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Finally, some positivity: Tramlines Festival

Greg Devine

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Man at festival covered with spray on face paint

Dubbed the best weekend of the year (certainly by me and my group of friends), Tramlines Festival 2022 was as amazing as always. It brought some much-needed happiness and positivity during a time of confusion, rising living costs, and the race for a new prime minister.


Following its stint as a test/dummy in 2021, to help determine whether festivals should go ahead in other areas, Tramlines brought an entire weekend of music, laughter and fun to the people of Sheffield last weekend. There’s something for everyone at this festival. Whether you have a family with young children or you’re looking to throw yourself around a mosh pit, Tramlines really does have it all.


Festivals aren’t cheap. They’re actually a rip off once you’ve entered the park, and you’ve no choice but to buy the expensive food and drink on offer, but in truth, I was surprised that it wasn’t more expensive. I paid £10 for a chicken wrap and a bottle of water. Stupid money, I know, but for a festival this wasn’t bad, especially when you also consider inflation and how expensive everything else seems to be lately.


In fact, the cost-of-living crisis seemed to have been forgotten by ticket holders. It didn’t disappear altogether but, for an entire weekend, people smiled, danced, and sang their hearts out to the likes of Sam Fender, Kasabian and Madness. Prices had increased from last year; I remember a bottle of wine being between £20-25, this year it was £29.50. Beer was also very expensive, at around £6. Is this silly money for food and drink? Yes, but that comes with going to a festival, in my opinion. It’s the same at any other festival, so why would it be different at Tramlines?


People were still keen to spend money, but I must admit, queues seemed somewhat shorter than in previous years. Maybe I was just lucky with the times I picked to go to the bar or grab a bite to eat, but I remember waiting significantly longer in 2021 and in previous years. It could be a coincidence, but there’s also a chance this was down to the cost-of-living issues currently blighting our country.

Greg and Stephen at Tramlines festival

Greg and Stephen of Novus at Tramlines

Greg and Stephen at Tramlines festival

On a more positive note, festival goers were treated to some fantastic acts. Sam Fender headlined Friday night, which was the first time he’d ever done this, not that you could tell. The crowd were clearly excited to see the North Shields’ sensation—he even had to briefly stop his act when the crowd began to get too rowdy, in fear of somebody getting hurt. He played songs from both his albums and even featured some of his earlier songs for the die-hard fans. His crowd work was excellent—he didn’t just play music and go home, he also engaged the crowd and told stories. One of these was about how Sheffield is oddly special to him and his band. He wrote on Twitter, ‘The band wouldn’t be what it is today without the fateful trampoline park incident last time we were in Sheffield, when Dean broke his leg. Joe stood in, and we decided to keep him forever.’


Before Sam Fender, we were treated to Manchester band James, who you may remember from the nineties. Even people who weren’t too familiar with their songs joined in for ‘Sit Down’. Saturday night saw the best act of the weekend in my opinion, Kasabian. Led by a new yet familiar front man, their former guitarist, they made light work of the Sarah Nulty main stage. Mosh pits opened up everywhere as everyone rocked out to the likes of Stevie, Club Foot and Fire.


As per usual, Sunday carried a more chilled vibe. Scouting For Girls was a highlight as they performed on t’other stage. Their crowd work was arguably the best of the weekend, as they urged you to ‘join their band’. Songs included ‘She’s so lovely’, ‘This ain’t a love song’, and ‘Heartbeat’. Local band Reverend and the Makers followed them, allowing South Yorkshire faithfuls to show why they live in the best county. The Wombats played all their hits, such as ‘Moving to New York’, ‘Greek Tragedy’ and ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’—they even had people on stage dressed as wombats, which brought comedic value to their performance, and which certainly made it memorable. Madness finished the weekend, and people young and old came together to move their feet to the band’s rock-steady beat.


The rain didn’t dampen spirits, nor did the current political and economic climate. Tramlines showed once again why festival season is so important to so many people. It’s a weekend of pure happiness, and one people simply don’t forget.

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