Gig Addict speaks to Tramlines Festival Director, Sarah Nulty

A jewel on the Northern calendar for music fans and returning to Sheffield with a new-look festival site. The ninth edition of Tramlines will be an outdoor event, spanning three of Sheffield’s best park spaces and allowing the festival to bring its biggest lineup to date.

The 2017 event takes place across 3 outdoor stages – Ponderosa, Devonshire Green, and the Folk Forest in Endcliffe Park. Headlining the main stage at Ponderosa this year are The Libertines (Fri), Primal Scream (Sat), Metronomy (Sun).  Topping the second stage at Devonshire Green is Kano (Fri), We Are Scientists (Sat) and The Coral (Sun).

We got the opportunity to fire some questions off to Sarah Nulty, Tramlines Festival Director. She talks about The Libertines, festival changes, the venues, championing new music, and more.

The Libertines are massive coup for the festival, how did that booking come about?

With us operating over fewer venues this year we had a bit more flexibility in the budget. We’d been told they might be available, and we were very keen to really make our mark this year. It’s by far the biggest booking we’ve had and they work perfectly with our audience.

Having quite a diverse musical line-up has become quite a hot topic, is it something you consciously consider when creating the Tramlines line-ups?

We always want to make sure that we are diverse and to make sure we have enough emerging talent alongside the big names. Peoples’ music tastes are so diverse and so it’s important to cater to that. It’s important to us to represent the city we were formed in as well, whether that’s working with local promoters to curate lineups or showcasing local acts.

Other than the after parties will any venues be involved with the live music for this year’s festival? Why the change from the mixture of venues and outdoors to “exclusively outdoors”?

It’s become increasingly difficult to programme so many venues and to make it work for both the venues and the festival. Although it’s amazing to see an act in some of the small venues, we were finding we had a lot of disappointed people as they couldn’t get in. Some venues had queues and other venues were empty. By moving to the bigger spaces, people get more chance to see who they want plus we have more budget to book bigger acts.  It also feels like a more traditional festival set up.

Over the years I’ve loved diving into the venues that are part of Tramlines to discover some new, up and coming talent. Will you be continuing your support of new, fresh talent on the festival bill? How will you be doing that with the 3 outdoor stages?

Tramlines is more than just the 3 stages, it’s one big city party.  All the venues in the city will still programme which means people can get the best of both worlds. We will continue to programme local acts on the outdoor stages, and have also introduced an emerging talent stage in conjunction with PRS, which will be on Devonshire Green showcasing a wide range of emerging musicians such as Champion, Mista Silva, Flamingods and Jerry Williams.

With Devonshire Green back this year as the second stage. Why wasn’t the green used last year and why the return to it?

We were working with so many venues last year, and tickets hadn’t been as strong as we’d liked so we didn’t think we needed it. Now we are operating outside it makes sense to bring it back. Our post event survey said people missed the stage, so it seemed like a good time to bring it back.

We’ve seen some pretty horrible weather for some festivals last summer, is there a bad weather contingency in place seen as Tramlines is now mostly outdoors?

We work on sites that have pretty good drainage. Hopefully we wouldn’t have to take it back indoors, but it could be an option for us. I think most people are used to a bit of rain though at festivals, and we’re not in the middle of the countryside so there is plenty of opportunity to take shelter.

The Metropolitan festival scene has become quite crowded, how do you think Tramlines compares?

The fact that the whole city joins in gives Tramlines a really different feel. There’s so much going on across the city centre that it feels more like a carnival.

Would Tramlines ever evolve into a fully-fledged camping weekend festival or do you want to keep the metropolitan element? What are your plans for future expansion?

Accommodation is a real issue for us as the hotels are quite pricey. Camping isn’t something we’ve thought about seriously but we also wouldn’t completely rule it out. There’s new budget accommodation coming to Sheffield in 2018 and we’d be keen to partner with them rather than take on the infrastructure of a camping set up.

We turn 10 next year so we would like to do something a bit special for that, which we are in discussion about at the minute.

What’s been your musical highlight of the last 8 years?

Public Enemy on Devonshire Green. It just felt like a perfect moment, the sun was shining and both the crowd and the band were brilliant.

What are you looking forward to at this year’s event?

I’m particularly looking forward to Omar Souleyman at The Folk Forest and Metronomy on the Main Stage.

Thanks for your time!

Tramlines returns from Friday 21 – Sunday 23 July 2017.
Now in its ninth year, Tramlines is the Sheffield’s longest running inner-city music festival. In 2016, it attracted over 100,000 people as the festival took over the entire city centre across four outdoor stages and 15 venues.

Tickets: Weekend wristband – £46.20

If you’re keen to see new, up and coming acts, with a few established artists thrown in for good measure at venues as diverse as the artists then you can't go wrong with Tramlines.
Where To Buy Tickets
Tramlines Festival 2017 Lineup (so far…) Just Added
All Saints / The Libertines / Toots and the Maytals / Primal Scream/ Kano
The Coral / Metronomy / The Pharcyde / Twin Atlantic / We Are Scientists
Akala / Alvarez Kings / The Big Moon / Blaenavon / Bossy Love / Cabbage / Cate Le Bon  / Cattle & Cane / Champion / Don Letts / Estrons / Fizzy Blood / Flamingods / Goat Girl / Hot 8 Brass Band / Jalen N’Gonda / Jamie Isaac / Jerry Williams / John Joseph Brill / Liberty Ship / Loyle Carner / Lucy Spraggan / Mike Hughes / Mista Silva  / M.O / Neil McSweeney / Nadia Rose / Omar Souleyman /The Reflex / Sheffield’s Sgt Pepper Project / Spring King / The SSS / The Age of LUNA / The Magic Gang  / The Wharves  / Yorkston Thorne Khan
Buffalo Skinners / Goat Head / James Tait / Little Robots / LOGS / Luxury Death / Matic Mouth / Paul Littlewood
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