Live Review: Tramlines Festival Day 1




The 12th edition of Tramlines was held on the weekend of Friday 23rd July 2021 at Hillsborough Park, Sheffield. Hailing itself as one of the longest running, city-based music festivals that attracted 40,000 people.

The festival boasts the Sarah Nulty Main stage, named in honor of the Tramlines director who said passed away 2018, T’other Stage, The Leadmill Stage and the Library Stage, not forgetting the new area ‘ The Open Arms’ that played Barreoke Hip Hop karaoke and many other acts that kept the crowds entertained.

Sheffield Fringe also saw acts playing in venues/pubs/bars and street corners across the city, which brought back that inner city feel that started back in 2009.

This year’s line up included The Streets, Royal Blood, Supergrass, Jake Bugg, Dizzee Rascal, Mahalia, Everything Everything, The Kooks, The Slow Readers Club, The Reytons, The Snuts, Tom Walker, Holly Humberstone, Lucy Spraggan, The Sherlocks, The Lathums and so many more.

This year held a special place as for many it was their first taste of live music or a gathering of people in almost two years.

This year will obviously see an added addition to the lineup due to the mammoth task of organisers having to check Covid testing or proof of vaccination, feedback from this has already shown it been a well-led test event.


I cannot do cool and professional, I love music and the people that make it, so the whole review will be coming from a place of passion and excitable energy that has been held back and kept contained recently.

It’s been a long 18 months without that sound of a heavy bass in the distance, a buzzing the air of excitement and long queues for portaloos, the kind of queues that sees you making friends with strangers that will be your social media friends for life.

The whole Covid situation slowed down the entering process but overall was really well organised. Whilst waiting for accreditation wristband The Pigeon Detectives were stood alongside me in the queue, I immediately took the opportunity to ask for a video call to my 13 year old daughter, Matt was a true gent and more than happy to do this which led to happy tears from her. He was also very impressed with his new necklace from his wife that read ‘Fuck the Tories’.

Red Rum Club took the opportunity to have a chat with me about the excitement of today’s performance and live music returning, having agreed to an interview, it was as always a pleasure chatting music with them a band whos main aim is to provide smiles to their continually growing army of fans.

The Slow Readers Club had also agreed to chat to me in regards to today and the excitement of performing again, interviewing them in regards to their creativity during lockdown and what being back in front of a live audience meant for them was brilliant.

(All interviews will be published very soon.)

Photo By: Tamsin Jones

My first view of the Sarah Nulty main stage was to see The Pigeon Detectives. Opening with ‘Emergency’, Matt went on to say that he wears the mask, follows the rules but how good it is to see sweaty bodies touching in the crowd again. Seeing the spray of drinks and circles when they performed ‘Animal’ gave me goosebumps, throwing his coat into the crowd and running about with moves of a teenager on their fifth can of red bull, his energy is contagious throughout the crowd.

I used the same level of energy and my running skills to catch Red Rum Club, ‘Elenor’ was playing throughout the crowded T’Other stage as I arrived and brought out the Latino style dancing from couples in attendance. Lead singer Fran asked the crowd who saw them when they played Tramlines when it first started in the City? A few hands raised to which he responded “You liar, there was only 2 people there!

Extra shout out… I loved the girl with the blow up trumpet in the crowd she gave them her all.

Photo By: Tramlines Festival 2021 / Fanatic

Next up we went to catch Barryoke! Ex Eastenders star Shaun Williamson drew a huge crowd and it was amazing seeing everyone getting involved, standing on tables and dancing, belting out ‘Mustang Sally’. The new cabaret stage The Open Arms proved to be a huge hit and added a dash of colour to the programme, with the only complaints saying that it was too small.

Photo By: Tamsin Jones

Back to T’Other stage This was my first time catching The Slow Readers Club live and wow I was mesmerised, their ability to put haunting and meaningful lyrics to pure foot stomping music is genius, my partner is now a firm fan of theirs, ‘Plant the Seed’ set the audience alive and had the crowd in full on dance mode. Finishing with a fan favourite ‘Lunitic’, there was a sea of closed eyes and high pitched singing from the audience, Aaron Starkies vocal range is absolutely unbelievable.

Photo By: Tamsin Jones

The Kooks on the main stage drew a huge crowd and I could hear people discussing which songs they would play, it was so nice to see the authenticity in the band with an opening wrong to the song ‘Sway’ with frontman Luke Pritchard apologising and announcing “It’s been a while.”

My biggest clash of the day was between The Streets or Jake Bugg, I decided to watch The Streets open and make my way to Jake Bugg.

Photo by: Tramlines Festival 2021 / Fanatic

Surveying the crowd Skinner celebrated the audience with a bottle of champagne! After performing ‘It’s Too Late’ Skinner announced that the ladies put a little bit more effort into singing at a festival and dedicated a cover to all the ladies. Their freedom day single ’21st June, Then They Fucked That Too (Who’s Got The Bag?)’ got the crowds going absolutely crazy!’

Photo By: Tamsin Jones

A short distance away Jake Bugg‘s new material had everyone’s feet stomping. His live performance of ‘All I need’ with an outstanding performance from guest singer Joy Farrukh who’s voice and presence complemented the live set perfectly.

It ended my first day on an absolute high, coming back after the forced absence has only magnified my love of live music and the artists that provided it on my first day, witnessing Festival style live music is something I didn’t expect anytime soon.

Read Day 2 Review Here

Read Day 3 Review Here

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