When Tramlines Festival returns for its eighth edition from 22 – 24 July, taking over a plethora of venues and outdoors stages across Sheffield, it will fly the flag once again as the UK’s largest inner-city music festival. But how does it attract a whopping 100,000 music-lovers every year? In short, the answer is more than just great music…
- It turns a city into a festival. Impressive, huh? Tramlines takes the reins on four outdoor stages and 15 venues across the city-centre and beyond, creating one enormously lively festival. The fringe activity is countless, though, with music pouring from all types of venues; even the butchers, bakers, and, erm, candlestick-makers put on a party. Tramlines spans alternative warehouse spaces such as Hope Works, the stunning Cathedral, independent music venues including the Leadmill and The Harley, as well the city’s parks, with the beautiful forest glade in Endcliffe Park home to the Tramlines Folk Forest Stage.
- It’s got an inner-city location with greenfield vibes. Catching international headline acts alongside breaking talent at the newly increased 17,500-capacity Main Stage on Ponderosa Park offers up guaranteed greenfield festival vibes. If it weren’t for the rising tower blocks surrounding the park, you could easily forget you were in the centre of the city.
- There’s no mud and no camping. Admittedly, the two largest stages – the Main Stage and the Devonshire Green Stage – are both on city parks so, technically, mud can get underfoot. However, Sheffield’s concrete jungle makes up the majority of the vast festival site, so there’s not an ankle-deep mud trench in sight. And if the thought alone of camping for three days leaves you aching for a shower, Tramlines is the ideal festival; stay in one of the city’s many hotels or book an Airbnb and return fresh as a daisy each day.
- There’s something to discover around every corner. Weird and wonderful street theatre fills Barkers Pool, while the Peace Gardens offers up break-dancing battles and spray-can art. There’s also a brand new hand-picked film programme at Showroom Cinema this year featuring ‘Suede: Night Thoughts’ followed by a Q&A with the band among the highlights. There are even arts and craft for the kids in (free) family friendly areas like Weston Park.
- You can party all day and all night. From 6pm on Friday 22 July until 4am on Monday 25 July, consider the party in full swing. Start with the outdoor stages and bands by day, and then move onto the clubs, warehouses and after-parties at night for a banging electronic programme. And probably book Monday off work…
- It’s one of the best value festival tickets around. A full weekend ticket costs just £42 + bf. You only have to look at the talent on offer to know that this is a reyt good deal.
Expect proper musical diversity. R&B to psych-rock, reggae to grime, techno to folk and hip-hop to afrobeat… Variety is the spice of life, after all. The 2016 lineup includes Jurassic 5, Kelis, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Marika Hackman, Mystery Jets, Dawn Penn, Crazy P Soundsystem, Moon Duo, David Rodigan, The Dandy Warhols, Public Service Broadcasting, Steve Davis (DJ), All We Are, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Mica Levi (DJ), Dizzee Rascal, Gwenno, Gaz Coombes, Little Simz, Norman Jay MBE, Goldie, Toddla T, Paranoid London Live, Randall, Big Narstie, Floorplan and Footsie on a bill of over 250 artists.
- There’s an enormous bill of breaking talent. Tramlines has a long history of showcasing breaking acts before they hit the big time. Blossoms, Toddla T, The XX, George Ezra, Charli XCX, alt-J and Nao are just a few of the artists who’ve gone on from early shows at the festival to bag chart-topping singles and sell-out shows. With over half of the lineup made up of emerging artists, it’s the perfect place to discover your new favourite act, with this year’s tips including reggae upstart Kiko Bun, highly acclaimed UK rapper Little Simz, fast rising Sheffield MC Coco, Welsh language alt-rock from Gwenno and garage-pop from Inheaven.
- It does good food. It might sound like a simple thing to achieve, but the reality is we’ve all eaten a festival burger that tastes like a flip-flop. Highlights at Tramlines include the gooey Twisted Burger Company; Proove Pizza’s wood-fired Napolitan pizzas; Jamaican jerk chicken and curried mutton from Caribbean Fusion; and this summer’s healthy treat, Fro by Jo, coconut-based frozen yoghurt with superfood toppings. To check out the full lineup for Tramlines 2016, visit www.tramlines.org.uk