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FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Tramlines Festival 2021

Sheffield’s biggest party, Tramlines Festival is set to make a triumphant return to Hillsborough Park come 23rd – 25th July. Featuring headliners The Streets, Royal Blood, Richard Ashcroft plus a whole host of 46 already confirmed music acts across the festivals three-day line-up, plus many more names in music, art and comedy to be announced across its five stages, Tramlines 2021 is set to be a return to form for the unforgettable Sheffield long weekender. Here in this festival preview, we aim to take a deep dive into some of the most anticipated, hyped and talked about artists, spanning a spectrum of genres from indie, metal, rock and more ahead of the long-awaited Tramlines Festival 2021.    

The Kooks 
Friday

Renowned indie-rock outfit The Kooks are set to be second from the top of the bill on the Friday at Tramlines Festival. Emerging out of the Brighton music scene in the year 2005 with a backlog of smash hit singles most notable Naive, The Kooks came at a time between post Brit-pop and a rise in British guitar driven bands. Their debut album Inside In/Inside Out was released a mere year later in 2006, selling millions of copies and making The Kooks a household name. Now fifteen years into their career, The Kooks are keeping their adventurous and enticing merger of 60’s inspired post-punk, dreampop, indie, rock and retro-esque funk still very much relevant to the modern day, recently re-releasing their infamous first full length as a 15th anniversary deluxe edition.   


DMA’S
Friday

For DMA’S, it was all about their debut single release Delete that exploded this three piece into Sydney’s and eventually the rest of the world’s consciousness. Whilst Australia might be this trios stomping ground, DMA’s musical DNA nods to the nostalgia of the Manchester music scene of the indie-rock dominant 90’s, think Happy Mondays and Oasis amongst the many influences that trickle into this bands more alternative dance, alternative rock and indie soundscape. 2020 saw DMA’s drop third LP THE GLOW which sports a mammoth seven singles amongst the albums eleven tracks. Expect to hear the likes of big hitters Lay Down, Silver and Tape Deck Sick alongside newer numbers Criminals, Round & Around and Cobracaine on their setlist at Tramlines 2021.  


Pale Waves 
Friday

Photo Credit: Niall Lea

Fresh off the back of releasing their second studio album Who Am I back in February of this year, Pale Waves are a Manchester based band made up of members Heather Baron-Gracie, Ciara Doran, Hugo Silvani and Charlie Wood who should be up high on your music radar and your Tramlines Festival schedule too. Said album gave this band a platform to showcase their deeply personal but highly relatable lyrics that lean into themes of darkness, hope, love and life all rolled into one impressive record. Pale Waves are one of the most hotly loved groups in alternative music right now, cemented by their infectious indie sound and ultimately an individual identity that distinctively sets them apart.   


The Pigeon Detectives 
Friday

Another band set for a Friday slot at Tramlines 2021, The Pigeon Detectives have festival ready anthems in their armour. From I Found Out to Take Her Back, this band is going to be a must see in Sheffield. Rock music with an infectious indie swagger to their style, Leeds finest The Pigeon Detectives introductory record Wait For Me is made for the festival circuit, with singalong hits and radio friendly songs making up its track list. Currently sitting on their fifth full length 2017’s Broken Glances and a tenth anniversary special of their debut, whilst there is no immediate new music by The Pigeons, their set at Tramlines 2021 will be bursting to the brim of indie tunes and live energy that will feed directly into their festival crowd come July.    


Royal Blood 
Saturday

Photo Credit: Mads Perch

Royal Blood are a band built on the foundations of bass and drum driven hard rock music. From their snarling self-titled debut album to safe second record release How Did We Get So Dark?. This Brighton based duo back in the early days displayed promising signs as one of the best British bands to successfully straddle the alternative rock scene and the popular music mainstream in the early 2010’s, with their big, bold and bombastic blend of raucous riffs and pounding percussion. Arriving seven years after their debut, third album Typhoons turns down the bluesy garage-rock fuelled noise two notches and polishes up the dirty distortions for something a little more danceable and shinier. Royal Blood are bound to bring all the bass guitar and drum fuelled dance rock energy to Hillsborough Park, when Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher headline the Saturday main stage of the festival. 


Blossoms 
Saturday

Photo Credit: Lewis Evans

Another band bursting onto the scene amid the 2010’s, Blossoms rapid breakthrough in Manchester with the quintets’ shiny, shimmering and glistening indie sound was quickly reverberated around the globe, soaring to success in a short three-year space of time. Breaking through with their self-titled debut demonstrated this band’s flair for iridescent synths and infectious indie rock. Along the way, Blossoms acquired a further album Cool Like You and some major singles like Charlemagne from the first and There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls) from the second. 2020’s Foolish Loving Spaces is what sets Blossoms Tramlines appearances apart, with the band having performed at the festival back in 2018, it will be a welcomed return for the Manchester outfit back to Sheffield after that spectacular return to live performance at Liverpool’s Pilot Festival earlier this year. 


