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  • Matt Codd

Rock N Roll Circus Stakes Its Claim For Sheffield’s Main Event of 2024

There is one surefire way to win the hearts of Sheffielders as newcomer.

Highlight just how good the things we produce are. For centuries, the steel city was known for just that... Steel. This city of ours was built on it and it will always be in our DNA, and it was renowned for good reason. It is everywhere. Go to New York and you’ll see steel from Sheffield in the Brooklyn Bridge, go to London and you’ll see the hands of Big Ben, restored in our own back garden.

In recent years of course, Sheffield has become so much more than just the steel city, but the quality of the product remains the same. Henderson’s Relish, Original Theatre, Sean Bean, Joe Root, Jamie Vardy... The list is endless. 

There is of course a glaring omission here, for good reason, that we’ll address now. The music. Sheffield isn’t as loud as our neighbours across the peaks, we don’t like to shout too loud about how fantastic our artists are, we let others do that for us.

Rock N Roll Circus is looking to tap into that this summer by putting together a festival lineup that showcases loud and proud the breadth and depth of talent hailing from our sweet city, and offering a home for the weekend for some of the biggest acts across the country. We are a city of sanctuary after all.

The Circus is still a relative newcomer to the UK Festival scene, kicking off in Newcastle in 2022 and migrating to Sheffield for it’s sophomore edition. The festival seems to have found a home, at least temporarily, on Don Valley Bowl and we couldn’t be more happy to have it here, especially after the jaw-dropping success of last year’s event. In 2023, the festival married one of the biggest acts in the country in Noel Gallagher, with hometown favourites and bona fide Sheffield icons in Self Esteem and Gatecrasher.

For 2024, Rock N Roll Circus is returning to this well, but going even bigger this time. The non-Sheffield headline slot for this year is taken by one of the most exciting popstars around in Becky Hill on the Friday.  She will be ably supported by up and coming pop acts galore with the likes of Cian Ducrot, Joel Corry and Talia Mar to name a few.

Richard Hawley, courtesy of Rock N Roll Circus

The day before (yes, the festival is kicking off on a Thursday) is the legendary singer-songwriter Richard Hawley. You can be assured that the acclaimed, Olivier Award winning Sheffielder will kick off the festival in his supreme style, with a back catalogue of 3 decades of hits to grace the big top tent with, it’s going to be a special end to the first day. On the Thursday, Hawley will be joined by special guests The Divine Comedy and britpop legends The Coral, alongside iconic Irish singer-songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan.

Completing the Sheffield sandwich in the Saturday headline slot, we have huge huge news. Indie rock trailblazers within the city, Milburn will be closing the day’s proceedings in what is guaranteed to be a monumental moment, a moment that any Sheffield music fan worth their salt cannot miss. Their last gig at Don Valley has gone down in Sheffield music folklore and this one has all the markings of something even bigger and better. Joining the boys on the Saturday are some standout names: neither Jake Bugg nor Peter Doherty would look out of place as the headliner of almost any festival, but don’t sleep on The Rifles or The K's either for this one, both with their own sets of emphatic indie to deliver.

Milburn, courtesy of Rock N Roll Circus

An announcement today (18th March) has further cemented the festival as a newfound hub for local talent, with the circus adding over 20 Yorkshire based bands to it's bill for this year, across what will now be three stages, and with a mix of newer and older artists within that to boot. Up and coming talent comes in the form of Harriet Rose, City Parking, Cruz, The Rosadocs and the recently featured in Sheffield Magazine, Malah Palinka, to unfairly single out and name just a few. When looking for more seasoned local acts, you'll find Reverend and the Makers' own Ed Cosens and Bromheads Jacket - who are reforming after a hiatus!

But while the artists and music might have changed from last year, the level of entertainment certainly hasn’t. While most outdoor festivals fall down somewhat when trekking from one stage to another with nothing else to capture your eye, RnR Circus offers plenty of entertainment to make that walk much less of a chore. Stiltswalkers, Fire eaters and all variety of circus acts will be there to dazzle and astound in between the equally dazzling and astounding musical acts.

This year's event will feature some of the finest aerialists, jugglers and fire performers on the planet. This includes the aerialist, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, the juggling sensation that is Farqward Presto will also be at Don Valley this summer as well as Gem Vaudeville, The Fire Queen.

City Parking, courtesy of Rock N Roll Circus

With more news continuing to roll up to come to accompany this exhilirating lineup, keep it posted here or to Rock N Roll Circus' website and socials. Tickets are still available for this high-flying extravaganza, you can grab yours here while you can as we stand poised for a historic weekend in the Steel City.


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