The sun shone bright on approximately 20,000 people at Sheftival over the weekend of 4th and 5th August as Sheffield staged its first ever festival of music and sport in celebration of the Olympics.
Thousands of festival goers from across the region turned out to take part in free have-a-go sports activities including tennis, athletics, climbing, crazy golf and basketball, held at the English Institute of Sport – Sheffield (EISS), Don Valley Stadium and in surprising locations dotted around the festival site, including Don Valley Bowl where Tramlines staged a live music festival.
The aim was to introduce new sports to some of the 20,000 visitors and with the help of professional clubs and associations, including Sheffield Eagles rugby league club, British Judo, Sheffield Steelers, Scool Runnings, Hockey Nation, Activity Sheffield and Asda, the expectations of Sheffield International Venues (SIV) were exceeded.
Steve Brailey, CEO of (SIV), said: “Our commitment is to general participation and raising interest in sports and activities. This event was designed to ignite people’s interest and ability, and encourage everyone to have a go and we should be proud of what we achieved in a short space of time.”
An incredible addition to Sheftival’s sports programme came on Saturday 4th August when the Russian Olympics Rhythmic Gymnastics Team opened the doors of their away-from-home training ground, the Motorpoint Arena, where just 2,000 people got the opportunity to watch an exclusive training session.
Thousands of people gathered at the 48 square metre screen in Don Valley Stadium to support Jess Ennis as she won gold in the Women’s Heptathlon. Steve Brailey was amongst the crowd as gold was hung around her neck:-
“The atmosphere was electric. It was one of sheer pride and very emotional. Grown men, women and children sobbed with joy. It was an historic moment to remember. People can say – ‘I was at Don Valley where Jess started her athletics career’. This was the fairy-tale ending to all her hard work.”
Music acts at Sheftival such as the up-and-coming boy band Lawson and X-Factor winner Joe McElderry, attracted thousands to their performances, including huge queues at the Real Radio signing tent. Toots and The Maytals and The Selecter were also crowd favourites. Those lucky enough to board the 50 capacity Busker’s Barge floating stage got the chance to witness intimate performances from unscheduled acts including Dodgy and Sheffield local band, The Crookes.
Festival Director Dave Healy said: “The event was a huge success. The brief was to do something special to celebrate Jess and SIV’s incredible sporting legacy. We tried something out that hasn’t been done before, mixing music and sport and it worked really well.
“We have the basis of an event that works and the feedback from the public and sporting bodies was fantastic – they may well have found the next Jess Ennis in the crowds over the weekend. I would be amazed if we didn’t come back with Sheftival in 2013.”
Steve Brailey added: “Not only did it showcase some fantastic music we have on our doorstep but also the venues we have in Sheffield and firmly put the site on the map for future festivals.”
Watch the magic moments of Sheftival here: