Tramlines 2021: How it felt to be out in Sheffield again enjoying live music at Hillsborough Park
It has been almost 18 months since I last went to a live music event – probably the longest I have gone without attending a gig in my adult life – so heading to this year's Tramlines Festival was an opportunity I absolutely could not pass up.
I was meant to be attending for the first time in 2020, but as the pandemic swept the country and lockdown rules came into force, the event was cancelled.
Knowing it could go ahead this year I was ecstatic – albeit nervous – and couldn’t wait to pull on my boots, grab my parka and head back out into the world I have been hidden from over the last year.
Apart from having to prove your ‘Covid status’ – either double vaccination, a negative test result or natural immunity - to gain access, there were very few restrictions in place as the rules have now been lifted in England.
Social distancing was advised where possible but the event was back up to huge capacity and it was as normal as it possibly could be providing what we have been through since March last year.
I have to say that I was a little anxious about heading back into the throng after spending so much time in solitude but like riding a bike, each step I took towards the crowd made me relax that little bit more, before I was right in the thick of it for Sheffield-favourite The Sherlocks, belting out the chorus to Chasing Shadows.
It was bucket-hats galore as people jumped, danced and sang their hearts out, spilling beer out of their paper cups and throwing their arms around their loved ones and I honestly couldn’t have been happier.
I completely understand why people may have reservations about attending a festival right now, or whether they should even go ahead, and everyone should have the right to make their own decision about what they feel comfortable doing. But for me, there really is no feeling like seeing people relax after facing some of the most difficult times of their lives and enjoying themselves as much as they can.
The music was incredible – some of my particular highlights were up-and-coming local indie band The Rosadocs, who perfomed on the Library Stage, Lucy Spraggan on Sarah Nulty’s Main Stage and number-one album winners The Snuts on T’other Stage – and every artist who hit the stage said how amazing it felt to be back, echoed by thousands of roaring fans who clearly felt the same.
Talking to people around the festival site it was clear everyone was feeling the same energy – so many smiling and friendly faces – the atmosphere was electric.
I felt safe and respected and like I could take everything at my own pace, whether I wanted to be right at the front in the midst of the crowd or simply sat on a blanket at the back, soaking it all in.
After so long away from the live music scene, Tramlines Festival 2021 really was the perfect reintroduction. Bring on next year!