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Tramlines 2010 free music festival in Sheffield (23-25 July)
BBC Radio 1 DJ Toddla T
BBC Radio 1's Toddla T from Sheffield is playing at Tramlines 2010 alongside Annie Mac and Mary-Anne Hobbs

80,000 people were expected in Sheffield city centre from 23rd-25th July weekend for what was billed as Europe's largest free music festival - Tramlines 2010.

The festival returned for its second year following the success of the 2009 event.

In 2009 it brought 35,000 visitors to Sheffield, and pubs and clubs reported record takings - some took three times more than during a normal weekend.

On stage in 2009 were Sheffield's Reverend and the Makers , The xx and Man Like Me - and many other acts. In 2010 the festival was even bigger with acts like Simian Mobile Disco , Mystery Jets , 65daysofstatic , Echo and the Bunnymen and Craig David , plus BBC Radio 1 DJs Annie Mac , Mary Anne Hobbs and Toddla T from Sheffield across the three days from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th July 2010.

For the full line-up, visit the Tramlines website.

Devonshire Green in Sheffield
Devonshire Green in Sheffield is the site of Tramlines' main stage

The main stage was on Devonshire Green while pubs and bars across the city held music events. See a list of venues.

James O'Hara is one of the organisers of the Tramlines Festival, and co-owner of the independent bar The Bowery on Division Street. He spoke to BBC Radio Sheffield at the end of the festival:

"I'm delirious with exhaustion - it's been bigger and better. You're asking me 20 minutes after Richard Hawley has been on with Echo and the Bunnymen and done a Velvet Underground cover, I'm pretty close to wetting myself.

"There was a level of expectation this year because of the success of last year's festival, but I think we've completely surpassed that. Sheffield's got something a bit special on its hands now - something that can grow into something entirely unique. I'm not sure how it can get any bigger."

The festival is aimed at everyone, not just young people and students, many of whom have gone home for the summer.

BBC Radio 1 DJ and Bestival organiser Rob Da Bank spoke to BBC Radio Sheffield's Toby Foster ahead of the event: "The UK scene at the moment is really opening up - everyone wants to go to festivals, not just 16, 18, 25 year olds.

"Town and city festivals happen a lot abroad but in the UK it's only just starting to happen. A lot of festivals, sadly, are put on for financial gain but Tramlines looks like it's really something to get the community together and I think that's fantastic."

Tramlines 2010 logo
The free music festival is expected to draw 50-80,000 people to Sheffield

Every gig is free, which raises the question of where the money comes from. Sheffield City Council leader Paul Scriven explained how the 2010 festival was due to cost the Council £28,000.

"It costs 24p per person in the city. When you think we're going to have a great urban Glastonbury and thousands of people can come free of charge and enjoy music, celebrate and have a great time… it's money well spent and Sheffield does benefit.

"There's the national exposure, fun on the streets, a feeling of friendliness... It gives a great buzz to the city, gets us recognised internationally and allows talented local people to showcase what they're made of."

Radio 1 DJ and festival organiser Rob Da Bank
Radio 1 DJ and festival organiser Rob Da Bank says he wishes he was on-stage at Tramlines 2010

Future funding

BBC Radio Sheffield asked Tramlines organiser James O'Hara whether the economic situation means the Council-funded free festival will still go ahead in 2011:

"I think you will see it in some way, shape or form. We, the organisers of Tramlines, are acutely aware of the current situation. However positive Tramlines is, if the Council are giving us money when they are potentially letting teachers and policemen go, there's a bit of disparity there.

"If there's another way of keeping Tramlines going, be it sponsorship or funding from another place, then we will definitely try and do it. Speaking personally, if a large-scale sponsor came on board and wanted to put their name to it I think they would need a relatively small amount of their PR budget to enable the festival to be what it was this year, if not bigger. We'll approach people and if there is someone then we'll make it happen."

Rob Da Bank told BBC Radio Sheffield that in a period which has been tough for music, Sheffield has taken things forward with Tramlines:

"Clubs and music venues have been closing down across the UK and festivals are putting a new injection of life into the music business. For the first time ever live music sales have overtaken recorded music sales so live festivals are where it's at. This is an amazing thing that Sheffield is doing."

Eliza Doolittle played the main stage at Tramlines on Saturday 24th July 2010
Eliza Doolittle played the main stage at Tramlines on Saturday 24th July 2010

Good for business?

Tramlines organiser James O'Hara says that summer is notoriously difficult for Sheffield businesses, but Tramlines helps this: "The students go away - it's all about battening the hatches and reducing your staff bill, it's a mathematical project to get through to September. Traditionally, summer has been a horrible time from a business point of view.

"I can only comment from my bar but we made a week's money in a night. It enables us to keep staff on, pay the VAT bill, keep going a while."

Businesses in the city also hope to benefit from the busy Tramlines weekend. While tills ring in bars and clubs, Division Street shops also told BBC Radio Sheffield that they think the festival would boost trade:

"We're expecting to do a lot better [than normal]," said the owner of a vintage shop on Division Street, ahead of the festival. "We're buying in extra pairs of shorts in case it's sunny and macs in case it rains, and we'll be open until 10pm."

Across the street, the owner of another clothes shop said the festival will have a positive knock-on effect, if not over the Tramlines weekend itself:

"We're not expecting an increase in sales but there'll be greater footfall. It will be great for the bars, not so good for the clothing retailers, but on the other hand it's free promotion. We'll have people popping into the shop who wouldn't usually."

Division Street, Sheffield
Tramlines events are on all over the city. The main stage is on Devonshire Green near Division Street

The owner of the party shop on Division Street intended to take the unusual step of opening on the Sunday to meet the demand in trade: "We normally don't open on Sundays because it's quiet but we're staying open this Sunday because business may boom."

With music, alcohol and people all over the streets misbehaviour could be an issue - but Paul Scriven told BBC Radio Sheffield that the Tramlines atmosphere is a happy one:

"In 2009 not only did crime rates go down in Sheffield while Tramlines was on but people turned up on Division Street with mobile barbecues - brilliant! The traffic was diverted so it wasn't a problem. There was a feeling of friendliness, people talking to each other, getting on and enjoying it."

One festival-goer told BBC Radio Sheffield, "The atmosphere's fantastic, it's helped by the good weather. I think it's really good for Sheffield, it's a shame we don't have it more often than once a year," and another said, "There's a good diversity of ages. It's just buzzing, it's been right friendly, i haven't seen anything kicking off or anything, just really good - right friendly vibes."

2010 attractions included a free Buskers Bus tour, a Blues trail, folk music in Leopold Square, and a stage at Barkers Pool.

BBC Radio Sheffield's Iain Hodgson covered the event for Raw Talent. Listen to the preview programme on the BBC iPlayer.

Hitting the right note in the city
30 Jun 10 |  South Yorkshire
Tramlines festival line-up announced for 2010
13 May 10 |  BBC Introducing



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