'Brilliant' start to Tramlines weekend despite tram strike
Tramlines has got off to a 'brilliant' start, say organisers, despite concerns ahead of the festival about the impact of the tram strike.
The Stereophonics got the party under way in style last night, headlining the main stage at the new Hillsborough venue, and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds are top of the bill this evening.
Fears had been raised about the impact of a three-day tram strike which began yesterday, amid an ongoing pay dispute, especially with the festival based outside the city centre this year.
But Tramlines' publicity manager Alex Deadman said the impact had been nowhere near as bad as some people were predicting.
"It's meaning some people are having to walk, or choosing to do so, but last night everyone was really focused on getting people out at the end of the night and helping them get where they needed to go, and it went really well," he said.
"The shuttle buses we arranged weren't even at capacity."
This year the festival is being held at Hillsborough Park for the first time, with a maximum capacity of 40,000.
Mr Deadman said tickets had been selling very well and while there were still some available at the gates, priced Â£50 for today and Â£45 for tomorrow, a peak audience of around 30,000 is expected - which he said was 'significantly' more than attended last year's event.
There is a residents' hotline which people can use to raise any issues but Mr Deadman said that so far the reaction had been very positive.
"We've had a brilliant start to the weekend. The Stereophonics, who are one of the biggest if not the biggest acts we've had, were amazing and the reaction to the new site's been really positive.
"We've had so many tweets saying how amazing it looks. We've even had residents calling in to say how fantastic it is and what a great atmosphere there is."
Rumours of an Oasis reunion have been circulating since Liam Gallagher raised the possibility in a tweet this week, prompting some speculation the Gallagher brothers might even set aside their differences and take to the stage at Tramlines together tonight.
Mr Deadman said: "There are some rumours flying around and it would absolutely make my day if Oasis reunited on stage tonight at Tramlines but I'm not expecting it to happen.
"Nobody has given any indication that's going to happen, as far as I'm aware, but Sheffield's not a million miles away from Manchester and a lot of Liam's crew will be over so we will see."
Liam is scheduled to play at Benicàssim in Spain tomorrow, making the prospect of a reconciliation at Tramlines tonight seem less than likely.