From Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 24, I was one of 35,000 people to attend Hillsborough Park each day for the 13th instalment of Tramlines Festival. And what a weekend it was. So fantastic, in fact, that I got home on Monday and sat waiting patiently for the clock to strike 6pm so I could snap up tickets for next year, too.
Across the three days, I walked more than 40,000 steps across the 49 acre park to watch over 20 live acts across four incredible stages and a ‘pub’ and was able to witness so many memorable moments as a result, from Sam Fender’s first ever headline appearance, to Reverend and the Makers playing two never-before-heard tracks to a bouncing crowd.
The sold-out event was a roaring success. It was very much missed in 2020, and as I hadn’t been double jabbed by July 2021, Jake and I had rolled our tickets over – and boy, was it worth the wait.
Tramlines is my favourite festival for a number of reasons. Firstly, there’s no on-site camping, so the whole atmosphere feels much friendlier and it means the site is a lot cleaner. There’s also an enormous diversity of music and activities on offer, making it amazing value for money.
Not only that, but the acts give their absolute all to this festival, jumping into crowds and even giving away instruments to fans, so I wanted to share with you some of my top most memorable moments from Tramlines Festival 2022.
Tim Booth jumping into the crowd
James’ leadman Tim Booth jumped into the crowd to perform a number of tracks up close and personal, and I was merely a metre away from him. I was taking photos in the pit as Tim jumped off the stage and locked hands with a member of the crowd who pulled him up onto the barrier where he sung four songs to an adoring audience.
Sam Fender’s first festival headline
Around 35,000 revellers a day attended this year’s sold-out event which saw North Shield’s boy, Sam Fender make his first ever festival headline appearance to crowds in their masses at Sarah Nulty’s Main Stage on Friday night.
The moment wasn’t lost on Sam either, as he humbly told the crowds how much of an honour it was to be there as he smiled through his set. The Hypersonic Missiles singer kicked the weekend off with a bang – including fireworks and pyrotechnics, belting out Seventeen Going Under and Get You Down.
Little Man Tate gave away a guitar
The 13th edition of Tramlines also staged a hometown performance from the recently reunited Little Man Tate. I only caught the last of their set after going to grab some food, but arrived in time to see lead singer Jon Windle close the set by giving his guitar to a beaming young fan in the front row.
Eurovision’s Sam Ryer pulled largest crowd to T’Other Stage
Looking through my lens at the man who has revolutionised the UK’s Eurovision reputation and has helped bring the competition to England for the first time in nearly 25 years, I was somewhat starstruck.
Sam Ryder pulled in the largest crowd of the whole weekend to T’Other Stage as an army of fans flocked to watch the Space Man singer and national treasure perform.
Kasabian stun security guard
I was very excited to see Kasabian perform with Sergio Pizzorno taking lead, and for me their set was the highlight of the weekend. The new frontman hugged a surprised security person on stage, making their weekend, I’d assume. A hug from Serge would make my month.
The band absolutely dominated the main stage on Saturday night, and they loved it just as much as we did. The band later tweeted: “Tramlines, that was up there as one of the best nights, absolutely incredible energy.”
Jason Manford accidentally created a Christian rock band
Yes, you heard me. Comedian Jason Manford managed to get a choir going at T’Other Stage after joking that school hymns were ‘absolute bangers’. The Salford dad explained that there are some things our brain just won’t allow us to forget, including the lyrics to the likes of He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands, to which the whole crowd burst into song.
Reverend and The Makers debut new unheard tracks
Sheffield’s Reverend and The Makers, fronted by the larger-than-life Jon McClure, debuted two new tracks ‘Heatwave’ and ‘Problems’ from the band’s highly anticipated seventh studio album as McClure’s family and children joined them on stage.
It’s always a pleasure to see the Yorkshire-based band perform, and this must have been my fourth or fifth time seeing them live.
Timm Cleasby, Tramlines Festival Ops Director said, “What a fantastic weekend. I spoke to so many people who were having a great time, loads of smiling faces. Musically, the Pattern + Push curated day on the library stage was magnificent, Self Esteem was just awesome and seeing kids singing and dancing to songs I grew up with as Madness closed the show was glorious. Jason Manford’s genius of getting audiences singing along to old primary school hymns to the calm oasis Into The Trees watching families playing together topped off a brilliant weekend.
“It was the biggest audience we’ve ever had on Hillsborough Park, so I’d like to send a huge thanks to the whole team, to every single person who worked across the site, to the volunteers, and to everyone who bought a ticket. We can’t wait to welcome you back next year.”
Tramlines 2023 will take place from July 21-23 at Hillsborough Park, Sheffield. You can buy tickets here.