Ok, I’ll admit it. I got it wrong.
Not the usual start to the first piece of journalism I’ve done for this magazine. I’ve commented on various topics, passed judgement on people, products and works but this time the critism is all on me. Here’s why…
I was going to write a fairly standard few paragraphs on the bands I saw over the weekend of Tramlines 2013, with the odd whinge about the new charging system (more on that in a bit). This would’ve been short sighted and silly.
Tramlines isn’t about the bands, or what clothes people wore. It’s really about how for one weekend, 72 hours, a whole city full of people move in the same direction. I know that sound a bit sentimental but it’s true.
For one long weekend each year Sheffield has an event to focus on where you can hear, see, eat, drink and learn more about yourself and what other people hold as valuable to them. I can prove it because it happened to me.
I’m a firm believer that art is a way of educating people about the world around them and how they can influence the world through the correct aplication of art. Art is different things to different people and that whatever you do wont please everybody but art in whatever form can really hit the right nerve.
In relation to Tramlines for me was the artful manipulation in the mood of the city. Sheffield is a pretty liberal and easy going city. I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve seen any trouble on the many years I’ve been going there, even with the massive bredth of the groups of people that come in and out of the city everyday.
This is a something to be appaulded and should be envied by other towns and cities across the land. For a lad from an old coal mining village where any deviation from the percived norm is to make yourself an easy target, this was a breath of new air when I made my first few visits to the city over a decade ago. To have such a place is a benefit to us all.
My weekend at the festival was to be about how many bands I could see and how much wit I could squeeze into a short article, but the one thing that made me think diferently was a gig that wasnt on any time tables.
It was a moment of brilliance and if you weren’t there then you’re a poorer person for missing it.
The impromptue set by Steve Edwards and Joe Moskow outside the Alternative Store on Devonshire Street was a set of improvised beats and soulful singing that made people stop and want to be part of it. The two men made a moment for all that stood, listened, danced and joined in that will give memories for years to come.
Now, this is the best reason I can give you for the continuation of the festival. They are having to charge for the bigger venues: the artists and bands have bills to pay, they need to be paid for their time. Arts funding and sponsors money can only stretch so far. There’s still a massive proportion of free entry gigs you can see.
Here’s to a successful and enlightening experience. Tramlines 2013 brought people together to share their creativity, skills and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
– Matt Churchard