Made in Sheffield week on Sky

Sheffield’s music legacy

Starting tomorrow on Sky arts is Made in Sheffield week.

At 9pm each night a TV programme relating to Sheffield’s musical legacy will be shown:

The documentaries, made by Sheffield vision film maker Eve Wood, are getting their UK TV premieres. They tell the story of the Sheffield music scene from the late 70s through to Pulp’s legendary appearance headlining Glastonbury in 1995.

Made in Sheffield focuses on the early electronic scene while the Beat is the law covers the 80s and 90s, including how Thatcher’s Britain influenced music from the city.

If you haven’t got Sky then you can also buy copies of the documentaries from, Rare and racy and Record collector.

Made in Sheffield week on Sky arts

Weston party bank holiday Monday gig

Music in the sun (hopefully)

There’s a full post about this event over on so I won’t repeat it all here, but this looks like a good bet for a fun, free way to spend bank holiday Monday.

Billed as a post-Tramlines pick-me-up, this afternoon of music in Weston park features a line-up including Sarah Mac, Ian Brit, the Cartels, Orange 38, the Tivoli, Driftrun and Lords of flatbush.

The forecast says that the best of the weekend sun is going to be on Monday and you are invited to bring along your own picnic or barbecue.

Weston party, 30 August 2010

Lords of flatbush

Lords of flatbush

Looking back on Tramlines 2010

Sheffield’s urban music festival returns for a second year

So once again the hordes descended on the city centre for the second year of the Tramlines festival. This time it was much bigger than 2009, with an estimated 125,000 people creating an amazing atmosphere around town.

Following feedback from last year, there were some changes for 2010. The problematic ticketing system for the main stage was scrapped in favour of a one-in, one-out policy. This meant that there was queuing down Devonshire street, particularly on the Saturday, but on the whole I think it worked much better and led to the main arena being much fuller for more of the day.

Devonshire street queues

Devonshire street queues

The capacity for Devonshire green was increased to around 8,000, with a bigger area fenced off.  This meant that the spontaneous barbecues and gatherings that took place along the Rare’n’racy stretch of Devonshire street didn’t occur, which was a shame. Most of the businesses along there were inside the enclosure. I understand that the intention was for there to be public access to it via the side gates, but this didn’t seem to happen.

It was good that you were allowed to drink anywhere inside the main stage area, Food wise, I think there is room for more outlets offering a bigger variety of cuisine than we saw this year.

If you wanted to see a particular band then you needed to get there early, allowing time to queue to get in the different venues. Some people seemed annoyed at this but as it is a free festival, I don’t think that much can be done about it. I found that when one band finished playing there was the opportunity to move inside and get a good spot for the next one.

It was possible to avoid the queues if you chose your venues carefully. Drifting between the new music stage in Barker’s pool and also the world stage in the Peace gardens was easy. And I had no problem walking straight in to the Leadmill, Frog and parrot and Soyo at various times over the weekend.

If you didn’t go on the Busker line bus, then you missed out. As well as a practical means of getting around, it became a venue in itself. I overheard one old couple sat behind me on there discussing whether they should go round again. It sounds like they had been on it a while.

Buskerline bus

Buskerline bus

The organisers have said they’d like to make Tramlines even bigger if it returns in 2011. It will be interesting to see how they go about this. I can’t see how the main stage can increase its capacity, although they could also open it on the Friday night.

I also get the feeling that there is a limit on the size of the headliner that Tramlines can accommodate on Devonshire green. Echo and the bunnymen was a perfect fit: an established band that appeals to different generations and has at least a few songs that most people will recognise. If the main band was were really big then although that in some ways would be brilliant, it would also bring with it a whole new level of logistical and security issues.

Echo and the bunnymen

Echo and the bunnymen

There isn’t another obvious city centre location for a bigger stage than Devonshire green. They could look to using the Don valley bowl, but part of the appeal of the festival is its compactness and the atmosphere that is generated in town because of this.

Also, at the moment I don’t think Tramlines is just about getting big names to play. Although having very well known bands playing where you know the songs is great, the festival is as much for me about soaking up the atmosphere around town, checking out some new music and supporting local artists and businesses at the same time.

The organisers have acknowledged that some elements of this year’s festival could have been run better and are still looking for feedback (they have over 500 points on the list already). You can get in touch via Facebook.

And if you want to increase the chances of Tramlines happening again next year, they have also set up a voluntary donation scheme.

All in all it was another great weekend, I think the most exciting of the year to be hanging out in the city centre.

Flickr photos

Tramlines TV videos

Shake aletti Activity Sheffield dancers

Shake aletti Activity Sheffield dancers

Solar disco

Solar disco, Devonshire green

Live art in Soyo

Live art in Soyo

Busk Sheffield 2010

Your post-Tramlines hangover cure

If you’re pining for more live music in town then why not check out Busk Sheffield on Saturday:

On the 31st of July Devonshire Green and other surrounding locations will see Sheffield’s best musicians and performers come together in a fantastic busking event in support of the housing and homelessness charity Shelter.

This event will tread new ground in city entertainment, with Devonshire Green hosting a mass busking event as musicians take… up their unamplified instruments and play for money from the giving public. There will even be a Free-Busk space where any old joe can come and pick up a guitar and play for their pennies. This is blended with live entertainers and non-profit food and charity stalls.

