DON’T even bother checking that weather forecast for this weekend because there’s no stopping the masses hitting Tramlines Festival’s outdoor stages.
Around 80 venues may be hosting live music and DJ sets over some 72 hours but the biggest gatherings will be on Devonshire Green, in Barkers Pool and the Peace Gardens.
And if any band knows about big it is Friday night headliners Reverend & The Makers, making a welcome return to the Main Stage.
The Sheffield band’s third album comeback has seen them open for Noel Gallagher at arenas and more recently Red Hot Chili Peppers’ colossal stadium shows, including Knebworth.
“It’s got a new energy,” says drummer Ed Cosens of the band’s new music. “It’s like we haven’t got anything to prove in a sense, so everyone’s just enjoying it.
“There comes a time when quality starts talking for itself. If you’re happy with what you’ve done and you couldn’t have done it any better that starts making statements of its own. We’ve always had that sound that translated well onto bigger stages.”
There were crossed words between Jon McClure and Tramlines at one point since his band headlined the first. But the fact that he is back - and he toured with the calmer of the two Gallaghers - possibly says more about the McClure mindset than many might have realised.
“I took a long time off because I got myself right mardy, twisted and political about certain things,” admits Jon. “I needed to sit down and not talk about owt serious; have a bit fun and make some music for a minute.”
The Sheffield-heavy line-up on Friday includes Dead Sons and The Violet May while Saturday sees Hallam FM absent in favour of a mixed offering with urban acts Roots Manuva, a regular visitor to the city, and Ms Dynamite following local heroes Hey Sholay and Blue Lip Feel, who won a public vote to play.
The wonderful We Are Scientists top the menu on Sunday in stark contrast to openers The Everly Pregnant Brothers. Watch out for Tyensiders Little Comets midway.
One of the most anticipated open-air sets of the weekend will come from returning local riff-crunchers Rolo Tomassi.
For many it will be the first time to catch the band with new members Chris Cayford – formerly guitarist with No Coast - and Nathan Fairweather, ex Brontide bassist.
They replaced Joe Nicholson and Joe Thorpe and featured on the band’s spring single Old Mystic.
Recorded with Hysterics producer Jason Sanderson, it was the first taste of the band’s third studio album, a flavour of which will hit the Sunday afternoon air in Barkers Pool from the New Music Stage.
“We were delighted to welcome Chris and Nathan to the band.
“Both have great backgrounds in other bands we’ve been fans of and have been long-term friends of ours,” says vocalist Eva Spence.
Adds brother James (keys and vocals): “It’s an exciting time and we can’t wait for people to hear what we do next.”
Sunday is headlined by fellow city chaps 65daysofstatic while Saturday is capped with a febrile shift from maverick rockers Future Of The Left.
If the sun does come out the Youth Music/World Stage at the Peace Gardens will again come into its own on Saturday.
An eclectic mix sees Soulfunkful kick off a day that includes Concord Brass & Bugle Band, the inimitable Rafiki Jazz, The Destroyers and Robin Hopcraft and Idris Rahman’s London-based music project Soothsayer.
Further contrast blows up outside Sheffield University campus where Red Bull Studios live winds up revellers ahead of Oris Jay, Benga, Toddla T and more raising the decibels later inside.