A look back at the best bits of Sheffield in 2018

As we hurtle uncontrollably towards the dawn of a brand new year, it’s time to take a step back and reflect on the last 12 months in Sheffield. For me, it’s been a year filled with milestones and exciting, innovative steps forward; a city that’s often punched below its weight in comparison to other noisy neighbours has developed a distinct buzz and confidence that will undoubtedly continue to grow as we get stuck into 2019.

Looking back, we could’ve written thousands of words on notable events from 2018, but instead we’ve thrown together a few key highlights which we feel nicely represent some of the city’s main values: harnessing creativity, promoting inclusivity and making good on our insatiable love for a party.

Thank you, 2018. You’ve been an absolute belter. Joseph Food, Mag Editor.

Sheffield’s unique festival of music, film and digital media returned for its tenth instalment in autumn. Sensoria explored the theme of ‘Senses Working Overtime’ this year, hosting an eclectic mix of artists on top of a packed programme of thought-provoking films. The popular 3 Ring Circus was back, squeezing Richard Hawley, Chris Difford and Graham Fellows onto the same bill at three different venues. We also loved the ‘Steel, Street, Synth and Shutter’ exhibition at Trafalgar Warehouse, which celebrated Sheffield’s 80s and 90s underground pulse through the lens of the late photographer Barbara Wasiak.

Image: Helena Dolby

Arctic Monkeys’ homecoming shows
It was always going to be special when Arctic Monkeys came back to Sheffield. Those lucky enough to bag tickets for the four sold-out gigs at the FlyDSA Arena witnessed the High Green boys in fine form, delivering plenty of hits alongside TBHC’s brand of lunar lounge music. There was also a guest appearance from poet John Cooper-Clarke, who introduced the band onstage with a recital of ‘I Wanna Be Yours’. Fans flocked to the band’s pop-up photography exhibition at KIAC Art Studios throughout the week, while local clubs ran a number of well-attended pre- and post-show celebrations.

Image: Lewis Evans

Tramlines’ 10th Birthday
Tramlines Festival has increasingly become a part of Sheffield’s identity. It’s a living organism which continues to grow and pump energy through the city, spreading its tentacles far and wide to ensure that more venues, artists and parks are included. But 2018 was particularly special as Tramlines pulled out all the stops to celebrate hitting the big 1-0. In order to celebrate properly, the heart of the festival moved to Hillsborough Park to accommodate 30,000 festivalgoers and some massive acts across four stages. Once again, it was a resounding success and a testament to the grafters behind our favourite annual bash.

Giles Smith

Exposed Awards – move to 92 Burton Road
The annual Exposed Awards ceremony is always a big do, celebrating the very best of Sheffield’s local businesses and giving well-deserved pats on the back to the people behind them. This year’s sell-out event was held in a new venue at 92 Burton Road (home to Peddler Night Market), which was decked out in Great Gatsby themed décor and soon filled with plenty of swarve looking characters. The evening got off to a very civilised start with a live swing band and a delicious selection of street food, but soon descended into a raucous affair, followed by memorable afterparties at The Old Workshop and of course, The Great Gatsby.

Pride Sheffield
The LGBT+ community has been rapidly growing in Sheffield over the past few years, culminating in the opening of the city’s first ever Gay Quarter earlier this year. This paved the way for Sheffield Pride 2018 (formerly known as South Yorkshire Pride), when, on 4 July, over 6,000 revellers made their way down Ecclesall Road and into Endcliffe Park for the biggest Pride event held to date.

Cutlery Works
Considering it’s just a short stroll around the corner from the Exposed office, one of our favourite openings of the year has to be the Cutlery Works food hall. A project from the team behind the Milestone Group, two floors of top-notch independent food traders and bars opened back in November and we’ve been frequent visitors since! It was another sign of promise for an area which is quickly becoming one of the city’s main social hubs.

S1 Artspace and Site Gallery
The city’s cultural scene received a welcome boost with the introduction of two new contemporary arts venues for the city centre. The Park Hill-based S1 Artspace relocated to larger premises, taking up space in a former garage block on Park Hill and opening with Love Among the Ruins: A Romance of the Near Future – an exhibition paying homage to the iconic estate’s past through rare archived photography and film. Months later, Site Gallery’s £1.7m expansion project opened with Liquid Crystal Display, providing a fascinating look into the power of crystals.