Bush Sheffield Facebook event

@busksheffield on Twitter

1990s Sheffield bands

Were you involved?

Radio 2XS’s Jeff Cooper is working on a radio project focusing on the Sheffield music scene of 20 years ago.

The former Hallam FM presenter has loads of sessions and demos from the 1990s and is planning to involve as many of the bands’ members as he can find.

Forgotton Sheffield bands covered on this blog already include Various vegetables, the Dylans, Speedy (formerly Blammo), the Suncharms and Blameless.

Were you involved at the time, or can you help track down members of 1990s Sheffield bands? If so, email Jeff at

Tramlines 2010 is underway

Music festival kicks off in style

Town was really packed last night with the opening night of Tramlines and I’m sure tonight will be even busier.

Most of the venues were at capacity, with people queuing outside. So if there is a band you really want to see then get there in plenty of time and allow for a bit of a wait to get inside.

Have fun!

Tramlines 2010 information

The Crookes at the Grapes

The Crookes at the Grapes last night

On the waterfront event at Victoria quays

A family day out down the canal basin

If, like me, you don’t get down to Victoria quays as much as you should, then the On the waterfront event is a good reason to head there tomorrow:

Come and enjoy a fun family day out by one of Sheffield’s watery wildlife havens! Plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained, with live music, attractions and craft demonstrations. Find out more about the wildlife that lives along our waterways, or join a guided walk and look out for butterflies, fish and kingfishers.

The live music includes the Crookes and the Everly pregnant brothers, both of which are reason alone to go.

I’ve posted before about Victoria quays and how Sheffield’s canal basin never seemed to properly catch on as a place to spend significant time and money. More events like this can only raise its profile and give people an incentive to go.

On the waterfront Event Sheffield listing

On  the waterfront pdf (1.14MB)

Victoria quays, Sheffield by Paolo Margari

Victoria quays, Sheffield by Paolo Margari (used under Creative commons licence)

Tramlines festival – Sheffield music city 2010

Tramlines 2010

Tramlines 2010

23-25 July 2010

Our biggest musical weekend of the year, Sheffield music city, will soon be upon us. And the main part of that weekend will once again be the Tramlines festival.

Last year’s Tramlines was really good. The atmosphere around town was pretty special and even if you aren’t a music fan, it is worth popping down the the city centre over the weekend just to get a feel for what is going on.

As well as the big acts on the main stage, there are lots of smaller events happening at venues all over the city. The great thing is that it is a free festival and you do not need tickets for  events. You may have to queue up to get in to some venues or areas, but I think the plan is to have a one-in-one-out policy this year.

There have been various announcements regarding the line-up, and apparently there will be more news about who is playing on Monday.

For now, I’ve listed some of the information sources for the latest festival information:
Tramlines website. Should include full listings
Facebook page for Tramlines festival
Twitter feed for main Tramlines festival
Hallam FM Tramlines page. Hallam FM is helping organise acts for the main stage
Hallam FM Twitter account
Tramlines MySpace page
Tramlines page
Tramlines YouTube channel
Sheffield music city Facebook group – doesn’t seem to be updated much though
Sheffield music city/Tramlines listing on Event Sheffield website

Anyone know if they are producing a paper brochure/programme this year?

A reminder of last year’s festival:

South Yorks volume one mixtape by Kid acne

South Yorks volume one mixtape by Kid acne

South Yorks volume one mixtape by Kid acne

Another Sheffield compilation you should hear

This blog previously promoted the excellent Noise heat power Destroyed by gods compilation, which aims to give an insight into the ‘freakish science behind the Sheffield sound’.

Well another hand-picked selection of tracks has now come along, this time curated by Sheffield street artist Kid acne:

Kid Acne has been organising quarterly parties in Sheffield with a local theme and rigorously enforced music policy: all tracks must originate, or have a very strong connection with South Yorkshire. Now you can download a piece of the action.

The collection is an eclectic mix, and includes more well-known local artists (Joe Cocker, I monster, Human league, Fat truckers, Pink grease, Jarvis Cocker and ABC) alongside some which you may not immediately associate with this neck of the woods.

Download South Yorks volume 1 mixtape by Kid acne

The second track on the compilation is Kid acne’s very own South Yorks song:

Sheffield music festivals in 2010

How many will we see in Sheffield this year?

The first Sheffield music city/Tramlines festival was a generally seen as a big success and last month’s announcement regarding both the scale and line up for the 2010 festival hint that this year’s could be even better.

However, Tramlines is not the only music festival happening in Sheffield in 2010. As well as the Sensoria event in the spring, meetings and discussions have been taking place since early in the year about an alternative music festival, organised by and for Sheffield people.

It seems that this alternative festival could be run as a not-for-profit venture where any money made would be put into some sort of Sheffield music trust. Discussions on the Facebook group that was set up have also included debate about whether it should be a completely independent event or form part of a Tramlines fringe festival. After a burst of activity, the group has gone a bit quiet in the last couple of months.

As well as the talk of this independent festival, last October the Sheffield Telegraph reported that talks were being held with a national promoter with a view to running a weekend festival at a location on the edge of the city. This would be a complementary festival to the Tramlines event.

If this was going ahead I’m guessing we would have heard more about it by now.

Can anyone shed any light on whether an alternative festival is still in the offing for 2010 and also what came of the discussions regarding the other big festival?