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  • Sahar Ghadirian

Float Along Festival Showcases the Best in New Music, with Sheffield as the Perfect Backdrop

What better way to bring people to Sheffield than through music? The new inner city, multi-venue music festival Float Along did just that with its first event on the 24th of September. Attendees gathered early to indulge in some of the best artists in indie, psych-rock, alternative, and new music that the country has to offer.

Organised by the leading independent promoters, Strange Days, the festival had community at its focus, bringing Sheffield and the surrounding areas together for a day of eclectic music in support of local businesses and grassroots venues. In a similar way to the Fringe at Tramlines, Float Along is on the periphery, encompassing the best of the city as we unite through music, delicious food, and great company.

Steve Lamacq

Taking Sidney & Matilda’s Yard Stage, BBC Radio 6 DJ Steve Lamacq recalled tales of his youth, from working as a journalist at the NME, setting up a record label at the height of Britpop, and hosting shows on BBC Radio. The talk was a delight for music lovers as the festival drew into the late afternoon. Some standouts from Lamacq’s candid reflections included an early interview with Nirvana in London, signing Elastica to his record label Deceptive Records, watching and meeting Idles for the first time, and one of his most memorable career moments: the infamous Oasis interview. As we heard snippets of the 1997 Evening Session interview that sparked national outrage, listeners couldn’t help but be in awe of the emotions Lammo experienced when hosting Noel and Liam on his show, live on national radio.

Steve Lamacq’s “in conversation” event was an hour filled with warmth and laughter as we reflected on the first records we ever bought or fell in love with. We recommend reading his autobiography, titled Going Deaf for a Living, for a slice of the musical encounters, influences, and history that birthed his career.

Strawberry Guy

Offering listeners the comfort of wistful nostalgia, the Welsh-born, Liverpool-based artist Strawberry Guy encompassed the floaty psych pop I expected to hear at Float Along Festival. After a short (but brisk) walk from Sidney & Matilda to the Leadmill, I entered the small room and Strawberry Guy’s intimate set. Full of romanticism, detail, and sweet symphonies, the singer played the beautiful “Company.” Strawberry Guy’s conversational vocals and dazzling hi-fi soundscapes were a focal point as he continued with “Birch Tree” and “F Song.”

If you haven’t already heard the enchanting sounds of Strawberry Guy, have a moment to yourself today and take a listen.

Favourite track: Mrs Magic


A mix between nostalgic rock and psychedelic pop, Brighton band Fur are both refreshing to watch and listen to. Having only recently headlined the Leadmill’s Steel Stage, the quartet transport you back to a decade you (and them) have probably never experienced, and yet, they do it so well. Tracks such as “Not Enough” and “She's The Warmest Colour In My Mind” are heavenly, and despite seeming pure retro, they don’t feel the slightest bit contrived. The powerful “Anyone Else But Me” is a fan favourite. Taking feelings of comparison and self-deprecation, the group flip it into an anthem that gets everyone dancing (and we recommend doing just that!).

Favourite track: If You Know That I'm Lonely

Fur / Photography by Sahar Ghadirian

Fur / Photography by Sahar Ghadirian

Katy J Pearson

As the festival moved into the evening, the Bristolian star Katy J Pearson graced the Leadmill main stage, starting with “Take Back The Radio.” Pearson’s country-esque vocals are always prominent in her live performances, especially on the second track of the night, “Beautiful Soul,” taken from her debut album. Katy J Pearson’s storytelling blurs the lines between the contemporary and old-fashioned in the most gentle way, as she mesmerises the crowd like no other. Three standouts of the set were “Howl,” “Tonight,” and “Float.”

Favourite track: Beautiful Soul

Katy J Pearson / Photography by Sahar Ghadirian

The Magic Gang

Dance and sing your teenage heart out with The Magic Gang! The Brighton four-piece are no strangers to the Leadmill. Having played the Steel Stage and main room several times, the band never fail to bring excitement to their live shows. A set that had people moving from their joyful opener “Think,” into classics like “Alright” and “Jasmine,” The Magic Gang will forever be firm indie favourites.

Favourite track: How Can I Compete

The Magic Gang / Photography by Sahar Ghadirian

The Magic Gang / Photography by Sahar Ghadirian

Everything Everything

After not listening to Everything Everything in what feels like years, seeing them play to a busy Leadmill was pretty amazing. The band opened up with the glitchy “Teletype” from their sixth studio record, Raw Data Feel. Everything Everything’s new music and live performances have retained the innovative and unique spark that first lured in a swathe of fans over a decade ago. Standout tracks in the set included “Jennifer,” “Distant Past,” and “Cough Cough.”

Favourite track: Kemosabe


Float Along connected people to the Heart of the City through some of the best in new music, a highlight being the Manchester alternative dance and rave pop group, Porij. Playing tracks such as “150,” “Nobody Scared,” and “Lose Our Minds,” the basement of Sidney & Matilda quickly began to fill up. An electronic treat to close the festival, the carefree and futuristic dance sounds of Porij made it impossible for the crowd to stand still. While the group have been around for a few years, they are firmly on the ones-to-watch list.

Favourite track: 150

Porij / Photography by Sahar Ghadirian

The first Float Along Festival proved a success, giving a new lease of life to some of Sheffield’s older music venues, such as Network (formerly Plug) and Record Junkee. The event also showcased the importance of more recent openings in Sheffield, like Sidney & Matilda. The Yard Stage located on the ground floor of the venue was the perfect room, nestled away from the bustle of the main events, and a great background for more intimate moments in the festival. Float Along cements Sheffield’s status as a city of music, with its much-loved independent venues and rich history. The Steel City is a hotbed for alternative music, and events such as Float Along Festival can bring this sentiment home for local and aspiring artists.


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