BEST OF THE FEST: A GUIDE TO SHEFFIELD’S BEST FESTIVALS
From mouth-watering celebrations of local scran to the city’s biggest annual live music bash, Hannah Foster takes a look at some of the local festivals heading our way this summer!
Migration Matters Festival, 17-25 June
A vibrant arts festival celebrating the ‘richness of Sheffield’ returns this summer – with 50 pay-as-you-feel events. Migration Matters Festival takes place this month to highlight the positive impact migration and refugees have in Sheffield, as well as bringing the whole city together. Theatre, music, food and performance events featuring renowned artists are just some of the activities running in well-known venues, from The Leadmill live music venue to The Montgomery Theatre.
Festival director Sam Holland said of this year’s event: “The festival shows you who is in the city. It shows you who your neighbours are and it is a lovely, eye-opening way of getting to know the richness of Sheffield. There isn’t anything more special than seeing community cohesion in action, to be meeting people of all the different places who have called Sheffield a sanctuary.”
Held during national Refugee Week, the festival celebrates different cultures and helps marginalised people to feel represented. It has grown to attract international artists, is the biggest UK festival of its kind and some 10,000 people have attended previous instalments of Migration Matters.
Guests of the event will include Taiwanese artists Howl Yuan, British author Lemn Sissay and Nigerian musician Seun Kuti, showcasing their work as the best of their industry to festival visitors. You can find at the full programme showcasing everything from insightful talks and live podcasts to gigs, theatre and parties at the festival’s website.
Sheffield DocFest, 23-28 June
The UK’s leading documentary festival, DocFest, makes a welcome full return in 2022. A spectacular display of documentaries, presented in all manner of formats, brings to life stories from around the globe and opens up a space for attendees to debate and discuss. Expect an immersion into tales previously untold through the forms of film, television and art as 100s of films are shown throughout the week. Opening this year’s festival, Brett Morgen’s Moonage Daydream will take attendees on a stylistic journey through the life, times and sounds of one David Bowie.
This will be the first public screening of the film since its debut at the Cannes Film Festival. Furthermore, Moonage Daydream is the first film of its kind to be supported in its entirety by the David Bowie Estate, which thus allowed the filmmaker access to never before seen footage, allowing for a comprehensive investigation into the personal world of Bowie. Those in attendance will be amongst the first to experience this one of a kind immersion into the person behind the Bowie identity, through dreamy kaleidoscopic imagery of unseen performances and personal footage. Morgen himself will be attending DocFest for the unveiling of his film, having previously visited for the screening of his revered Montage of Heck documentary on legendary musician Kurt Cobain.
With the programme yet to be announced (that’ll be out on 31st May), there are plenty of surprises in store before the festival begins on the 23rd June, not to mention the always intriguing Alternate Realities exhibitions and Q+A sessions with esteemed directors and filmmakers.
Sheffield Craft Cider Festival, 25 June
Sheffield has long been known as one of the best places for beer. Now an upcoming festival hopes to get the city just as excited about its growing cider scene – teaming up with a brewery to lure in the cider curious as well as cider lovers in general.
On Saturday 25 June, the Sheffield Craft Cider Festival will take place at the Heist Brew Co taproom in Neepsend. The event, which will feature some of the best artisan cideries from across the UK, is being curated by The Cider Hole, Sheffield’s only urban microcidery and bar, home to the city’s only permanent cider brand, Exemption Ciderhouse.
“Sheffield has a great brewing history and today has many awesome breweries,” said Adam France, owner and co-founder of Heist Brew Co. “What we haven’t had previously is great cider. Now we do, courtesy of The Cider Hole, so we wanted to celebrate that and give rise to the cider revolution.”
The free-to-enter festival – which runs from noon until late – will be pay-as-you-go with cideries offering small pours, allowing attendees to experiment with a large range of different drinks. Additionally, most tables will be run by the cidermakers themselves or representatives of the brand so visitors can learn more about craft cider by meeting the people behind the products.
“At The Cider Hole, we offer over 60 craft ciders – but often times, guests haven’t heard of any of them, despite representing some of the best cidermakers in the world!” explained Mike Pomranz, the bar’s owner. “While craft breweries have become household names, equally mind-blowing craft cideries often still languish in obscurity. By working with Heist Brew Co, I’m hoping more drinkers will discover these two craft
Music in the Gardens , 1-3 July
A spectacular musical event divided into genres and performed across three days, Music in the Gardens is poised as a highlight of the Sheffield summer. Starting out as a small-scale show organised by the Sheffield Rotary Club to showcase local music and raise funds for local charities, it has transformed into a spectacle, recognised nationally as a diverse and prominent live music experience.
The first of three events taking place over the weekend, ‘Pop in the Gardens – ELO Experience’, will kick off the party with an award-winning tribute to the mighty Electric Light Orchestra. The second night, entitled ‘Jazz in the Gardens’ promises to be another immersive offering, with soulful singer songwriter Kat Eaton joining the ranks to entertain the crowd. The final evening, ‘Classics in the Garden’, is sure to be a soothing wind-down as the three-day fest draws to a close, played out with support from the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra.
Regardless of musical preference, the opportunity to sit surrounded by the beauty of the Botanical Gardens as a live band plays and the sun sets is enough to entice anyone, not to mention the chance to sample food and drink from the selection of vendors catering to the weekend guests. To sweeten the deal, attendees of Music in the Gardens will be indirectly donating to The Botanical Gardens Trust, and to date the event has raised hundreds of thousands for local, national and international charities.
Bassfest, 16-17 July
Sheffield’s biggest electro-festival is back, bringing with it two days of huge acts who are ready to start the party with drum and bass bangers, house classics, bassline mixes and beyond. Expect more ravers than ever before at this year’s Bassfest, all out to celebrate summer in style at the Don Valley Bowl.