The Sherlocks 
Saturday

Photo Credit: Luke Thompson

Homegrown talent The Sherlocks will be playing a homecoming gig on Sunday at Tramlines this year. The Yorkshire born and bred band, comprised of members Kiaran Crook on vocals, drummer Brandon Crook, bass player Trent Jackson and guitarist Alex Proctor; the dynamic within The Sherlocks are a band bonded by blood and a good ear for what makes a good indie rock track. Having toured territories such as UK, US and Europe, Sheffield will be a walk in the park for The Sherlocks, especially if they bring songs like Chasing Shadows and End Of The Earth to stage. 


The Magic Gang 
Saturday

Indie tune makers The Magic Gang are gearing up to join the line-up at this year’s Tramlines Festival. Dropping their debut single Alright back in 2015, six years later, this Brighton four piece have signed to a major record label, put out three EP’s and a successful self-titled debut album. For The Magic Gang, getting to perform a selection of their hit songs from How Can I Compete to Getting Along and All This Way to Take Back The Track, this band are chomping at the bit to be back on a festival stage soon. 


BLOXX 
Saturday

Photo Credit: Parri Thomas

The UK’s very own BLOXX are a band hot on the festival circuits bookings this year. Whether it be at Y Not? Festival to Reading & Leeds and This Is Tomorrow to Victorious, Tramlines will top off this indie rock outfit’s slew of summer festivals. Originally hailing from Uxbridge in North London, BLOXX have left their hometown behind to tour the world with some of music’s most recognised names supporting acts such as Sundara Karma and The Wombats respectively. Putting out material of their own, ranging from 2016’s Your Boyfreind to 2020 EP Lie Out Loud, BLOXX are one of indie rocks brightest beacons of hope, but one who will also bring their deeper and darkest lyrical energy to the table too. 


Sundara Karma 
Sunday

Photo Credit: Hannah Diamond

Set to be high up in the Sunday’s line-up, amazing alt rock meets indie quartet Sundara Karma keep the festival ready anthems rolling. Releasing their first full length in 2017 titled Youth Is Ever Only Fun in Retrospect, Oscar Pollock, Haydn Evans, Ally Baty & Dom Cordell followed up the success of their first studio album with the second Ulfilas’ Alphabet two years after. With Kill Me being the latest EP release by Sundara Karma, the laid-back indie vibes, shimmering synths and relaxed rock music will be a must watch set. 


The Snuts 
Sunday

Photo Credit: Gaz Williamson

Scottish indie-rock band The Snuts are a grounded group, who haven’t let their early success story inflate their ego. Formed in 2015 in the small town of Whitburn, West Lothian, this four-piece started from the ground up, forming The Snuts whilst still at school and grafting hard on releasing demo after demo. The band have subsequently gained a strong following from their anthemic tunes, that take influence from the snarling alternative rock of Arctic Monkeys and Oasis, to the cool breeze of indie music that Blossoms, Circa Waves and Sea Girls do so well. 2021 sees The Snuts release their raucous, hook-laden debut album W.L, alongside their debut appearance at Tramlines Festival too. 


Fickle Friends 
Sunday

Representing the Brighton masses on this festival preview piece for Tramlines, Fickle Friends are a name that everyone in euphoric indie-pop has come across. Cutting their teeth down in their Brighton stomping ground in 2013, the band quickly rose to reputable levels of fame, signing with label Polydor to put out album number one You Are Someone Else, a record that sonically showcases shiny electronics to its sound, akin to the era of the 80’s. Fickle Friends are worth checking out. 


Havelocke 
Sunday

Photo Credit: Marcia Richards

Following on from their 2019 debut EP This Is Havelocke, Yorkshire local band Havelocke are bringing an even heavier haphazard of horror theatrics, emotional lyricism and a searing sound of noughties inspired emo and post hardcore to their sonic identity, though stadium sized vocal harmonies, eerie atmospheres and a pepped-up angst towards the wider world on their new EP Arsonist. Emo and post hardcore music is about to hit Tramlines Festival 2021 like never before. 


Tramlines Festival takes place in Hillsborough Park, Sheffield between 23rd July – 25th July. The festival is now sold-out; however you can join the ticket waiting list and find out more information about the full line-up over on their website.

Written By: Katie Conway-Flood

Katie Conway-Flood
Katie Conway-Flood is a music journalist, music publicist and general band enthusiast. For several years, since graduating university with a first class degree in music business, Katie has written single, album and live reviews, and regularly contributed to news stories and feature pieces for a plethora of online music publications. Katie is otherwise a pop-punk, pop-rock listener and ethical vegan.