Tramlines Festival Guide
Exposed Tramlines Guide
Everything you need to know to make the most of this year’s festival
It’s nearly time – Tramlines is just two weeks away! It’s the first date on every Sheffield music lover’s calendar and with the line-up looking better than ever we’re set for a feast of music, art, dancing and (hopefully) sun. Whether you’re a Tramlines newbie or one of the diehards that have attended every year since it began, you’ll find all that you need to know in this de facto Tramlines guide.
When is Tramlines?
Just over two weeks away, Tramlines takes place between Friday 22 July and Sunday 24 July. And with music starting at midday at many fringe venues and continuing until 8am at some dance venues the festival is three solid days of music. Although the official gigs don’t begin until 7.15pm on the Main Stage on Friday, there is usually a range of Tramlines parties taking place across the city on Thursday night for those who can’t wait for the festival to kick off.
Tramlines tickets – how to buy?
You can buy tickets from the Tramlines official site, with full weekend tickets costing a total of £46.20 with booking fees which entitles you to entry at all venues. If you won’t be sticking around for the late night dance events then you might find it more cost-effective to buy the daytime ticket which costs £35.20 and is valid until 10.30pm each day.
You’ll be able to exchange your Tramlines ticket for your wristband at a number of venues throughout the day.
Who’s playing? The Tramlines line-up
Although the Tramlines line-up is about much more than just the headliners and big names, it’s inevitably the first thing that people look for. This year’s main draws include legendary rapper Dizzee Rascal (Friday) and British indie starlets Catfish and The Bottlemen (Sunday). Whilst on Saturday Kelis will be bringing her milkshake to the Ponderosa Park Main Stage. You can view the complete Tramlines line-up here.
Who else is playing?
This year is probably the broadest line-up across all venues with other standout names including 90s psyche legends The Dandy Warhols who will be kicking off the Friday night main stage. George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic will be playing on Saturday evening, while other notable names include Field Music, Gaz Coombes, Hinds and Mystery Jets.
As well as heaps of live bands, Tramlines will also play host to some of the UK’s leading DJs at the many dance venues around the city. Fresh from appearances at Glastonbury, Leon Vynehall will entertain the techno fanatics, whilst other standout DJs include Craig Charles, Tom Trago, Boddika & many more.
For those who want something with a novelty twist, former snooker legend Steve Davis will be adding Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery to his growing list of festival appearances. As a huge fan of the avant-garde he’ll be playing an eclectic mix of abstract material alongside his muso pal Kavus Torabi.
If you purchase a full Tramlines ticket, your wristband will allow you access to all of the official Tramlines venues dotted around the city. The main stage is on Ponderosa Park again this year and following a few teething problems last year festival organisers have enhanced the stage with more bars and toilets, whilst measures will be taken to reduce queuing.
Other day time venues this year include the O2 Academy, The Folk Forest in Endcliffe Park, City Hall, Sheffield Cathedral and The Leadmill.
However, the party doesn’t end once the main stage headliners finish and Tramlines continues to be a champion for the finest DJs from around the globe. Night time venues include the highly-reputed Night Kitchen and Hope Works venues. Yellow Arch, Foundry, The Harley, Plug and The Octagon will also be burning until the early hours.
Although the main attractions require tickets for access there is still plenty to do around the city without paying. Many of the bars and pubs across the city centre have their own Tramlines events which keeps some of the festival experience free.
Venues across the city that will have an all-star cast of music includes Bungalows & Bears, Frog & Parrot, Great Gatsby, University Arms and Crystal. Weston Park will feature some of the best young bands, big bands and jazz, whilst Peace Gardens will also play host to the World Music Stage.
Some of the free acts that you’ll be able to see this year include lo-fi surf pop band The Orielles (Picture House Social, Abbeydale Road) and Judas (Frog and Parrot, Division St). The full tramlines fringe venues include:
- Blues & Ale Stage – Shalesmoor
- Bungalows & Bears
- Frog & Parrot
- Head of Steam
- International Peace Gardens in association with Smoke BBQ & Sheffield City Council
- Leopold Square
- Maida Vale
- Young Music on The Moor
- Great Gatsby
- Royal Standard
- University Arms
- Tiger Works
- Weston Park
Arrive with time to spare
There are a number of things that you need to know if you’re arriving at Tramlines for the first time. One of the most important things is that if you want to be sure to catch your favourite bands you’ll have to arrive at the venues with plenty of time to spare. It’s also worth remembering that many of the venues have a limited capacity and if you want to be sure to get in you’ll have to get down early. Last year there were excessive queues at Hope Works, Night Kitchen and Foundry for their late-night acts.
Always bring your ID
Many of the late night venues require you to be over 18 for entry and you’ll need your ID to ensure you get in. Don’t forget it.
Don’t forget the sun cream
We might not have had much sun of note so far, but if it’s hot and sunny make sure you wear protection. Bad sun burn on the Saturday will be sure to spoil your experience come Sunday afternoon.
It’s not all about the music
Although Tramlines is three days of solid music across the city, there’s also other things to see. The most notable is The Showroom cinema which will be showing a range of music-related films throughout the day. You’ll also be able to catch a range of street performers across the city. If it’s your first visit to the city centre you might also want to check out the brilliant boutique shopping on Division Street in-between bands.
Tramlines Accommodation: Where to stay?
Sheffield is awash with accommodation, but with many of the main hotels either overpriced or fully booked it’s always worth checking for accommodation at University halls of residence and the many student complexes across the city. These offer no-frills accommodation in the city centre while the majority of students have gone home for the summer.
Getting around the city
For the duration of the Tramlines weekend Stagecoach are offering discounted tickets on their Supertram which offers access between Sheffield Train Station and Shalesmoor. Stops include West Street for access to many of the bars and University of Sheffield for access to the main stage. Tickets cost just £3 a day and allow you to hop on and off all day.
Hidden gems – three bands to look out for
We all know about the headliners, but if you’re a true music fan you might want to unearth a hidden gem and luckily there’s plenty out there over the course of the weekend. Here are three bands that we recommend you check out.
Ekkah – 8.00pm on Friday at The Harley
Ekkah are a Birmingham pop-duo consisting of Rebekah Pennington and Rebecca Wilson – which explains their name. Their sound finds itself somewhere in between the guilty pleasures of 80s Madonna and the indie pop melodies of Haim. If there recent set at Glastonbury is anything to go by you can expect glitter, choreographed dancing and plenty of smiles. Catch them on Friday night at The Harley.
RedFaces – 7:15pm on Saturday at The Leadmill
They might still be in their teens, but with a sound from the 60s and a number of top festival appearances under their belt they’ve shown that they’re on the verge of going places. Catch them while you can on Saturday night at The Leadmill.
Kate Jackson & The Wrong Moves – 5.15pm on Saturday at O2 Academy
You’ll remember Kate Jackson back from her days as lead singer of the much-missed Sheffield band The Long Blondes. Her new project features a range of downbeat melodic tracks, but offers real visual appeal in the lyrics and cinematic guitar sounds. If you like PJ Harvey, you’ll be a fan.