Outlines Festival Sheffield, the first of its kind and sister festival to Tramlines, looks set to become the Sheffield version of The Great Escape.
The first ever Outlines Festival brought an illustrious selection of well-hyped new bands to venues across Sheffield for a day of live music showcases, complimented by a scattering of established acts and the novel concept of a roller disco.
The debut of the event – from the team behind Tramlines, which takes place in the steel city in July – was a success in exhibiting exciting talent, and has the potential to grow into the north’s answer to the taste-making brilliance of Brighton’s Great Escape.
Sprawled across a selection of small venues, including a social club (Queens), a foodie pub (The Harley), and a skate venue (Skate Central), there was plenty of choice – although the distances between most of them made it tricky to get around without a car or taxis.
Yet most of the venues, it must be said, were rarely busy; some were positively quiet, and only six people saw smiley art-popsters Joy Atlas open the event at 4pm in the O2 Academy.
Plug wound up being the liveliest location, providing the day with its only truly raucous crowds for well-received acts including headliner Roots Manuva and future hip-hop star Loyle Carner. This arguably made Plug the main stage, although it wasn’t billed as such, and the patchy turn-outs on the day could be a result of a lack of star names to play aside from the undeniable volume of new talent.
Loyle Carner/Katy Blackwood
The stand-out hidden gem at Outlines Festival Sheffield was Pumarosa, who wowed on the Academy stage, while Kagoule, PINS and singer-songwriter Rosie Lowe also proved worth the hype on a day where few will have failed to discover a new favourite band.
Spring King were also their usual energetic selves ahead of what is likely to be a huge year for them, and NZCA/Lines closed the show in style with a delicious electro-pop set at The Harley.
The skate element of Skate Central was never packed, and the line-up there was hit by the withdrawal of its star attraction – The Big Moon – on the eve of the event through illness. (The announcement said they’ll be back in Sheffield soon, possibly teasing a spot at Tramlines in the summer.)
But the music on that stage was brilliantly curated, with a triumphant bill highlighted by the femme pop of ESTRONS, and its location allowed fans to dip in and out of the Queens stage over the road as well.
Elsewhere, music videos and short movies were screened, and ticket-holders received discounts on food at a number of Sheffield eateries, before several after-parties allowed the keenest attendees to continue as late as four in the morning.
Outlines Festival Sheffield could grow into one of the north’s essential annual music events, as a competitor to Live at Leeds, and as a place for music aficionados to discover great new bands and get a festival kick early in the year. To achieve that, it might benefit from the addition of some star talent, but for a debut event – and for the opportunity to see such a profound number of new talents in one city on the same day – it was a success.
Keep eyes peeled for our Photoblog – coming soon.
Original article: REVIEW: Outlines Festival Sheffield 2016 | 27 February.