A natural Orchestra

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It is almost time for Sheffield’s Tramlines festival again – and for the first time the popular Folk Forest stage in Endcliffe Park has become a ticket-only venue.

Organisers say this means more investment, so fans can enjoy an expanded line-up and bigger stage.

Headlining the stage on the final day of the festival is Hidden Orchestra, the solo studio project of Joe Acheson, who will be joined on stage by guest musicians.

Joe says he has not seen much of Sheffield before, but is looking forward to the festival.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he says, “but I’m not sure what to expect, Sheffield is an interesting city.

“There are some really good acts playing, Polar Bears and GoGo Penguin who I’ve seen a couple of times.”

Hidden Orchestra’s live show will feature a core quartet of Joe on bass and electronics, with Poppy Ackroyd on piano and violin, and Tim Lane and Jamie Graham on two full live drum kits.

Hidden Orchestra have released two full albums and Joe says he is ‘slowly but surely’ working on a new one.

A sound designer and producer by trade, Joe has been part of the ongoing National Trust and British Library Sounds of Our Shores project, which documents the sound of the British coastline.

He says: “I’m hoping to keep the new album in the same vein, with more natural sounds because of the projects I’m doing at the moment.

“I’ve been using fragments of old bits of scores I’ve written and by my uncle that I come across, as well as natural sounds. Everything I do is nostalgic.”

“In my work for radio dramas and documentaries I mostly collect field recordings. The job feeds into Hidden Orchestra. I go out and stumble across things I can make into music.

“I collect dawn choruses, I put my microphone on the windowsill. Where some artists would use synths to make a whooshing noise, I’d record a stream or waterfall and use bird songs for rhythms or beats.”

The composer is looking forward to Tramlines as he says he is just getting back into touring again, after a ‘life-changing’ road crash while travelling to a show.

“We were driving from Budapest to Sofia and got cut up on the motorway and rolled the tour bus,” he says. “It was pretty traumatic. Everybody came though okay, although we had a few broken bones.

“I don’t recommend going to A&E in Belgrade, but they did their best to patch us up. It was pretty life-changing.”

Tramlines runs from Friday to Sunday, July 24 to 26.

Hidden Orchestra play the Folk Forest stage on the Sunday, from 6.45pm.

This year, the main stage has moved from Devonshire Green to The Ponderosa at Upperthorpe.

Acts performing on the main stage include The Charlatans, Basement Jaxx and Wu-Tang Clan, while Devonshire Green is to host South Yorkshire bands, including Nat Johnson and The Ratells.

Weekend tickets and Friday and Sunday day tickets have now sold out. Saturday day tickets, priced £23, are available from www.tramlines.org.uk