Sheffield’s Tramlines Music Festival has once again been an amazing success in the city this weekend.
In fact, such are the numbers of people who attending that it is edging towards that odd phrase – some may say, at least – of being a victim of its own success. I don’t agree with that particular thought, but there is no doubt the move of the main stage from Devonshire Green, in the heart of the city centre, to Ponderosa Park, on its outskirts, has made Tramlines feel a little different to previous years.
When the move was announced it did provoke a fair amount of controversy.
Organisers argued that the festival had outgrown Devonshire Green while city centre businesses were concerned that they’d lose trade as people set up camp for the day in Ponderosa.
Over the coming days we’ll see the full reaction and reviews from the event but, anecdotally at least, it seems that the city centre has still done extremely well from Tramlines.
The festival has grown massively since the first free one in 2009. Indeed it took until the 2013 version before any entry fee was charged at all.
As events develop then of course they will change over time. Different ideas will be tried and tested. Some will stay and others will be dropped by the wayside.
This year’s Tramlines, though, does have the feel of a watershed event.
The unique city centre focus – yes there are outlying events such as ‘The Folk Forest’ in Endcliffe Park, but Devonshire Green was the heart of the weekend – has been replaced by a more traditional music festival venue at Ponderosa Park.
The park is larger, yet more isolated from other venues. It helps to attract bigger acts, but may have lost a little of its local roots.
Some people will have enjoyed this and others will look back at previous years and wish for a return.
The organisers will learn from this year and it will be interesting to see what plans they put in place for 2016.
We often complain in Sheffield that we think small. We enjoy being the world’s biggest village but then moan we’re overlooked in favour of more boastful cities – often our near neighbours.
So there should be no criticism of Tramlines for being bold enough to go for bigger to fulfil demand. The festival is a tremendous success story for Sheffield and long may that continue being the case.