10 things I learnt at TramlinesTEN

I recently had one of the best weekends of my life at Tramlines festival in Sheffield.

A heady combination of my best friend, our favourite band, near wall-to-wall sunshine and the best potato wedges ON THE PLANET  (seriously, they were incredible), not to mention opportunity to rock up to work with a wristband on like the 17-year-old I still am, came together to create some seriously magical memories. We sang, we danced, we laughed, we put glitter on our faces. Oh, and we met Mr Motivator.

If you’re looking for a fun, friendly, fuss-free festival weekend I would definitely recommend checking Tramlines out. I’d never heard of it before S suggested getting tickets, but this was actually its tenth year, although its first in Hillsborough Park. It usually takes place in venues all over the city, encouraging fans to use public transport to get between them, hence the name.

We saw some HUGE names, including headliners Stereophonics, Noel Gallagher and Craig David – and did I mention it was an absolute bargain?! I paid £79 for the weekend. For comparison, Isle of Wight (my former favourite festival) is £140. A tiered ticket-release system means the earlier you get them, the more bargainous they are. One girl I met paid £35 for hers!!

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We’ve already bought ours for next year (£47!!), but if you still need convincing, here are 10 things I learnt at TramlinesTEN:

1. Seeing Stereophonics is different outside Wales.

I’ve seen them five times (twice this year! #bigfan) but always in Cardiff. R’s seen them in Manchester and warned me their English gigs have a different vibe, and he was right! Obviously, they were still absobloodylutely brilliant, but the crowd was different. People went nuts for different songs (Have a Nice Day; Handbags and Gladrags). We seemed to be the only ones who knew the words to A Thousand Trees – a Cardiff crowd would have been deafening!

It was great to see so many young people there (alas, I am definitely no longer “young people”), but it made me realise they see Stereophonics as “an old band”, like I see Ocean Colour Scene or Supergrass or any of those era, whereas in Wales they are still massively current. Interesting!

Kelly still rocked it. Obvs.

2. I have a crush on Noel Gallagher.

SERIOUSLY. This one snuck up on me. I love Oasis and I love High Flying Birds (dancing with R to Holy Mountain is one of my favourite memories of our wedding), but we were really there for Kelly Jones Stereophonics. But he walked out on stage and something just HIT ME. I turned to S and was like, “That’s Noel Gallagher! NOEL GALLAGHER! He’s right there!!”. We were truly in the presence of British rock and roll history and… I definitely fancy him a bit. Ha!

Tram 8

He was just incredible – understated but self-assured, irreverent but not cocky, note-perfect but not bored of the songs, and every inch the rock star.

3. … And it’s worth waiting 29 years to hear 30,000 people sing “Soooo, Sally can wait”.

I have wanted to see Oasis for YEARS and was heartbroken when they split. I know, I know – they’re obviously going to get back together one of these days, but you can guarantee comeback tickets will sell out faster than you can say “mad fer it”.

I assumed they each want to focus on their own solo stuff these days, with maybe an Oasis track or two thrown in as an encore – BUT NO! Good lord. Little by Little, Half The World Away, Free, Don’t Look Back in Anger, and of course Wonderwall – the classics came thick and fast and hearing them live (“HE’S RIGHT THERE SIAN!”) was something quite emotional, and truly special.

Tram 7

4. Mr Motivator is 65 years old!

SIXTY. FIVE. YEARS. OLD.

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He did an actual aerobics class to open the festival on the Sunday and it was SO MUCH FUN! We may have been riding relatively solo (at the very front, obvs) to begin with but as it went on more and more people joined in til there was a whole field of us bouncing, waving, boogieing and cheering. He was so joyful and silly and fun… so motivating! He was uplifting without being cheesey (well, maybe a bit cheesey, but who doesn’t love cheese?!) and got the whole field buzzing. We all had the biggest smiles on our faces (and a genuine sweat on) by the end.

5. … And on Twitter.

This happened on Monday. LIFE. MADE.

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6. And MRS Motivator is as fabulous as you would hope for.

He introduced her as the reason he has so much joy in his life every day. Sob!

7. I am both old AND young.

S and I are both 30 this year. We very much enjoyed sizing up “what the kids are wearing these days”, which from what we could see mostly consists of bumbags, sportswear, bucket hats and above all, copious amounts of glitter (sprinkled on cheekbones / temples, occasionally bejewelled stickers across their chests – all we could think was, how do they get it off!?). It’s basically the 90s all over again.

This is my first experience of fashion trends coming back around and it made me feel oooooold. I didn’t think it was that long since the 90s, but I am literally double the age of the average 15 year old, and S teaches kids who were born in 2011 – whaaaaat?!

That being said… over the course of the 48 hours I got ID’d FOUR times. Four!

29 years old, guys. 29.

8. I am more southern than even I realised.

On the Saturday we saw the Everly Pregnant Brothers – up there with the best band name I’ve ever heard, and hilarious to boot. They did “northern” parodies of songs like This Sex Is On Fire (This Chip Pan’s On Fire) and No Woman No Cry (No Oven No Pie). Look them up on Youtube; they’re great fun (though will definitely ruin some songs for you!).

They are clearly A Thing in Sheffield and the crowd were obviously loving their biggest gig to date – but I have never felt so completely out of place! Their homage to Amy Winehouse’s Rehab went, “They tried to make me go to Donny and I said no, no, no”, and I had to ask where on earth they were singing about. And during their song dedicated to “Hendos” – some kind of relish!? Like Worcester sauce but not? Yep, not a clue – I went to the bar!

9. Festivals don’t need camping.

I hate camping. No – rephrase that – what I hate is sleeping in a tent. Two of my priorities in life are getting a good night’s sleep and being able to wash my hair in the morning. I don’t mind the great outdoors, I’d just like a roof, please. But joy of joys… there’s no camping at Tramlines.

I’ve never understood people that pay through the nose for festival tickets just to spend it drinking cans in the campsite. Mate, if you want to get pissed in a field with your mates… pay a tenner and go to the New Forest! I’ve been to festivals where you spend hours slugging back and forth between your tent and the action. You can be faced with miles to walk between stages to catch the bands you want. Nobody gets any sleep and you feel like you’ve been run over by the time you get home. (That being said, the post-camping shower feeling is surely up there with life’s greatest pleasures).

We could walk to and from the park and the organisers actively encourage festival-goers to use public transport. Despite what you might think, it definitely didn’t detract from the atmosphere. We walked home each night alongside hundreds of others, a river of glitter-coasted Oasis fans singing and dancing their way to tram and bus stations (or the pub).

10. Everyone should spend a weekend dancing in a field with their best friend once in their life.

Once a year, ideally.

See you in July, Tramlines.

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