Tramlines Festival, Sheffield: Last chance

Polly Checkland Harding

Tramlines music festival in Sheffield keeps its feet firmly on the concrete for its sixth, and most impressive, outing.

There are some festival-goers who enjoy getting (and staying) muddy. Those who don’t mind stockpiling wet wipes, sleeping on an alarming incline – or down wind from Portaloos – and hauling a large and potent backpack over the hills at the end of it all. For everyone else, the inner city music festival is a blessing – further, it’s a bloody revelation. Manchester’s Parklife has passed, glamping at Festival No.6 is still on the cards, but in the meantime Sheffield’s Tramlines Festival is all about comfort listening in the urban jungle.

The inner city music festival is a blessing – further, it’s a bloody revelation

Luckiest are those who happen to be residents. Incomers will have to choose whether to be hotel resplendent, couch surfing cosy, or simply beg a friend for some hot water and floor space. Whichever way, at least you’ll avoid the indignity of somebody weeing on the side of your tent in the night – and get to see a pretty sweet bunch of acts while you’re at it. Public Enemy are headlining the main stage, along with Wakefield indie band The Cribs and the legendary Sister Sledge. Wedding Present, Gold Panda, M.O., Katy B (playing tracks from her new album) and electro-band of the moment East India Youth are the other big hitters performing elsewhere over the weekend.

On the more eclectic and lesser-known side, Manchester band PINS will play the Leadmill, Awesome Tapes from Africa comes to The Harley and a whole host of folk goodness will be rolled out in the beautiful Folk Forest, a leafy nook of Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park. Don’t miss the Monster Ceilidh Band there, if you’re itching for a dance. Ceilidhs – no matter what anyone says – are just really good fun. Tramlines have given unsigned bands a shot at stardom, too – with a chosen few selected by other, more established acts in collaboration with the BBC Introducing team, there’s plenty of off-the-radar music to dig up.

Best of all, the festival have launched a free clashfinder for this year’s line-up, enabling you to navigate your wish list with ease. The Buskers Bus is back again, to entertain attendees en route between venues, and there’s even a Tramlines gig poster show, with specially produced, limited edition artworks for you to buy, try to keep pristine, then take home. So, no dirt, no camping – no wonder Tramlines won Best Metropolitan Festival in 2011. Don’t miss it.

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