Sheffield Showcase #3 – Tramlines Festival

Every month, Mixtape Couture will be showcasing and shining a light on the talent that can be found in Sheffield. From bands to fashion brands, shops to retaurants, events to exhibitions, if it’s in Sheffield and it’s worth you knowing about then I will be letting you know. Whether you are a Sheffield resident yourself or are planning a visit one day [which I highly recommend] then hopefully this feature will help you to know where to visit, what to do and what’s going on in the Steel City.

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Tramlines Festival is one of the many great jewels in Sheffield’s crown. Ever since it started, it has been successful growing year on year to become one of the biggest inner city festivals in the UK. Every year for one weekend in July, Sheffield city centre and its many venues from clubs to pubs are taken over by the festival showcasing the best in the music scene of past and present.

From big name acts that you’ll find on the mainstage at Devonshire Green to old school favourites likely to be found at The Leadmill, Corporation or O2 Academy and then their is the brand new emerging artists which could be anywhere in the city from Bungalows and Bears on Division Street to The Harley on Glossop Road or Sheffield’s Cathedral. There is always plenty of offer and lots going on and it’s not all about the bands with DJ sets, food events and pop up stalls all around for the 3 days. It really is a full on festival experience in the luxury of a city centre and not having to camp.

source – Gary Wolstenholme for

The first ever Tramlines festival took place back in 2009 and back then the festival was free and a lot smaller in size than it is now. Though it was an instant hit with not just Sheffield residents but people from all over the country were travelling to Sheffield to have a taste of the free musical line up on offer over the course of the weekend in July. The first festival attracted 35,000 people and the second doubled that figure and by the third festival in 2011 175,000 people came to the Steel city over the course of the three days. Also, in 2011 the festival won ‘Best Metropolitan Festival’ at the UK Festival Awards and as one of the first city centre festivals to have emerged, it was fitting that it won that award.

For the first four years, things were free and brilliant but last year for the first time the festival had to charge for tickets with council budgets squeezed and therefore funds cut. The price was £6 per day with some elements still remaining free but it was still a very busy year for the festival with the line up improving adding bigger and a lot more acts to the roster to make up for the price.

This year unfortunately prices have doubled to £12 per day or £28 for a full weekend ticket, it may be a big jump but in comparison with other festivals in this country and others it is very cheap for all the bands and acts on offer over the course of the weekend. This year’s line up sees the likes of Katy B, Public Enemy, Sister Sledge and The Cribs headlining the main stage over the weekend while the likes of Annie Mac, Deap Vally, Funeral For A Friend, Blessa, Catfish and the Bottlemen, East India Youth, Lone, MO, Simian Mobile Disco, Slow Club, The Wedding Present and many many more will be gracing stages all across the city from Leadmill to the Peace Gardens, The Harley and Bungalows and Bears.

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For me, it’s a good line up and worth the money. I’m not necessarily bothered about the main stage headliners but a lot of the smaller acts are bands I really want to see and there are plenty of names I want to check out. With the atmosphere of the festival being so relaxed and having the option to check out a band in a small sweaty venue or out in the open on Devonshire Green, it’s the best of both worlds. This year I definitely intend to check out more of the festival than I have before because having all this music on my doorstep for one weekend a year makes me extremely lucky to live in a city like Sheffield that prides itself so much on it’s musical and creative history.

The future of the festival [as with any other festival] is obviously uncertain, I’m sure it will return year on year especially with it still attracting plenty of visitors despite the recent ticket prices. The only issues would be whether prices will have to continue to rise year on year and by how much and also the sorts of acts we attract to the city. When it comes to drawing the smaller names in for Tramlines we are brilliant but big names not so much and it would be brilliant to see a big name pop star or band coming up to Sheffield to play the main stage one year.

Regardless of the pricing or the line up I will continue to support and go to Tramlines every year as it really is one of my favourite weekends of the year in Sheffield. I’m immensely proud of my city and the talent and businesses we have here during that weekend in particular the best in everyone seems to come out. It’s a wonderful weekend and opportunity to check out new bands and discover more of Sheffield.

Check out the trailer for this year’s Tramlines Festival below:

To find out more about Tramlines Festival and this year’s bill visit their website, their Facebook page or you can follow them on Twitter – @tramlines for all the latest info.

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