Review: Tramlines Festival, Sheffield

THERE are several things that make Sheffield great; the hills, the rich musical heritage, the rip-up-the-rule-book Lord Mayor, the self-deprecating sense of humour, the Super Tram.

Picture courtesy of Tramlines Festival.
Picture courtesy of Tramlines Festival.

Apart from the trams – due to a strike – all of these elements came together wonderfully at Tramlines.

Now 10 years old and at Hillsborough Park for the first time, Tramlines is a three-day music festival bringing together chart-topping acts, comedy, family fun and scrumptious street food. Over the years, it has also spawned a fringe festival with numerous other mini music events happening across the city.

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Although the decision to move the festival away from the city centre and onto one site was met with some negativity, its new position worked well. The four stages were in such close proximity it was easy to jump between acts should scheduling pose a conundrum. The new location clearly didn’t put fans off either as about 30,000 tickets were sold, and the main stage’s position at the bottom of a hill meant visibility was good for even the youngest audience members.

Picture courtesy of Tramslines Festival.

Stereophonics kicked off the headlining slots on Friday night with a lengthy set full of recognisable hits. There were sing-a-longs a-plenty and even the rain couldn’t dampen first night festival spirits.

By Saturday the grass had dried and there was entertainment from Sheffield bands Reverend & the Makers and Everly Pregnant Brothers. The latter of which was like a musical comedy set, cracking Sheffield-centric jokes about ill-judged post night out snacks, Nannans and rivalries between the steel city and its neighbours. They even managed to cox Lord Mayor Magid Magid onto the stage to sing ‘No Oven, No Pie’.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds took to the main stage Saturday evening amidst rumours that Oasis might be reuniting. There was no evidence of Liam, but Gallagher did whip out a number of Oasis classics to much applause.

The final headliner was a return to Tramlines for Craig David who played back in 2010. His set followed a touching tribute to festival director Sarah Nulty who sadly passed away in June, aged 36. ‘Be more Nulty’ was the theme for the weekend to honour a woman whose life’s work was to throw giant parties.

David also acknowledged Nulty, asking the audience to sing the chorus to his latest hit ‘I Know You’ in her memory. He then proceeded to blend party classics like ‘Jump Around’ and ‘Show me Love’ with his own catalogue of hits to make for a dancefloor worthy of Nulty herself. The perfect end to a very special festival.