Tramlines is here! A key part of Sheffield’s culture, this year the festival celebrates its 10th anniversary.
I’ll be playing no fewer than FOUR shows across the weekend, and also accompanying the dulcet Teah Lewis on violin for a couple of shows.
8.15pm, DINA Venue
4.30pm, The Fat Cat
5.45pm, Rotunda (at Crucible Corner)
7.30pm, Gardeners Rest
If you like lyrical folk laced with violin, come and see me and Teah play:
7pm Gardeners Rest
3.30pm Folk Forest
Do come and join if you can.
I was very sad to hear about the death of Sarah Nulty recently. Sarah was director of the festival and one of its key founders. She was only 36 when she died.
I didn’t know her, but I know people who did; and the fact she wasn’t much older than me, and was such an instrumental part of something that has been so important to my own journey, made it seem very close to home.
It seems particularly cruel that she didn’t get to see this wonderful thing she created celebrate its tenth anniversary.
Tramlines is massively important to Sheffield – not because of the big acts it brings each year (Noel Gallagher & his High Flying Birds top the bill this Saturday), but because it gives us on the ground a platform to come together and celebrate this vibrant scene we’re part of.
When I first came to Sheffield it was Tramlines. That wasn’t planned but it was fortunate. I roamed round these unfamiliar streets and found a city that was brimming with excitement, talent, and passion.
It was a city fizzing with possibility and it was friendly. I could get stuff done here, I thought; I could be part of something.
While I will be enjoying the festival this weekend, supporting friends and getting excited for new discoveries, I won’t forget that we’ve lost someone who made it all possible.
Years ago, when I was still in the early stages of my own creative journey and I hadn’t had the courage to play a note in public for years, I took a comedy improv class.
Improv is fiendishly hard to do naturally and beginners tend to stand on the sidelines desperately trying to map out the perfect line in their heads before they dare step out onstage.
Our teacher told us something that has stuck with me ever since. She said:
“You don’t have to have the perfect line, you just have to have the courage to step forwards.”
Step forwards, and someone else will follow. You don’t have to know how the scene ends, you just have to get it going.
This stayed with me because I realised that making something came not from having the perfect idea in your head, but daring to step out in the first place. The people who make the biggest changes often don’t know what those changes will be – or who they will affect.
Tramlines reminds me why I chose Sheffield. It was such an influencing factor when I first arrived, very lost and adrift, four years ago. It gave me the sense of a place where things could happen for me – and it has been exactly that.
So though I didn’t know her, I would like to say thank you to Sarah – for having the courage to step forwards in the first place, and for creating something that in turn helped me find my place on my own journey.