Say the word ‘festival’ and you might think of vast green fields with a clump of stages, crumpled cans of apple cider and a pulsating, never-ending soundtrack for a weekend of fun. Well one of a new wave of festivals, city festivals to be precise, is upcoming, from July 24th-26th Tramlines Festival in Sheffield, UK. But what’s so special about Tramlines; what does it offer that others of its kind don’t?
Eclectic Music Taste
Public Enemy and Sister Sledge were the big draws for the festival last year, and this year is no exception for alternative heavyweights. Okay, so Basement Jaxx and the Charlatans are rocking up at quite a few UK festivals this year, which nulls their impact, but Wu-Tang Clan continue the off-the-cuff, unexpected announcements. Rising stars Slaves, Kate Tempest and Ghostpoet provide a youthful kick of energy and panache, while bringing the soul to the party will be Martha Reeves and the Sugarhill Gang.
Legendary band Buzzcocks and Billy Bragg will supply memories of days gone by for certain members of the festival crowd, with their punk influences clear to see. You can bet And So I Watch You From Afar will bring the roof down at City Hall, while Mike Skinner and Giles Peterson bring their excellent music tastes to the front with their repsective late-night DJ slots. Aquilo is another dance act garnering attention at the moment, and Sheffield favourites Rolo Tomassi will again be at the festival. And honestly, that’s just for starters, the beauty of Tramlines is stumbling into a venue, maybe just to escape the sun, go to the toilet or to have a drink, and finding a band or an act that you truly fall in love with.
It’s often said that the warm heart of the UK is up north, and of course the perennial debate between northerners and southerners will continue to rage on. But, one look at last year’s Tour de France Grand Depart shows you just how beautiful the region is, and Sheffield is no exception. The city has industrial roots at its centre, but is a picturesque city in its own right, with the weekend a perfect reminder of all Sheffield has to offer. For this reason, the area becomes a gigantic party for the three days, welcoming in visitors from all around and with some exceptional eateries and bars on offer around all venues, you can be sure to find something to suit your taste. Watch out for the street performers inbetween venues, too, a highlight was a crew of trolley wielding ‘grannies’ (well men dressed as grandmas), a surreal, yet notable little quirk bound to put a smile on even the most grumpy of festivalgoers.
Variety of Stages
There are EIGHTEEN (yes 18) different stages at Tramlines dedicated to providing musical delights for three straight days. Venues like City Hall aim to provide a basement area for rockers to get their own head-banging fix, while former Main Stage site, Devonshire Green is in a lush, inner-city park, that should provide a nice space for those wanting to chill out in the Yorkshire sun (fingers crossed on that last part!), as well as catch a slice of music. However, the new Main Stage, at Ponderosa Park is an impressive new venue, at a space much bigger than Devonshire Green, so the queuing that arose for headliner Public Enemy’s set last year should be a thing of the past.
There’s more traditional venues like the Leadmill, the Harley and O2 Academy for indie-rock fans, while clubs Fusion, Code and DQ offer a variety of DJ’s for those staying up into the night. Sheffield Cathedral and freebie the Folk Forest will provide a more relaxing time for families. Throw in the double figure numbers of fringe venues too, putting on mostly free shows that non-ticket holders can also attend, and the sheer amount of talent on show just got a little bit higher.
With weekend tickets to Tramlines toting up to £30, that’s outrageous value for money, and yet another reason for it to be right at the top of your ‘to-do’ lists this summer. With Glastonbury the benchmark for all, but coming in at an excess of £200 nowadays, these cheaper, smaller options are becoming viable options for many. Bands like Slaves and artists like Kate Tempest are on offer and will be considerably bigger names the next time they appear at a festival, so to be able to catch them ahead of their inevitable rise, for a tenner a day is exceptional value for money. Weekend tickets for this year’s edition are now sold out, but Saturday tickets can still be purchased for £23 (plus booking fee).
As mentioned above weekend tickets maybe sold out, but head over to http://www.tramlines.org.uk/ for Saturday tickets!