From Upperthorpe to Endcliffe, music will be the watchword in Sheffield this weekend.
The Tramlines festival is returning for its seventh year, with more than 200 music acts playing at over 30 official and fringe venues.
We get national recognition now and it’s certainly part of the festival calendarSarah Nulty
And organisers are confidently predicting that 2015’s event will be the biggest and best yet, following unprecedented ticket sales and the decision to move the main stage from Devonshire Green to the larger Ponderosa park.
Tramlines director Sarah Nulty said the festival was close to being completely sold out for the first time. Weekend passes, as well as Friday and Sunday day tickets, were all snapped up more than a week ago.
“It’s shaping up really well,” said Sarah. “In the past a quarter of tickets have been sold on the weekend, rather than in advance.”
The quality of the bill – including big names such as Basement Jaxx, Wu-Tang Clan and The Charlatans – has been a deciding factor in Tramlines’ popularity this year.
More than 100,000 people are expected to descend on the city centre and attendance at official Tramlines events is set to top 25,000.
“Last year Public Enemy was a real turning point, we’d never booked anyone as big before,” said Sarah.
“People have seen that that’s the way the festival is heading, so we’ve tried to keep the acts of that calibre again this year.”
The move to the Ponderosa may also have piqued audiences’ curiosity. “We’ve been on Devonshire Green for six years, and although we’re still using it, we wanted the main stage to feel more like a festival experience.”
Sarah said the unexpectedly high demand to see Public Enemy in 2014 also identified a need to increase the overall capacity.
“We had to turn away an awful lot of people. Also it had become a bit of a challenge to manage the numbers in the middle of the city centre – Devonshire Green is surrounded by the majority of the bars in town. The Ponderosa is an amazing park. All the flats will have great balcony views!”
Weekend wristbands have increased slightly in price to £30, while day tickets were £23 in advance, up from £12 in 2014.
Sarah said the entry fees were in line with other city events such as the Live at Leeds festival, while making Endcliffe Park’s Folk Forest venue – previously free – wristband-only reflected the cost involved in booking bigger acts.
“We’ve tried to keep it as reasonable as possible,” she added.
Future plans include setting up a charitable foundation to protect the future of the festival’s remaining free events, including the community activities in the Peace Gardens. “We want to be able to maintain the engagement with Tramlines across the city,” Sarah explained.
For now, the team are ‘more excited than ever before’ about Tramlines.
“The main stage is larger, the acts are bigger and there’s more variety,” said Sarah.
“We get national recognition now and it’s certainly part of the festival calendar. We’re hoping it’s going to be the best one so far.”