Return of Sheffield Music Trails announced in lifeline to local venues

Written by Megan Thomas

A free music festival is returning to Sheffield after last year’s originally one-off event was a “massive success” in helping independent music venues recover from Covid.

Sheffield Music Trails is a day of free live music in a walkable trail across 19 venues on 2 April.

The event is organised by The Leadmill with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and Sheffield City Council.

Ben Hartley, live promoter at The Leadmill, said: “It’s a wonderful advertisement that we’re all back in business. Customer confidence is definitely returning and with the event being free entry it’s the perfect excuse for music lovers to get out and visit these venues.”

Additional footage from The Leadmill of 2021 Sheffield Music Trails

Ben said: “This whole project started out because we’ve been given so much support from both the council and customers that had visited our venue over the last 4 decades, and put us in a strong position to be able to extend a hand to other excellent venues in the city.”

Independent music venue and bar Sidney&Matilda, like many, struggled during the pandemic with closures and ‘lockdowns by stealth’, when people were warned against going to crowded places such as bars and nightclubs.

Ollie Parker, Events and Bookings Manager at Sidney&Matilda, said of last year’s event: “It was a massive success, we had around 200 people and the bar filled up.”

He said the event encouraged more people to check out new venues and participate in Sheffield’s grassroots music scene.

A year on, the impact of the Omicron variant in December has put further pressure on venues, as customers were wary to head out during what would normally be a busy period.

He said: “Because the pandemic was a real struggle for music venues, just having an event where all the venues are working together is a way of being united against the adversity the industry has experienced.”

The funding comes in part from the £1 million funding allocated from Additional Restrictions Grants from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA).

Kate Brindley, Project Director for Arts, Culture & Heritage for SYMCA, said: “Music is a huge part of Sheffield cultural makeup, with a proud and storied history of producing some of the country’s most loved musical talent.

“South Yorkshire’s MCA is passionate about supporting arts, culture and heritage, and aiding it’s recovery from the pandemic as one of the hardest hit sectors.”

Written by Megan Thomas

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