Tramlines Sheffield: Crowds welcome festival back to Hillsborough Park as Sam Fender wows fans

In classic festival fashion, the downpour forecasted for Sheffield since last Sunday waited all week just in time for the gates to open at Tramlines.
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Also in classic festival fashion, this did nothing to put off the crowds, who arrived in their hundreds into Hillsborough by tram to get the party started by midday.

And, bit by bit, the city park was once again filled with bucket hats and ponchos to fend off the elements and welcome Tramlines 2022 back in full force.

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One fan, Lauren Tapton, who visited with her husband and son, said: “This is my third Tramlines and it’s a highlight of my year. Although this is the wettest so far.

Day one of the Tramlines Festival attracted the crowds. Pictures: Dean AtkinsDay one of the Tramlines Festival attracted the crowds. Pictures: Dean Atkins
Day one of the Tramlines Festival attracted the crowds. Pictures: Dean Atkins

“I'm really impressed with it so far – the stages are more spread out than usual, there’s a lot more space, and I even think there’s more food vans available.

“Once we’re in we don’t want to leave.”

Shed Seven was a hit for fans eager enough to get in early – but the name on everyone’s lips was headliner Sam Fender, who had the park packed out in time for his show at 8pm.

“I think it’s been great so far,” said fan Alison. “We used to go to uni in Sheffield and we come back for it every year. It’s got such great energy.

Day one of the Tramlines Festival at Hillsborough Park. Pictures: Dean AtkinsDay one of the Tramlines Festival at Hillsborough Park. Pictures: Dean Atkins
Day one of the Tramlines Festival at Hillsborough Park. Pictures: Dean Atkins

“Once you’re in, everything is here.

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“Me and my friends stayed in a hostel and it was dead easy to come here, compared to what you had to do to get to Reading or the like.”

As ever, there’s no shortage of Sheffield bands playing their home city this year.

One of the most hotly anticipated sights all weekend will be to see if Rebecca Lucy Taylor – aka Self Esteem – will top her Sheffield-repping performance at Glastonbury this summer.

Day one of the Tramlines Festival. Pictures: Dean AtkinsDay one of the Tramlines Festival. Pictures: Dean Atkins
Day one of the Tramlines Festival. Pictures: Dean Atkins

No one could have missed her arrival on stage in July, when she stepped out in an eye-popping corset styled after the dome of Meadowhall shopping centre.

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This was headline-making in itself, only for her to give one of the most critically-praised sets of the weekend, and cementing her trajectory to become one of Sheffield’s great breakout artists.

Whether Rebecca is planning anything as astounding for her show on Saturday (July 23) for her home city remains to be seen when she makes some noise at 6.45pm on Saturday.

Other Sheffield artists include Coco – one of the Steel City’s biggest names in the grime scene – and indie crowd pleasers Little Man Tate, both playing on Saturday.

Never a stranger to Tramlines, Sheffield artists Reverend and the Makers will give crowds a send off on Sunday, and are performing ahead of headliners Madness.

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But for Friday, crowds shook off the last of their working week and began to pour in from 5pm onwards to catch headliners like James and Bad Boy Chiller Crew.

If the park isn’t churned up into Glasto-festival mud scene by Saturday then crowds might get away with it.

One fan, Brogan, said: “We’ve just come from pre-drinks at a friends and we’re able to just nip in on the tram, it’s great.

“I can’t wait for Sam Fender, it's going to be a great night.”