Tramlines Lineup Is Revealed | No Sheffield Hip Hop Or Grime Artists?
The music festival which held its first event in 2009 is getting ready to return again for the 10th time. Since the first festival, Tramlines has attracted thousands of people to the event which used to be based in the centre of Sheffield.
The festival is curated and organised by a panel comprising local venue owners, promoters and volunteers Mainly from Sheffield. In addition, the name of the event was inspired by the city’s tram network. As much as I respect what Tramlines has grown into and the opportunity they have given some of our local artists from the city, It is concerning that in 10 years of the festival local Grime, Hip Hop, Bass and RnB have not been given a chance to perform on the main stage of the event so highly inspired by Sheffield.
Year after year Sheffield urban artists have been pushed out to the fringe events of the festival which are usually organised by people outside of the Tramlines team. In addition to this, they get little to no promotion by Tramlines on websites, flyers, radio adverts or any marketing material.
The 10th Tramlines Festival lineup has been revealed and surprise surprise there is yet again none of our local urban artists performing on the main stage.
We are not sure why organisers don’t want to support these artists but after looking at the lineups of the previous 9 festivals I see very little excuses for not involving them at their events. The only Sheffield act involved regularly is DJ/Producer Toddla T but although it is good to see a representative in the city it can’t be ignored that he is not a rap/singer act.
Other than Toddla, to my knowledge Shinobi, Matic and Coco are the only Sheffield artists in 10 years that have been involved in a main feature of the festival.
At first, I thought the reason may be down to the fear of trouble being caused due to the style of music and unfair stigma around genres such as Grime and Hip Hop. Then you look and see over the years artists such as Mob Deep, Dizzee Rascal, Professor Green, Tinchy Stryder, Ms Dynamite, Public Enemy and in 2018 Steflon Don will be performing on the main stage of the festival. Given the style of music (especially in the earlier stages of their career) the fear of trouble can’t be the reason why or a lot of the names above would not have been booked.
Then I thought maybe it maybe down to local artists not having enough of a following. But after looking through artists given an opportunity over the years (which I’m not going to bait up) have around the same or even less of a following than some of our own local talent. This showed me that this couldn’t be the reason either.
It couldn’t be down to Tramlines just being an Indie music event as they have included other genres of music to their lineups such as the names mentioned above.
So what is Tramlines beef with local urban artists?
After taking a closer look at the growth of local Grime/Hip Hop artists from Sheffield over the past 6 years especially, there is a number of artists that have done things that should have been noticed by organisers and prompted them to approach these performers.
Since 2011 (3 years after the first Tramlines event), 3 artists have featured on the countries biggest Grime battle rap platform Lord Of The Mics, a hand full more have featured and won battle rapes on platforms such as Don’t Flop, Whos Da Boss and Prize Fighter. Some of our local talent have featured on large Youtube platforms such as SBTV, GRM Daily and Link Up TV. In addition, some of our artists have had music featured and performed on radios such as BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1 Xtra, Rinse FM, Kiss FM as well as performing at music events such as Glastonbury, BBC 1 Xtra Live, Notting Hill Carnival and even overseas bookings. More has been achieved by our local talent in Sheffield but these are some of the main things to back the point I’m making that we have established talent.
Within this time, artists such as Kdot, Tez Kidd, Skinz, L Dizz, Post Collide, Harry Brown, Deep Green, Coco and Kannan have all generated millions of hits on Youtube and thousands of streams on Spotify.
A strong argument can even be made that some of these artists have found a lot more success in music than many artists booked over the past 10 years for the Tramlines main stage. Some of these up and coming talents used by the event have come from Halifax, Manchester, Liverpool even as far as Scotland and London. This is not to say these artists are not talented enough but why are organisers able to find talent from everywhere in the country for main stages but overlook Sheffield?
After 10 years I don’t think there is any excuse as to why more of our local talent is not used within the main event plans of the festival organisers. Without a doubt, I feel a lot of our talent would add ticket selling value to the event and attract even more locals to attend the festival.
The worry is now, with all the changes such as Tramlines moving the festival away from the town centre over to Hillsborough Park and I reduction in frigine events our artists will have even less involvement with the overall festival than ever. For artists that would only be used by organisers of the fringe events, we may not see some of our local talents at all this year. In addition, it will be interesting to see how well the event does with ticket prices nearly as much as some Wireless tickets which has arguably a much better lineup.
Below, I’ve added a few videos from some of our best artists in Sheffield. If you have a look at the website you will come across a lot more.
So… Why have Tramlines got such a big problem with using urban talent from Sheffield?