Tramlines: Music free for all lights up Sheffield and puts it on map

All light on the night: Reverend & The Makers enjoy a 'musical Christmas tree' at Tramlines.
All light on the night: Reverend & The Makers enjoy a 'musical Christmas tree' at Tramlines.
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SHEFFIELD woke up this morning with a smile as wide as the Wicker Arches after throwing a three-day musical extravaganza.

If ever there was an event which proved the old adage that the best things in life are free, this was it.

Tramlines - billed as Europe’s biggest free for all festival - attracted thousands of people from the four corners of South Yorkshire and beyond.

More than 150,000 were estimated to have packed into a throbbing and vibrant city centre, bringing a huge financial boost to pubs, hotels and other businesses

The massive crowds were attracted by the wealth of talent on offer.

Some 900 artists offering a vast array of different sounds from blues and soul to hard rock and even Congolese folk musi took to stages at 70 venues all offering free entry.

And the fact that the sun, so shy so far this summer, made an appearance added to the shirt-sleeved throng.

The majority of the crowds made their way to Barker’s Pool, the Peace Gardens and the main stage in Devonshire Green where large queues built up throughout the weekend.

But thousands more packed into the more intimate venues provided by pubs around the city.

Things were already bubbling over when the weekend exploded into life on the main stage with a home coming performance by Reverend and the Makers.

Frontman Jon McClure urged the fans to bounce.

And holding their flashing wrist bands to the skies they did exactly that.

John likened Tramlines to “A musical Christmas.”

He said: “We had a great time, the place was rammed, there was an electric atmosphere, and the flashing wrist bands just looked amazing.

“It was such an honour to headline in my own city, to come back after being away for so long.

“The kids were going nuts, it was pure party from the word go.

“Tramlines is not just about what’s going on on the main stage, it’s also about the unsigned people playing in a Sheffield boozer.

“People come from London and Scotland to be here. Tramlines really puts the city on the map.”

Festival organiser Sarah Nulty said she was delighted this year’s event had attracted more people from outside Sheffield.

She said: “it was always the intention to showcase what the city has to offer.

“It’s great for people in Sheffield to know what is on offer in their own city but it has got to attract people from other places.”

Performances by blues musicians kicked off the proceedings at Sheffield pubs such as Delaney’s Bar off London Road, which teamed up with the festival for a special Blues and Ale Trail.

On Saturday things got all urban with acts Roots Manuva and Ms Dynamite performing, while elsewhere there were sets by DJ Toddla T and indie group Future of the Left.

Meanwhile down at the Peace Gardens it was a celebration of Reggae that had the entire crowd dancing.

And the Everley Pregnant Brothers - featuring artist Pete McKee and Radio Sheffield presenter and comedian Toby Foster - took a leaf out of the Beatles’ book with a rooftop performance.

The lads had the crowd in stitches as they strutted their funky stuff from the roof of the Fat Cat.

More sedate tunes were on offer in the Folk Forest, in Endcliffe Park, while the Yellow Arch recording studios in Neepsend hosted a series of performances and discussions from music writers.

Last night’s main stage headliners We Are Scientists were joined by Field Music and Beth Jeans Houghton.

Amy Longworth, 20, from Burnley: “Well it’s free for a start and how often do you get something for nothing these days. The atmosphere is well good and there’s all sorts going on.”

Jim Watson, 24, from Kirkham: “It’s just a top festival. I’m off to Leeds in a few weeks and this is a lot more relaxed. Everyone is out to have a really good time.”

Muna Abdullahi, 24 from Beighton: “I like the idea of people getting together. It’s great for Sheffield to have something like this as nothing much seems to happen here.”

Charlie McFarlane, 25, from Burngreave: “It’s a great place to catch up with people you haven’t seen for a while. I come down every year and it just gets better each time.”

READ MORE: Dazzling world first at Sheffield festival.

VIDEO: Reverend and the Makers put bounce into Sheffield festival.