The World Cup
Granted, football didn’t quite come home – but Southgate’s boys made a bloody good go at it, and the image of Sheff lad, the ol’ slabhead Harry Maguire, opening the scoring in a quarter-final against Sweden will long live in the memory. Throughout the tournament, boozers were packed, BBQs were lit and a preposterous amount of sickies were pulled. Events like Kickov at the Abbeydale Picture House went down a storm, and despite a few can-lobbing pillocks on Dev Green during the semis, what felt like the whole city came out to represent and showed why Sheffield will always be the home of the beautiful game.

Doc/Fest 2018
This year marked the 25th edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest, the UK’s biggest documentary festival and the third largest of its kind in the world. For their silver anniversary, Luke Moody curated a varied selection of documentaries which addressed a number of contemporary and controversial topics. A world premiere of Sean McAllister’s ‘A Northern Soul’ opened the event and set the bar for what was to follow. On top of showcasing state of the art cinematography, this year’s event also offered various alternate reality experiences and live music scores to accompany screenings. Another highlight included discussions and talks by guest speakers such as Sir Trevor McDonald, transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman to talk about mental health, gender equality and filmmaking.

Magid becomes Mayor
At just 28-years-old, Somali-born refugee Magid Magid became the city’s youngest Lord Mayor back in May this year. Magid, who was elected as Green Party councillor for Broomhill and Sharrow Vale in 2016, announced that he wanted to “bring the role into the 21st century” and during his inaugural portrait memorably posed by crouching on a City Hall balustrade in a pair of green Doc Martens. It’s been a whirlwind year for the mayor, who made worldwide headlines for his ‘Donald Trump is a Wasteman’ t-shirt in July, and he has proven particularly popular with the younger Sheffield populace, many of whom have managed to snag a selfie at some point over the last six months. Other notable moments during his tenure so far has seen Magid regularly promoting the work of mental health charities, showcasing the city’s arts scene by appointing Sheffield’s first Poet Laureate and speaking out against racism and xenophobia in British society.

Doctor Who
Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the 13th Doctor was highly anticipated around the world, but nowhere more so than in Sheffield. A fair chunk of the Series 11 premiere for the BBC’s famous sci-fi show was filmed around the city and landmarks such as Tinsley Viaduct, Park Hill and Bramall Lane all enjoyed screen time, while Peak District commuters got excited by a delayed train stuck between Hathersage and Grindleford. The Moor even rolled out the red carpet for the premiere in late-September, with plenty of stars in attendance.

Pete McKee returns
It was brilliant to see Pete McKee return with his first exhibition in two years back in July. The much-loved Sheffield artist drew on his own experiences for This Class Works, a collaborative project featuring local artists that re-evaluated what it means to be working class. Pete wanted to address the troubling demonisation of working class people in UK politics, instead elevating themes of community and humility. More than 10,000 people attended the memorable exhibition at 92 Burton Road.

TTC 20th birthday
Sheffield institution The Tuesday Club celebrated its 20th birthday in style this year. TTC has earned a reputation for bringing the best in underground electronic music to Sheffield and generations of students have danced away the midweek blues at the famous club night, enjoying memorable sets from the likes of Skream, Annie Mac and Bonobo. The event organisers brought in eclectic Manchester DJ Mr Scruff for part one of their birthday bash, along with hip-hop producer Mr Thing and resident DJ Andy H, while part two saw Chase & Status visit for a huge live set in November.

No Bounds Festival
After the success of its launch last year, No Bounds Festival returned in 2018 with a stellar line-up.
The music and arts festival put on a huge spread of cultural delicacies over the course of one chilly October weekend, including: talks, film screenings, poetry, sound installations, improvised music and abstract visual work. Highlights included a memorable set from Jensen at Hope Works, an immersive underwater sound experience at Heeley Swimming Baths and a showcase of Steel City bassline from Off Me Nut Records.

Public winning Observer’s best place in UK to drink
Less than a year after opening, classy subterranean cocktail bar Public was named as the best place to drink in the UK at the prestigious Observer Food Monthly Awards. It’s fair to say that the venue offers something different: situated below Sheffield’s Town Hall in the former 19th century gent’s toilets, it’s a cosy drinking den boasting plenty of character. The menu is similarly innovative, categorised into themes, incorporating local ingredients and using sustainability as a key influence.

Videogame Museum Opening
It was an exciting year for Sheffield gamers as the British Games Institute moved its videogame museum to the city in November. The BGI made itself at home in the Kollider building – an upcoming new hub for creative and tech industries. The agency, modelled on the highly successful British Film Institute, provides support to the small studios at the core of the UK’s growing games sector. The National Videogame Museum’s arcade machines and games consoles are already proving a hit.

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