I have to start by paying my respects to Sarah Nulty. Sarah, aged 36, was the co-founder and festival director who sadly passed away just weeks before the tenth edition of Tramlines. I never had the pleasure of meeting this incredible lady but you could definitely feel her presence, with “Be More Nulty” banners and t-shirts being seen everywhere.
Now plans have been confirmed for a permanent memorial to Sarah on Devonshire Green, the original Tramlines site back when it all first began in 2009. A commemorative plaque will be embedded into the wall facing down towards the traditional site of the main stage. She has also been awarded with a posthumous Civic Award from the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Magid Magid.
And so Sheffield’s longest-running city music festival Tramlines returned for it’s 10th anniversary between Friday 20th and Sunday 22nd July 2018. To celebrate, the festival was held at its new home at Hillsborough Park. This year there was more than just music, a comedy stage, a pop-up cinema, an Into The Trees family area and a brand new Leadmill Stage to champion local talent, all made an introduction.
The Festival organisers had pulled out all the stops with over 70 artists across four stages including headliners Stereophonics, Noel
I attended on Saturday afternoon, when I arrived I was treated to a couple songs by local band Everly Pregnant Brothers, best known for songs about best bitter, pork pies and raucous gigs, they regularly play to sell out crowds in their native South Yorkshire and are rapidly growing a cult following!
Their humour and language is as broad as their lead singer Big Shaun which is all part of their charm, as is the sing-a-long nature of their gigs. I have to be honest and say I have never seen these guys before, but they were definitley crowd pleasers and it was a huge crowd!
I also got to meet Sheffield’s 122nd Lord Mayor Majid Majid who was attending the festival wearing his “Be More Nulty” t-shirt and ceremonial chain. Magid has come under fire for the advertisement of his Ten Commandments For Tramlines published pre festival including: Don’t Be A Pr*ck; Do Epic Sh*t; Don’t Kiss A Tory (he is very Green); Be Kind; Tell Ya Ma You Love Her; plus a few more. It’s all tongue in cheek but I guess some are taking it a bit too seriously!
Back to the music and Coasts a rock band from Bristol were the next band on stage. The group consists of Chris Caines (Vocals), Liam Willford (Guitar), James Gamage (Bass), David Goulbourn (Keyboards) and Ben Street (Drums). They are most notable for achieving two UK Top 40 albums, the second of which reached the Top 20. They are also known for their singles A Rush Of Blood and Oceans.
Blossoms followed on and they are a five-piece band from Stockport, their debut album Blossoms spent two weeks at No.1 in the U.K when it was released in August 2016. In 2017 the band were nominated for Best Breakthrough Act at the BRIT Awards. Cool Like You is the second studio album and was released in April this year. They were a little bit on the soft side for my liking but it was quite cute when they started to sing their customary festival version of Last Christmas by Wham. Everyone loved it and sang along with them.
Reverend And The Makers flew the flag for Sheffield. The band is fronted by Jon McClure, nicknamed “The Reverend”. The band’s debut album The State Of Things helped them gain major success in the UK and their second album, A French Kiss In The Chaosled to the band being invited to support Oasis on their final tour, playing venues such as Wembley Stadium.
These guys really got the place rocking and bouncing! Initially the band members all came out on stage with their kids to wave to the crowd before they started their performance and “The Reverend” did-a-Lemmy by coming out smoking. But who cares – he was great. I am a Sheffield lass and I had not seen these guys before but I am a fan now and will be getting their albums.
Finally Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds headlined Saturday’s main stage. Having left Oasis after a ‘typically turbulent’ row with brother Liam, the eldest Gallagher sibling’s first official step into a solo career took off in 2010 with the High Flying Birds, featuring Gallagher, former Oasis keyboard player Mike Rowe, Lemon Trees drummer Jeremy Stacey, and percussionist Lenny Castro.
Their debut album Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds was released in 2011, followed by Chasing Yesterday in 2015 and their latest album Who Built the Moon? last year. I was only allowed to stay for their first three songs and what I heard was quite good, the crowd, by now I guess was about 40,000, obviously loved them and even an on site policeman couldn’t help himself dancing along!
By all accounts this years Tramlines has been the best one so far, the weather was amazing, the crowd was the biggest yet and all having great fun. This was my first visit to Tramlines and I loved it. The best band for me? Definitely Reverend And The Makers! Roll on next year!
Jan Blackwell was at Tramlines in Sheffield July 2018.