In the last few years there’s been growing evidence that the goliath festivals, once too big to fail, are starting to grow stale. Metropolitan festivals are the current flavour, substituting hangovers in a flooded tent for all the comfort and accessibility of city-living. From humble beginnings in 2009, Tramlines has fast become the crown jewel of these events, playing king-maker with emerging talent and uniting it with classic performers. We had hit up the first instalment of its sister festival Outlines back in February and if that’s anything to go by, Tramlines 2016 is going to be a blast.
We’ve boiled down the extensive line-up to the three acts that you have to see at the festival.
Vibrant and angular, Young Fathers make music that can only be described as puffed-up soul and post-pop, touting ramshackle electronics and crooked percussion that hits harder than any 808. The Edinburgh group work as a seamless unit live, born from their 15 years together. Everything is adrenaline instinct, brimming with a punk energy that electrifies basement venues and tackles festival stages with a snarl. With no reservations they put on the greatest live show in the UK right now, and their Tramlines set will be no exception.
For something lighter and warm, look no further than Hinds. Hailing from Madrid, these brash garage-rockers are riotous fun, famed for beer-soaked gigs and antics such as pulling the entire crowd on-stage with them. If you’re not quite up to that, they’re the perfect act to watch from a distance and lounge in the Sheffield sun as they rattle off numbers from their superb debut album. Their reputation for stage-invasions might be thwarted at Tramlines but Hinds are still sure to cause a racket.
Kiko Bun playing at The Harley on the Friday night seems like a match made in heaven. The venue, known for its for abundance of burgers and intimate parties is in for a treat when Bun brings his thick reggae groove to one of the more laid back sets of Tramlines. Latest track ‘Sticky Situation’ is thicker than the burger juice that lines The Harley walls and it could become a moment Tramlines will hold dearly for summers to come. From a similar school to veteran funksters David Rodigan and Craig Charles, Kiko Bun offers a serving of modern reggae-pop, in the heart of Sheffield’s crown jewels.
Aside from our tips, many will flock to Ponderosa each evening to catch the sight of the headliners and other big hitters. This years are a mixed bag, take a look below.
13 years and a day after the release of grime cornerstone Boy in da Corner, Dizzee Rascal will kick off Tramlines as its first headliner. It’s impossible to say what to expect from this set, but it feels like time for the ‘Bonkers’ icon to return. Aside from Dizzee, grime’s voice is being heard at the festival: breakout star Big Narstie’s lumbering bars and iconic laugh are not to be missed, nor is the razor-tongued young hope Novelist.
George Clinton – Parliament Funkadelic
If you think it feels a long time since the ascent of Dizzee Rascal then you may have to rewind your watches further for George Clinton on Saturday night. The funk pioneer will be, according to the heads at Tramlines, be bringing his ‘Parliament Funkadelic Mothership’ to the Ponderosa in Sheffield. Just like last year’s feel good Saturday night party from Basement Jaxx, this is one that we can already tell we’ll be talking about for years to come.
Catfish and the Bottlemen
Continuing their dizzying ascent, Catfish and the Bottlemen have just put out their sophomore album and stepped up to headline status. The band, who have visited Sheffield on many occasions have ramped it up a notch, recently announcing an arena tour at the end of the year so this could be the first time to see them on such a sizeable stage. The winners of the BRITs British Breakthrough Act will close the Sunday night and are the pick of the bunch when it comes to guitar bands.
Tramlines main stage will also play host to Public Service Broadcasting, Little Comets, The Dandy Warhols, Kelis, Jurassic 5 and Sheffield’s own KOG & The Zongo Brigade. Away from the crowds, Tramlines boasts a huge range of venues, both big and small, outside and inside, still and moving – that’s right, the music doesn’t stop when you leave a gig. Tramlines has a tradition of putting musicians on trams to perform for those travelling between destinations.
Indie outfits, Eliza and the Bear, The Crookes and Mystery Jets will all play at Devonshire Green whilst O2 Academy will fulfil your late night need to keep moving into the early hours with David Rodigan, My Nu Leng and Toddla T all stepping behind the decks. Perhaps the strangest performance of the festival will be when snooker legend Steve Davis will swap potting balls to spinning records with his DJ set at Millennium Gallery.
The list goes on and you can find the rest of the names playing below. Whatever happens it’s a weekend not to be missed – but act quick, tickets are selling fast here