, The Slam Tent became no more when the decision was taken for T in the Park to have its final chapter.

But now, to the delight of ravers across the country, it is being resurrected next month at Edinburgh’s Hopetoun House.

Slam tent.
The tent was an iconic feature of T in the Park during its days.

Taking centre stage at the all-weekend dance music festival on April 29 – May 1, the three day event, which is being hosted in conjunction with the team behind the hugely popular Fly Open Air Festival, will once more see thousands of partygoers welcomed back into the blue big top, where they’ll dance away to the sounds of SKREAM, Jasper James, Optimo, Len Faki, and of course, Slam.

Ahead of The Slam Tent return, we caught up with the guys who created it and asked them why they think fans have been calling for its comeback for so long.

One half of the iconic Slam DJ duo, Stuart McMillan, said: “I think it was one of these things where people discovered techno for the first time at the Slam Tent.

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“They might have come to the festival for the weekend and then wandered into the Slam Tent, thought ‘what the hell is this music?’ and never left!

“I know a lot of people grew up with that and I think on that scale it was one of the biggest parties in Europe for people to come and play at on the calendar, it was really well known.”

Dave Clarke, who co-founded globally renowned record label SOMA and the likes of The Slam Tent alongside Stuart and Orde Meikle, said the arena set the standard for a festival dance tent, which is now the norm at events across the globe.

slam tent
Thousands will head to the event this Spring

He said: “It was almost one of the first festival arenas that was operated like a club, DJs mixing music, no gaps between any of the bands or DJs.

“It had that ethos that was different for festivals and its become a blueprint the world over now. It was undeniably the first.”

Of course, as the internet era started, word about The Slam Tent quickly spread beyond Balado.

Looking forward to this spring’s festival, Dave added: “We’d tell be people to be there for the start of that Slam Tent crowd invasion, the rush that became so viral.”

And for fans fearing it won’t be the same, they can be reassured as soon as they enter, they’ll be taken straight back to those halcyon summer days at T in the Park.

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Dave said: “We’ve got our house sound guy in, the people that do all the visuals are working on it, Slam doing the programming, a lot of local talent, a few international DJs.

“We’re given people something they’ve never had but we’re doing it in the authentic, the real way, exactly the same as it was.”

The April event was meant to be held last year as a ‘coming out of lockdown’ party, however had to be postponed another year because of the restrictions.

Yet the six year gap represents a chance for those who were Slam Tent regulars and younger dance fans – who just know the place as the stuff of legend – to mix on the grounds of Hopetoun House.

Dave said: “It’s been six years and it’s a great opportunity for people who have maybe heard about the Slam Tent or grown up with their uncle or big brother or god forbid their parents talking about the Slam tent and now there’s this whole generation of ravers are getting the chance to experience it.

“We expect a big contingent from both Edinburgh and Glasgow and it will be a big melting pot of music fans.”

Upon announcing the event back in February, Tom Ketley, Director of FLY added: “We’re delighted to be working with Scottish legends Slam in bringing back the Slam Tent.

“After a 6-year hiatus, the return of such a cultural institution will be an awesome way to kick off the summer festival season and we could not be more excited in welcoming a huge lineup, brimming with so many great Scottish artists alongside an array of international acts.”

Tickets are still on sale and you can find more information here.

Meanwhile, shuttle buses will be running to the Slam Tent from both Edinburgh and Glasgow.