Tramlines signs deal with entertainment group to deliver its biggest-ever festival in Sheffield

Tramlines director Sarah Nulty at Hillsborough Park. Picture: Chris Etchells
Tramlines director Sarah Nulty at Hillsborough Park. Picture: Chris Etchells

An entertainment business that runs festivals across the world is bankrolling Tramlines this year - but organisers insist the Sheffield event has not been taken over.

Tramlines has struck a deal with Global, the UK's second largest festival operator, to meet the cost of expanding to Hillsborough Park for its 10th outing this summer.

Global's portfolio of nearly 20 events includes Y Not in Derbyshire as well as Truck, South West Four, Field Day, Boardmasters and Rewind. It also promotes Snowbombing in Austria, which has an offshoot in Canada, along with Festival No 6 in Wales, Standon Calling, Glass Butter Beach, Lost Village and Electric Elephant in Croatia.

At Hillsborough Park, Tramlines will be helped by the Broadwick Live group. Global, which has other divisions including commercial broadcasters Heart and Capital, entered the festival market in 2015 by acquiring Broadwick, and since then has pledged to grow its share of the sector.

A debenture, a standard legal document confirming the loan to Tramlines, has been filed with Companies House. It includes a fixed charge against all Tramlines' property and undertakings, meaning Global would have the power to call in receivers if the money was not repaid.

The Sheffield festival has secured its biggest-ever headliners for 2018, and tickets have been selling quickly. Stereophonics, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and Craig David's TS5 - a cross between a DJ set and a regular gig - will top the bill from July 20 to 22.

Moving to the park from the Ponderosa in Upperthorpe means Tramlines has nearly doubled its capacity to almost 40,000 people. An ambitious offering is promised with four stages; away from the bigger areas there will be the Leadmill Stage and the Library Stage, which promises a 'left-leaning line-up that supports emerging talent'. Into The Trees, a zone for DJ sets introduced last year, will return in a rejigged format with a 'diverse mix of family entertainment in wooded glade'.

Comedy performances, food stalls and craft ale bars are planned, and there will also be some activities in the city centre, reflecting Tramlines' roots.

A spokesman for Tramlines said: "Broadwick Live are helping with the delivery of this year's festival. What does this mean for Tramlines? It means that we have been able to deliver a festival on a scale befitting the 10th edition of the event, enabling us to secure world-class headliners and help meet the costs of an improved infrastructure at our new site in Hillsborough. At this stage there has been no change of ownership."

Ian Hanson, Global's chief operating officer, said last year: "We are continuing to grow our portfolio, with more to come."