Tramlines 2022 Review
Well, wasn’t that a banger of a weekend?
The 2022 follow-up to Tramlines 2021: The Event’s Research Programme edition was an absolute belter, and while it wasn’t exactly subdued last year (if you think back to Dizzy Rascal going off in the late Sunday afternoon sun, it was positively bouncing), there was still a lingering air of apprehension after spending most of the previous couple of years in doors worrying.
It took a bit of mindset adjusting to get into the swing of things last year. Not so this year.
Rightly or wrongly, Covid worries are seemingly a thing of the past for the majority and thousands of pals dived headfirst into a weekend of dancing, singing and bouncing to hundreds of acts, including headliners Sam Fender, Kasabian and Madness.
There is still something lovely and extremely heart-warming about seeing people enjoying themselves again. At being allowed to mix freely again. The previous year’s trials have only served to make people appreciate what they were missing. Without getting too deep, there’s always been something pretty magical about plugging into the cosmos and connecting with thousands of people at the same time at a festival, and that human instinct is to be cherished even more after the period of famine we were all forced to endure.
Not even getting a bit soggy on the first and last days was enough to put people off having fun this year.
Anyway, onto the thing that brought us all together – the music. Recent tradition has dictated that the Friday evening of Tramlines is reserved largely for guitar bands and that held true with performances from Harri Larkin and Shed Seven to kick us off on the main stage, followed later by James and headliner Sam Fender.
However, one of my highlights on the Friday evening came from an unexpected and decidedly more urban source, as Bad Boy Chiller Crew kicked right off on the T’Other Stage. It should come as no surprise, as if you come to Sheffield and play anything vaguely bassline, you’re going to get a reaction. Young ‘uns earning their chops, were joined by older heads who did it all the first time around, buzzed to be getting the chance to relive a misspent youth. Oi oi!
Right across the weekend, the smaller stages punched above their weight. Working Men’s club on the Leadmill stage proved why they’re being compared to New Order with a Hacienda tinged dance set, while Yard Act closed the stage on the Sunday evening with a raucous party, due, in part, to lead singer James Smith’s admission that he’d been taking advantage of the hospitality in the Hillsborough Stadium’s dressing rooms all afternoon!
The hugely enjoyable Open Arms returned and after an impromptu appearance during Sam Fender’s Friday night headline slot, Shaun Williamson (remember Barry from Eastenders?) brought his popular ‘Barrioke’ back to the pub party tent.
For most though, the highlight away from Nulty’s Main Stage this year had to be one of Sheffield’s own. Over at the T’Other stage, Self Esteem fans spilled out of the tent’s boundaries, trying to catch a glimpse of Sheffield’s hottest property. She didn’t disappoint (apart from possibly the odd Blade, as the infamous Glastonbury Meadowhall bra made way for a fresh Wednesday shirt).
On what was a drizzly final day, a ray of sunshine came in the form of Tramlines legend Jon McClure, who took to the stage following an introduction from Sunday League side, the the Royal Oak’s assistant manager, Steve Bracknell. Reverend and the Makers hit the stage and wouldn’t you know it, they brought the sunshine with them. Then they left, and it rained again.
Those were just a few key musical highlights from a weekend rounded off in style with a typically knee hiking set from Suggs and the Madness legends. The perfect end to a very special weekend.
Let’s do it all again next year, yeah?
Tickets are available for next year’s Tramlines here.