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"There's so much potential in Woodseats": Free festival comes to Sheffield suburb this weekend

Inspired by the original Tramlines, two local musicians have brought together Woodseats Live, a free festival spanning nine venues and more than 90 music, comedy and spoken word acts.

Luxury goods
"Unapologetic alt pop" act Luxury Goods is playing an acoustic set at Woodseats Live.

A new multi-venue festival inspired by the original Tramlines is coming to the Sheffield suburb of Woodseats this weekend.

Taking place across nine venues and nine hours this Saturday 4 March, Woodseats Live will feature more than 90 music, comedy and spoken word acts as part of its first ever programme, with all events being free entry.

Organiser Ciaron Elm, a musician and promoter, said the idea for the festival only came to him and co-creator Nye Farley, owner of Sheffield’s renowned music school and guitar company Finale Guitar, in January this year.

“Our big thing is community," Ciaron tells me. "It’s about bringing people together and spreading positivity.

“There's so much potential in Woodseats – it’s like a pocket community.”

The organisers say they have been pleasantly surprised by the influx of local businesses, musicians and performers who have joined the programme in such a short space of time.

The Big Tree pub and Bulldog Value Bar on Chesterfield Road are two of the more conventional venues on the trail. More intimate settings will include the coffee shop Chantrey Press and the shoe shop Glistening Kicks.

An interactive map has been created so that local festival goers can plot their way around the Woodseats venues.

Woodseats live map
Woodseats Live

Ciaron has organised similar local festivals in Heeley and is also looking to run one on Ecclesall Road. His hope is that, in the coming years, they can run on the same day to form something "huge" in the south west side of Sheffield.

“I just think it's a fantastic thing to do because it’s business for the local venues, it's something to do for the local community and it’s a platform for local musicians.

“It’s also really cheap advertising for local businesses, because we're looking into local sponsors and the kind of platform these will grow. We want to partner up with local brands.”

Despite Ciaron’s extensive experience working on events and festivals across Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol and London, he says that setting up Woodseats Live in the space of two months is "definitely one of the most ambitious things" he's ever taken on.

He tells me that the original formation of Tramlines Festival provided some inspiration for the venture.

“We’re looking to build a legacy for Sheffield and we’re trying to recapture and re-create that wonderful community spirit that the original Tramlines format brought to the city, before it grew into what it is now.”

Although he recognises its impact on the city, Ciaron thinks the larger festival format of today's Tramlines doesn’t make music accessible.

“Accessibility is a big thing for us. It needs to be accessible and it needs to be for everybody.”

With the success rate of Woodseats Live so far and the hopes of substantial growth for the local festival, Ciaron is also dreaming big.

“It would be a dream of getting the Arctic Monkeys to do a set in The Boston Arms. Can you imagine?

“It’s all pie in the sky stuff, but you’ve got to dream.”

Learn more

The Woodseats Live Facebook page is the best place to keep up to speed on venues, acts and timings.

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