Tramlines Festival engulfed the Steel City for a whole weekend of music and entertainment. Sheffield’s Tramlines is truly a South Yorkshire thing. It’s a jewel on the Northern calendar for local music fans. The festival joins the growing list of everything great about Sheffield – Henderson’s Relish, Steel, Pulp, former ‘Hole In T’Road’, Arctic Monkeys, Pete Mckee, a great football club and an average one!
Venues and pubs were overflowing onto the streets, and live music echoed from just about every door you walked past all across the city. With such an eclectic line up it was impossible to not enjoy yourself.
An outdoor festival experience in an urban environment with vast variety of venues. Sometimes a rainy, muddy field just doesn’t cut it. That’s were Tramlines shines through with 18 main venues, a host of fringe stages and countless local pubs, cafes, venues and businesses getting in on the act. From hidden outdoor forest stages to pubs with a DJ set up, it wasn’t just the acts that were eclectic and diverse. Sheffield was jam-packed all weekend with people soaking up the atmosphere.
Ponderosa is the ideal main stage arena with it’s sloping, bowl like features. The bar and food vendors offer just enough variety and chose in the main arena. One of the great things about the festival is its attention to detail when it comes to local food vendors and local ales available at some of the outdoor bars. Toilets seemed plentiful, there were big queues from time to time, but one would expect that between acts on the main stage.
During The Dandy Warhols I suddenly remembered that they are so great because they make really fun music! Of course the best reception and sing-a-long from the crowd came as the Warhols played “Bohemian Like You”.
After our stay at the main stage we made our way over to the second stage, relocated this year to the o2 Academy, with a few stop offs at the fringe venues. At the o2the Everly Pregnant Brothers entertained with theirtongue-in-cheek reworkings of famous tracks that are drenched in Sheffield humour. The Everly Pregnant Brothers are probably the most northern band ever to grace a stage, the gig is split almost 50/50 between music and stand-up. The band drive home just how great this city is with their gags and local reworkings of songs. Great fun!
Saturday brought with it some glorious weather, so naturally The Folk Forest was the place to be! Returning to Endcliffe Park for its sixth year, organised by Regather in partnership with Tramlines. The Folk Forest felt worlds apart from the hustle and bustle of the city centre streets and venues. Relaxing, escapist, a laid back atmosphere, Boutique’y and the Forest area felt like a festival in itself. The food and drink on offer was superb, from local ales to top quality grub. Highlights included Teleman – amazing, high octane slice of guitar-fuelled fuzz and Field Music filling the forest area with infectious warm indie rock. Watching both these acts in the forest environment was a joyous experience.
As Saturday evening draw in we wanted to pick up the atmosphere and pace a bit, so we headed to Crystal Bar that was championing some great new / up and coming talent. Tearing up Crystal Bar was October Drift, a rising indie four-piece. A raw, energetic band mounting bars, speakers and any thing else in view. You can sense this band has got some glory coming their way very soon.
On Sunday all the walking from the previous two days, as well as the ale drank had took its toll. So we decided to take advantage of the public transport that was plentiful with Black Cabs, Uber, the trams and buses. We eventually found ourselves on a hip hop journey with Jurassic 5 on the main stage. Choreography, wearable drum machines, massive DJ props and a hip hop history lesson: what more could you want?
We decided to sample some food in between one of the most diverse pairings on the line up – Jurassic 5 and Public Service Broadcasting. With Twisted BurgerCo near the main stage we’re not one to turn down delicious and outrageous handmade, locally sourced burgers!
Back to the music… Public Service Broadcasting are a remarkable musical phenomenon, memorising with spoken-word samples. Using archive and vintage footage for music and visuals with a back drop of electronica and rock music.
As the sun went down on Tramlines Festival we made our way to The Leadmill. Seeing up and comers High Hazel, the young quartet from Sheffield. You can see the band are heavily influenced by the likes of The Smiths and The Coral.
Later at The Leadmill comes Gaz Coombes, with two solo albums under his belt since leaving Supergrass. Gaz seems to be on an upward curve at the moment. Performing a flawless stripped back set, switching between piano and acoustic guitar. Stand out moments included a touching version of The Girl Who Fell Earth and a rare Supergrass cover: Moving, before finishing with Caught By the Fuzz. Coombes has rigorously avoided becoming a one-man Supergrass tribute act. A special end to a very special festival.