Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Last weekend it was Sheftival! A new music and sports event in Sheffield that timed fantastically to coincide with a visit from my uni friend Vicky. A couple of weekends ago it was Tramlines, a free music festival in Sheffield, and I was looking forward to wondering around and discovering new bands. Unfortunately Shakespeares (the pub Chris manages) had lots of music on, and were ridiculously busy so I got hauled in as an extra to help. (Top tip, don't date a Pub Manager. You will end up working there) This time however, the even was held at Don Valley, and Chris even joined us for the Sunday.

Laura Steel
Vicky and I arrived when Sheffield lass Laura Steel was working it on the main stage. we grabbed some chips and cider, and sat down to watch. I have never heard of her before, but she was good! her music was fairly poppy, good for dancing too, but the thing that impressed me most was her stage presence and her boundless energy. She didn't just sing, she performed. She got the crowd involved, chatting to us, building the Sheffield bond. Needless to say we stayed for the rest of her set.

Pocket Satellite
After a little wonder we headed over to the buskers barge. It was one thing I really wanted to go on during Sheftival, and I'm so glad we did. The first act, Pocket Satellite, were fantastic. So fantastic in fact, that I repeatedly praised them to Chris, and yesterday he was on their website checking out their music. It was all acoustic folk sort of music, but quite jiggy while also being laid back and relaxed. Being by no means a music expert, I can't categorise them adeptly, but I did very much enjoy them, and recommend you have a listen. Not only was their music good, they seemed like absolutely lovely people, the girl was giggling away, enjoying the novelty of playing on a barge as we chugged along the canal. They had chemistry, and the intimacy of being on a barge (there was only 70 of us) all combined for a fantastic atmosphere. It was my favourite part of the whole weekend.

After that we explored properly, there was a huge variety of kids spots from tennis to hurdles, from long jump to zorbing, from football to climbing, and so many many more. There was a free screen of the Olympics in Don Valley Stadium, so we passed some time watching the competitors, failing (mostly) to score at basketball, and generally watching kids running around before grabbing some delicious pizza from Pizza Loco, one of the many food stalls there, before heading back to the main stage to watch girl band Stooche as Vicky is a fan of their song, Black Heart.

I must admit, Girl bands aren't really my thing, but Stooshe were good. they were ridiculous bouncy, with seemingly endless energy as they danced and sang away, getting the crowd involved. There were some teenagers near us who were busy singing and dancing away, and we both were bobbing and jigging to the beat before long. We called it a night at Sheftival then and headed to Shakespeares to see some friends before they move to London.
Sunday dawned and we slowly emerged. After a breakfast of crumpets in the garden, the three of us decided to try out the crazy Golf at Centertainment. Inflatable crazy golf had been advertised at Sheftival, but it did not meet expectations. It was very obviously for little children only, with buckets set up as obstacles. As the music didn't start until later, and we had time to kill, Crazy golf was the obvious choice. Chris, with 2 holes in 1, came first. of course, that's only because Vicky and I let him win, obviously, to keep his male ego intact. Vicky and I drew with joint second, not bad, although i got the worst par, 8 goes for 1 hole!

After a bite to eat at Certertainment we headed back to Sheftival, and arrived just as Vida were on stage. Another girl group, they sure could work it. Dancing away, singing, smiling, they looked like they were having a great time on stage, dancing around and singing with their mates, like most girls do! They were surprisingly good, although they would have probably suited a later time slot.
We then had another stroll around the area, having a go at football with Chris in goal, and then egging him on to do long jump (we reckon he did about 3m, not bad, but a long way of the Olympic Champions) and finally timing him to run 400m (1min 27sec)


 After all that exercise we fancied something more sedate, so we returned to the main area and the JuJu club stage to catch the Sheffield Samba Band. Dressed in all in pink they made a very bright appearance on stage, along with a rhythmic beat. Halfway through their set they headed off the stage to get us, the audience, to follow them in a small, slow, swaying sambaing procession, Before a thirsty Vicky and I enjoyed a glass of Rose in a classy festival moment.

Once we'd caught our breath it was time for some more band watching. The Crookes were next up, a popular Indie band from Crookes in Sheffield, hence the name. Their music was fairly good and they were fairly energetic as they played and danced around on stage, but they didn't work the crowd nearly as well as some of the previous bands, and their performance was rather poesy.

Dodgy, a power pop band who had several hits in the 80's, including 'Good Enough', 'Staying out for the Summer' and 'If you're thinking of me' were the next act on stage. I only remember their song, Good Enough, but they were fairly good. There was a bigger crowd, with people dancing (yet again) and soaking up the atmosphere. They also didn't have the same stage presence and encourage the crowd as much as some of the smaller bands did. We concluded that it's probably because they've already made it big, so they don't need to encourage the audience in the same way, as their music is the draw. A small, unheard of band has to try harder because they're on the way up, trying to gain more fans and a larger following.

The Beat disproved my notion however. They were ridiculously energetic, especially as the lead singer, ranking Roger, must be at least in his 40's as his grown up son also took to the stage. They most definitely lived up to their band name, with reggae music blasting out to a beat that got the crown jumping along with them. Near the end of the set they even stripped off their T-shirts and hurled them into the crowd!

Last but not least were the Lightning Seeds, a band Chris was particularly looking forward to seeing perform. They didn't disappoint with their music, but unfortunately it started raining. And kept raining. Worn out from 2 days at Sheftival, feeling a little bit nippy and wet I wasn't in the most appreciative of moods. The atmosphere probably wasn't helped either by people leaving, probably because of the rain. We lasted to the end though, although Vicky and I defected from the Lightning Seeds to the Olympic Stage, to see the men's 100m and Bolt live up to his name before heading to the trams and home again.