MUSIC fans are being urged to become ‘Tramliners’ – and sign up to secure cheaper entry to Sheffield’s annual music festival.
Tramlines is to return to the city centre for the fifth time in July – but will charge entry to a number of the 60-plus venues involved for the first time.
Sarah Nulty, festival director, said: “We have been lucky to be able to keep it free in the past. The amount of financial support we have had has enabled us to do so.
“This year, sponsors Nokia pulled out, which was a huge blow. Sheffield Council funding has also gone down, which we expected.
“Generally, the amount of sponsorship out there is falling. It’s a difficult time for most businesses.”
The 31-year-old admitted organisers did consider postponing the three-day festival for a year, before deciding to bring in admission charges.
She said: “Tramlines is still a very important thing for the city.
“We’ve set it at a price which is still good value for money.”
Entry will be £6 each day, with people receiving a wristband allowing them repeated entry into all the venues charging an admission fee that day.
However, people can sign up to the festival website to receive notification when a limited number of weekend tickets go on sale, priced £15.
Miss Nulty, from Woodseats, admitted some fans will be upset by the charge.
She said: “I think there will be people who don’t accept it. Even when we were free, there were people who had something negative to say.
“But there will still be lots going on for free. The £6 is for the big music venues, the big headline acts.
“You can still go to the Folk Forest and the Blues and Ale Trail for free, as well as 50-plus bars and clubs.
“It’s almost like there will be two festivals, one for music fans and one for people who just want to come for a good day out.”
The festival line-up, including the venues involved, is set to be announced next month.
Miss Nulty said: “The Folk Forest is going to be a lot bigger, with more of a family feel.
“The fact we can now charge also means that in future we can bring higher-profile acts than we have had the budget for before.
“Tramlines just gets better and better and I find it really exciting.”
* Tramlines will run from Friday to Sunday, July 19 to 21. For details, visit Tramlines
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