The Tramlines Fringe: Yellow Arch gears up with jazz & reggae vibes
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last month, you’ll know that the Tramlines weekend is nearly upon us. Alongside the main festival, Friday 20 – Sunday 22 July will see Sheffield’s venues, parks and street bursting with an eclectic range of music to form the much-loved Tramlines Fringe.
Yellow Arch – one of the city’s most iconic live music spaces – has outdone itself this year with its own Tramlines Fringe Weekend: a two-night extravaganza of incredible sound. Friday’s event will showcase some of the most exciting reggae artists from Sheffield and beyond, while Saturday will take on a more jazz-fusion feel. With live musicians joined by a stellar collection of DJs, MCs and sound systems, this is one weekend you won’t want to miss.
In the run-up, we chatted to Yellow Arch’s very own Spencer Edwins to find out how the weekend will go down.
Yellow Arch’s line-up for Tramlines weekend is looking great. How did you go about deciding which artists to approach?
Thanks! We’re very happy with how both nights have come together. As Tramlines weekend is without a doubt Sheffield’s finest weekend of music, we wanted to go all out on our line-ups. This time we actually did things backwards – selecting (in our opinion) the hottest local acts and from that finding headliners and support that would complement them perfectly. We’re all about supporting the local music scene!
Is there anyone on the line-up who you’re particularly proud to showcase?
Honestly, we’re proud of every act on the lineup. A few we must mention –
Solar Love Society, a new band on the Sheffield scene made up of members from Steel City Rhythm and Hot Diamond Aces. This will be their first live gig and we’ve got very high expectations (no pressure guys!)
Mighty Oak Sound System, coming all the way from Edinburgh with their huge sound system. It’s their first time in Sheffield and we’re honoured that it’s here at Yellow Arch.
Ishmael Ensemble, who are pushing the boundaries within the jazz scene right now!
Finally, Mr Bongo, who are without a doubt one of our favourite record labels. The music they release and play perfectly reflects the eclectic and open-minded approach we take here.
Across both nights, you’ve invited top DJs, MCs and sound systems along with the live bands. How did you balance these groups, and how do they complement each other?
Being advocates of live music, we make sure that our ‘club nights’ have a healthy balance. Having two large rooms running all night, we felt it made sense to have one room focused on live music and the other focused on DJs, which complement each other through the styles of music being played.
How do you think these artists show off Yellow Arch as a venue?
As mentioned before, we’re huge advocates of live music here. Having so many outstanding bands playing over the weekend, I feel, really shows off what Yellow Arch is capable of as a venue. We’re confident that the line-up we’ve put together will create the “Yellow Arch vibe” everyone has grown to love.
Can you pinpoint any of the artists you think are set for big things in the near future?
We have high hopes for Flok, who have been practicing at Yellow Arch over the past 6 months or so. Hearing how their sound has developed recently and the direction they are heading, we can see them going far.
The two nights have distinctive tones, with more reggae sounds on Friday and jazz fusion on Saturday. Why did you choose this contrast, and how do the two nights fit together?
The last thing we wanted was for the two nights to mirror each other. There was no question that one of nights would revolve around reggae, as out of everything we do, we feel that’s what we’re known best for. The Saturday night was much more of an open book; with the huge jazz-resurgence that is being championed by the UK/London, we felt like that had to be represented over Tramlines weekend. That scene (in our opinion) is one of, if not the most exciting music happening right now and we hope this will translate into some serious vibes!
How do the sets at Yellow Arch fit into the wider picture of the festival this year?
The Sheffield music scene is very much a family affair. With our friends over at Tuesday Club, TNK, The Harley etc. covering all aspects of ‘dance’ with their after parties, we wanted to widen what was on offer, rather than just replicate what others were planning. The beauty of Tramlines is the fact that there is something for everyone and the way venues and promoters have worked together to create such a diverse choice is a thing of beauty.
Why do you think Tramlines is important for Sheffield?
There’s a lot I could say on this, as Tramlines is very important for our city. Overall, it’s given us an opportunity to create something truly unique that showcases the amazing music scene we have. The city comes to life for the weekend and seeing that many people enjoying themselves through a shared love of music is really special.
What do you think the Fringe element adds to the main festival?
With the recent developments of Tramlines moving to Hillsborough park, the Fringe gives independent venues and promoters an opportunity to shine a light on the underground scene. Without the Fringe, Tramlines would just be another festival.
What’s the most exciting part of setting up the Yellow Arch weekend?
Tramlines weekend is something we always look forward to at Yellow Arch. The whole process from building the line up to setting up and decorating the venue is exciting for the team at Yellow Arch. Being part of something that creates such a buzz across the city is something we are very fond of. But the most exciting part has to be opening the door at the beginning of the night and seeing what unfolds from there onwards.
Tickets are available for both the individual nights and the entire weekend. Get yours from Party For The People.