Headlining the weekend are the incomparable Chase & Status, cemented festival legends who need no introduction. Also booked to headline is rapper Tion Wayne, bringing a different flavour and a welcome change to the typically one-genre fest – his infectious hits are seldom out of streaming charts, and no doubt the weekend’s ravers will be treated to a high energy, heavy intensity set.
The powerhouse line-up doesn’t end there – expect performances from the biggest names in the dance and electronic industry, including D&B pioneer Andy C and the electric production duo Hybrid Minds. Another standout act is on-the-rise Bad Boy Chiller Crew, the trending bassline collective who are guaranteed crowd favourites.
Tramlines, 22-24 July
Each year Sheffield eagerly awaits the return of its beloved Tramlines Festival, and each year we are spoiled with a bash even bigger than the year before. Tramlines 2022 will, of course, be no different; a stellar roster of headliners, including Sam Fender, Kasabian and Madness, five stages of immense genre-crossing musicians, comedians and performance artists, plus mouth-watering locally sourced food and drink will culminate in a celebration of everything Sheffield once more.
The weekend’s line-up is rife with talent; think singalong indie bangers from The Vaccines and non-stop dance tunes courtesy of Becky Hill, supported throughout by a host of musical legends and up-and-coming artists who are sure to keep the party going.
If the live music wasn’t enough to entice you, this year the driving forces behind Tramlines have excelled themselves by securing a line-up of masterful comedians, ready to bring the laughs to Hillsborough Park. Household names Jason Manford, Seann Walsh and Russell Kane are gearing up to perform, so if you’re a comedy lover this will be one for the books.
A new and welcome addition to this year’s festivities is the ‘Tramlines in the Community’ pledge, which is the title for a host of community-benefitting efforts by Tramlines to improve the festival’s sustainability credentials, and a further commitment to shine a spotlight on the local music scene. This is a welcome give-back to the Sheffield community which supports Tramlines Festival each year as the most hotly anticipated event of the summer.
Last year, following its postponement at the height of 2020 lockdown madness, Tramlines Festival returned as part of the Government’s Event Research Programme, where it drew a record 40,000 people per each day of the fest. It went ahead in order to examine the risk of Covid-19 transmissions at big events, and with its return came a sense of normality to the city, a glowing light at the end of a seriously long tunnel. Hopefully the only issue attendees face this year is being torn between which of the five stages to head to – but regardless of where you end up, it’s a guaranteed good time at Sheff’s biggest bash.
Together in the Square, 9-10 July
Supported by The University of Sheffield and Yellow Bus Events, Sheffield Theatres have announced the return of Together in the Square, an outdoor weekend of free events. Taking place on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th July, Tudor Square will be transformed into a festival space with events including street acts, music, poetry and theatre. This year’s Together in the Square will mark our participation in the city-wide series of cultural events celebrating the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, for which Sheffield and Rotherham will host matches in the tournament from Wednesday 6th to Sunday 31st July.
On Saturday 9 July, performances, curated by the creative teams here at Sheffield Theatres will run from 11am – 7pm and on Sunday 10 July from 11am – 4pm. Alongside the programmed artists, we offer an open call out for artists who would like to perform during the two-day event. Applications are open now, with details of how to apply to available at the link below.
John Tomlinson, Producer at Sheffield Theatres said: “We know from the success of last year’s event that people will love being Together in the Square again – and I can’t wait for the people of Sheffield to see what we’ve been working on at Sheffield Theatres, alongside the brilliant teams at The University of Sheffield and Yellow Bus Events.’
All performances at Together in the Square will be free with unallocated seating on Tudor Square.
Art in the Gardens, 3 September
Set amidst the stunning backdrop of the Botanical Gardens, this September sees the return of Art in the Gardens, a two-day event that allows guests to get up close and personal with a stunning array of artwork. The exhibition is the largest outdoor arts and crafts market in the north of England and has built up a dedicated following of culture vultures in the process.
Find yourself immersed in thousands of works of art, with an array of all styles represented, from sculpture to realism to woodwork. This event provides a truly rare opportunity to mingle with the artists themselves, in order to uncover the meaning and stories behind the works and to put a face to creations. Furthermore, the unique exhibit aims to showcase and celebrate the up-and-coming talented artists from within Sheffield via a young artists display. The lawns of the gardens will be scattered with hand-crafted sculptures and marquees filled with working artists, offering guests a truly unfiltered look into the artist’s process.
This hands-on experience also allows guests to purchase works directly from the creators on the day, and with thousands of pieces to choose from it is a certainty that there will be something suited to everyone.
Tickets start at £6, and entry is free for guests under 16 years of age.
Visit welcometosheffield.co.uk for more.
Rockin the Bowl, 9-11 September
Bringing open air rock to Sheffield’s Don Valley once again, Rockin the Bowl is back for 2022. It’s South Yorkshire’s biggest rock festival, and this time promises to be even bigger, louder better than the years before. Set to play out across three days over two huge stages and featuring a line-up of over 30 acts, it’s a must-attend for any local rockers out there.
Headlining the festival are long-time rockers The Quireboys, fresh off the re-recorded release of their monumenal ‘A Bit of What You Fancy’ album, now celebrating its 30th year. Joining them on the bill are Orange Goblin, the headbanging London rockers who had been releasing stellar records and touring effectively non-stop before Covid took over, now back in action and ready to stoke up the Sheffield party.
The weekend’s final headliner, Terrorvision, are legitimate rock royalty with a career that spans more than 30 years and a discography long enough to fill the entire weekend, ensuring the festival goes with one hell of a bang.
Tickets to the festival are on sale now, available to buy direct from rockinthebowl.co.uk.