Tramlines Festival 2019 review: The Courteeners steal the show as the sun shines on Hillsborough

‘What the **** are we doing headlining a festival?’

By Dan Windham
Sunday, 21st July 2019, 1:08 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st July 2019, 6:00 pm
The Courteeners at Tramlines
The Courteeners at Tramlines

It’s just before 10pm on Saturday and Liam Fray is finishing up his headline set on the main stage.

The Middleton rocker has just had Tramlines bouncing with ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ and is readying himself for their final song ‘What Took You So Long?’.

Liam’s remarks draw the usual huge roar of approval from the thousands watching but he does pose an interesting question.

The Courteeners’ rise to prominence has gone hand in hand with how Tramlines has grown as a festival.

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    St Jude, their decade-defining first album, was just a year old when 35,000 people flocked to the new festival and made history.

    In the years that followed, Tramlines became such a huge success that it had simply outgrown its roots and had to find a new home at Hillsborough Park.

    Some fans may still wistfully yearn for the days of those raw early days but walking around the sprawling park, it’s clear to see that the festvial has kept that unique energy that only Sheffield can create while adding an impressive level of professionalism and organisation.

    From the entry, the bars, the security and the stages, it’s obvious that this is a slick operation and not just your local village concert.

    The hard work that has gone into revolutionising Tramlines and making it Sheffield’s unrivalled biggest party has put it on the map with some of England’s biggest festivals.

    Such a finely polished festival deserves quality acts and The Courteeners fit that bill to a tee.

    Just like Tramlines, The Courteeners have become too big to ignore and their countless repotoire of sing-along bangers and Fray’s stage presence puts them up with the best bands around.

    As Two Door Cinema Club did the day before, The Courteeners had the fans eating from the palm of their hands, soaking up every last lyric in the bright Saturday sunshine.

    Hometown hero Jon McClure was the perfect warm-up after a performance from Miles Kane that was almost as bright as his shirt.

    Johnny Marr oozed class but as the first as the many flares was lit, it was clear that nobody was going to upstage Fray today.

    He may not quite know how he’s headlining Tramlines, but he needn’t ponder.

    This is a match made in heaven.