Tramlines: Music festival to stay in Hillsborough because it makes the most money

The council has compared the financial benefits with other potential venues
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Tramlines is to stay in Hillsborough Park because it makes the most money, Sheffield City Council has admitted.

The music festival boosted the city’s economy by £3.8m this year - at a time of ‘unprecedented’ public spending cuts.

The huge Tramlines crowd enjoys the music of the 2023 Tramlines festival in Hillsborough Park, as the rain comes down. PIcture: Dean Atkins, National WorldThe huge Tramlines crowd enjoys the music of the 2023 Tramlines festival in Hillsborough Park, as the rain comes down. PIcture: Dean Atkins, National World
The huge Tramlines crowd enjoys the music of the 2023 Tramlines festival in Hillsborough Park, as the rain comes down. PIcture: Dean Atkins, National World
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Fees from organisers - £33,500 in 2021 - help the authority run more than 800 parks and green spaces, officials say. And 40,000 fans spend money on hotels, food, drink and transport, boosting local suppliers and creating jobs.

But only Hillsborough Park can accommodate those numbers, the council says. It published analysis of alternative venues after this year’s event was hit by seven inches of rain – more than double the average - causing a mud bath that will take months to repair and cost £27,652.

It sparked debate about whether it should move to Attercliffe.

Councillor Richard Williams, chair of the communities, parks and leisure committee, said the council’s budget had faced "unprecedented cuts".

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He added: "There will be growing pressures in the years to come. Despite this, customer feedback shows an increase in satisfaction with the quality of Sheffield’s parks and academic research shows how important good quality green spaces are for residents’ well being. Bringing events into our parks gives the council an opportunity to be more ambitious.” 

The authority looked at other sites and explained why it has ruled them out.

Other Sheffield sites compared

Graves Park has too much woodland and transport links aren’t good enough, the authority says. Norfolk Park capacity is only 8,000 and Ponderosa Park can only take 19,000.

Don Valley Bowl capacity is 18,000 and too small. A combination of Don Valley Bowl, the Arena, and the Arena car park isn’t possible because of the exit security measures needed for each venue.

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Using just the Arena car park - approximate capacity 22,000 - alongside Don Valley Bowl wouldn’t give sufficient capacity for a ‘Main Stage’ which could hold more than 30,000, the authority says. However, this option ‘continues to be explored’.