Kate Hewett – Booker, The Harley & Tramlines Festival, Sheffield

10% of Sheffield’s population disappear in June because they’re students. We started Tramlines as a reason for people to stay in the city, or visit it and make it easier on independent venues. We didn’t have a background in running festivals, we just had backgrounds in trying to keep our venues afloat.


A really good thing with the Sheffield scene is that it’s small enough that everyone knows everyone and you know what works in what venues so you can programme Tramlines with that in mind. A lot of people in Sheffield feel a lot of ownership over the festival – people are really vocal about what they want. A lot of what Tramlines is and what it looks like is dictated by the city itself – the spaces that are available, the music scenes that already exist and so on.

There is all that rhetoric of the decline of the night time economy. All that that really means is that there are no super clubs run by 50-year-old white men anymore, because that’s not what people want to go to. It means people are finding different ways to enjoy and discover music – the way that we listen to music has completely changed so, naturally, the way we discover artists has too. We don’t have to depend on big, established venues in the way that we once did and it’s a really, really good thing. It makes things a lot more exciting. People are still going out and they’re wanting to go and watch live music; it just might not be for the places you feel nostalgia for. It’s not like there are no more 26-year-olds.


Kate Hewett