Waves of happiness

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Across the city, thousands flocked to bars, venues and outdoor stages to take part in a massive celebration of music.

The good mood was perhaps encapsulated by the sea of arms waving from side to side in unison to Public Enemy’s Fight the Power. Despite the repeated protestations by Chuck D that he and his cohort Flavor Flav were tool old for this sort of thing they enraptured what was a capacity crowd, testimony to their enduring energy and iconic status.

TRAMLINES 2014'Hip Hop giants Public Enemy storm the stage at Devonshire Green

TRAMLINES 2014'Hip Hop giants Public Enemy storm the stage at Devonshire Green

If later in the evening Sister Sledge rather stretched their act beyond their four or five hits remembered from the Seventies and Eighties they certainly knew how to work a crowd who lapped it up and probably would have been happy to sing along all night to We Are Family.

But big names aside, it was the smaller, off the wall acts that epitomised the spirit of the festival – from Friday night when getting on for 2,000 packed the Fat Cat car park for old favourites the Everly Pregnant Brothers who were on fine form.

Over at the Shakespeare, on Saturday, music lovers scaled ten-feet walls to catch a glimpse of the Sheffield indie rockers Hey Sholay as the band stage-dived into the modest but jam-packed beer garden. “That was the best Tramlines gig I’ve ever been to,” said Dan Dormer from Smiling Ivy, who were also on the bill that day.

By contrast over at Endcliffe Park’s Folk Forest there was a much more sedate aspect of the festival, as the likes of Rachel Sermanni, the Monster Ceilidh Band and Nuala Honan took the stage.

On Sunday, the Shakespeare was once again heaving with atmosphere as Mike Hughes took the stage with a breathtaking set. His voice soared across the crowd as it stomped - collectively – to the Sheffield musician’s alt-blues / country.

And such was Hughes’ command that the crowd barely uttered a word during the quieter moments of his set.

Over at the Washington Faerground Accidents belted out a set of dark, grunge-like pop-rock to a crowd eager to catch the fast-rising band. Frontman Bomar Faery – clad in a dress, lipstick and with Barbie yellow hair – was every part the intoxicating showman.

But there were hiccups. There were grumbles from those who arrived at Devonshire Green on Sunday for The Beat to discover the Eighties ska outfit had taken to the stage early and departed around the time they were scheduled to play. Sheffield’s High Hazels ably filled the gap.

Others were put out when they found the venue full for the big acts. One punter, Neil O’Connor from Nether Edge, observed: “Tramlines is a great event but if they’re going to attract big names like Public Enemy, they really need to find a bigger venue for the main stage. There was a lot of disappointed people outside Devonshire Green on Saturday.”

But Nicola Freitas, the event’s marketing manager, responded: “We did put a release out on social media to say that Devonshire Green would be really busy and that people need to get there early if they want to catch bands like Public Enemy. We wish we could fit more people in but the capacity is what it is and we have to respect that for reasons of health and safety.”

The problem, according to Nicola, is that when people buy a Tramlines ticket, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee access to every venue. “It’s like buying a Glastonbury ticket and wanting to see an act at one of the tents. If you get there late and there’s a 15-deep crowd outside then you won’t get in.”

Even when it wasn’t full some found themselves fuming outside Devonshire Green because of the security policy of shutting the gates 40 minutes before the end on Saturday and Sunday.

But generally the mood was as sunny as the weather. “We’ve had so many reports from bands saying how much they loved the festival,” said Nicola. “The Cribs said they want to play more gigs like this.”

Indeed, The Wakefield indies said playing Tramlines felt like a home-coming gig, which it literally was for The Crookes, rounding off their UK tour at The Foundry on Sunday night with a rousing set ably supported again by The Hosts.