Today it is a spectacular staple of Sheffield’s summer.
Tramlines sees more than 100,000 revellers pour into the city as some 600 bands play 70 venues over three exhilarating July days.
This year’s line-up, announced yesterday, will include such heavyweights as The Cribs, Katy B and The Wedding Present.
But the whole annual extravaganza came about almost by accident, The Star can reveal today.
The first festival, held in July 2009, could easily have been three far smaller separate events held by three different bodies, but for a last-minute flash of inspiration. Hallam FM radio station was planning to host an outdoor pop party, Sheffield City Council was simultaneously set to hold a community day and an alliance of bar owners were preparing a ticketed indoor indie fest at their venues.
“We sort of heard about the Hallam event and spoke to them about doing something together,” says festival director Sarah Nulty, who was back then working for The Harley venue in Glossop Road.
“Then it was decided the council’s community event should become part of it.
“Instead of three things that would attract a few people each, it seemed better to work together to do something big. The only problem was that decision was made with only a few weeks to go.
“It was suddenly a mad rush to get everything sorted on time.”
Mad rush or not, it worked.
Some 35,000 people descended on 30 venues that weekend to watch a stunning array of talent including Pixie Lott, Little Boots, Example, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, The XX and Reverend and the Makers.
“It was amazing,” says Sarah, 32, of Woodseats.
“When did we decide to do it again? Pretty much that weekend. It was just a great party.
“Sheffield had always felt a bit empty during the summer – a lot of the students didn’t stay – and I think this helped turn that round.”
Excitement is now already mounting for this year’s event with more acts to be announced over the coming months.