Sheffield & South Yorkshire

£1.2m Sheffield Tramlines takeover bid revealed

Tramlines Festival
Image caption Tramlines began in 2009 and last year attracted more than 100,000 people

A crowd-funding bid to buy Sheffield's Tramlines festival for £1.2m has been launched.

Music City Foundation, which is behind the proposed buyout, said it wanted to "buy back the festival for the people".

It said it had been given until mid-June to raise the money, and then the proposal would go before the Tramlines board.

Festival director Sarah Nulty said the board had "agreed in principle to the offer" subject to shareholder approval.

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The event began in 2009 and last year attracted more than 100,000 people.

Acts appearing over the years have included Olly Murs, Heaven 17, Public Enemy, The Charlatans and Echo and the Bunnymen. Performers this year include Toots and the Maytals, The Libertines, Primal Scream and All Saints.

Winston Hazel, director of the not-for-profit Music City Foundation (MCF), said it hoped to take over the running of the festival in 2018.

He said he was concerned that if the festival were to be sold to a private investor, it could be relocated out of the city centre.

"We want to ensure that Tramlines continues to support our vibrant culture while also contributing to the city's economic success," he said.

The group is asking people to buy shares packages for between £200 and £10,000.

Board make-up

Ms Nulty said: "The Tramlines board agreed in principle to the offer made by the Music City Foundation, although it was very clear throughout discussions that Tramlines was not for sale.

"The board is not made up of all shareholders and so any proposal will need to be agreed by them if a bid was to be successful."

She said she was disappointed that MCF had released details of "a possible sale of this magnitude" without consulting shareholders.

She added: "There are no changes to the 2017 event and we're all very excited to deliver yet another fantastic festival, with our biggest line-up yet."

Tramlines was named Best UK Metropolitan Festival at the 2011 UK Festival Awards.

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