REVIEW: Tramlines 2017

By Adele Forrest | 27/07/2017

REVIEW: Tramlines 2017
Music lover/reporter Adele is in here somewhere watching Lady Leshurr. Can you spot her?

I’VE had a ridiculous smirk on my face all week because I haven’t stopped smiling to myself (at sometimes inappropriate moments) about how fun Tramlines was last weekend.

Sheffield’s coolest urban and lushest green spaces opened up to invite an eclectic mix of more than 70 artists to five stages across the city.

What draws my friends and I back to Tramlines every year is the joyous atmosphere and united vibe that emits from every venue and gig-goer.

And hearing from the organisers this week that the event passed without any major incident I think is testament to that – in my nine years of attending I have never once encountered trouble or felt threatened.

I must admit, though, when I arrived at the Main Stage on Friday ahead of The Libertines' headlining set there were a few unhappy faces at the size of the bar queues.

Despite the addition of more watering holes this year, the queues snaked around Ponderosa Park as everyone awaited the arrival of indie’s biggest bromance.

Pete Doherty and Carl Barat looked like they had already had a few jars themselves when they arrived on stage, but I expected nothing less, and they were on great form.

Their loutish loveliness filled the stage as the frontmen careered, cuddled and cosied up to each other and the bar queues quickly subsided.

Barat’s beautiful rendition of What Katie Did brought everyone together in sing-a-long and their anthemic Don’t Look Back Into The Sun intro tore it all apart again.

I continued my jaunt down memory lane at a packed O2 Academy where garage legends, Artful Dodger (of "Re-e-wind" fame) took us on a late- 90s/early-00s trip.

Prior to this, I managed to grab the end of Manchester grime MC, Bugzy Malone’s, explosive set, which left me pining for more.

The sun shone on Saturday for one of the festival’s best coups this year – Toots and The Maytals.

The 4pm slot was the ideal time for everyone to have shaken off the previous night’s hangover, kick off their shoes and groove around to Toot’s biggest hit Monkey Man – a weekend/life highlight.

A good addition to the main arena was the breakaway DJ area, Into The Trees, which allowed us to continue dancing away to disco and funk while punk rockers Cabbage entertained on the main stage.

By the time we arrived at the Devonshire Green stage for headliners All Saints, the heavens had well and truly opened.

But the girl group's all killer no filler setlist meant I barely noticed and proceeded to lose my voice in the process of singing back to them all of their lyrics.

What’s great about the inner city festival though is if you get drenched in the rain you can just pop home to dry out - simple.

All Saints


After missing out on seeing rapper Lady Leshurr at Outlines in March (Tramlines’ sister festival) I was keen to see the Birmingham MC on Sunday at the Main Stage.

But as cute and as energetic as she was, I felt a bit short-changed.

Her set was padded out with too much DJ fodder and not enough of her – oddly, she didn’t even perform her latest song Juice - but did surprisingly provide the best moshpit I saw all festival when she closed with Where Are You Now.

My official Tramlines weekend ended watching a 50-year-old Syrian wedding singer close the Folk Forest stage in Endcliffe Park – yes really. 

Cult hero Omar Souleyman fuses Levantine dance music Dabke and acid house, so he’s pretty niche but very fun and is the epitome of what the festival is all about - a unique, multi-cultural, mad mash-up.

My unofficial Tramlines weekend finished at the Picture House Social (PHS) dancing on stage with Manchester’s finest female punks PINS.

Free entry fringe bars like PHS which are not part of the festival are becoming busier every year as Tramlines' ticketing system adds more layers.

I know it’s turning some Sheffielders off having to buy separate tickets for day/night/after party and deciding in advance where the mood will take them, but I always tell the haters that I think it's great value for money and one of the best festivals out there.

Looking ahead to next year, it’s the biggy... Tramlines turns ten years-old and I’m putting it out there now – it’s about time Arctic Monkeys showed some love for their hometown festival and put a shift in.

I’m also keeping my fingers and toes crossed for Stormzy.

Other dream acts for me include Warpaint, Sean Paul, Chic, Black Keys and err...Beyonce! A girl can dream, can't she?!

Super early bird weekend tickets are now on sale for £25 plus booking fee at