Bluedot has landed at Jodrell Bank and just so happens to be exactly what a festival should be. In what can only be described as alien weather conditions, this sunny three day Manchester festival ticked boxes that I didn’t even know needed ticking. Music, Science, Art, a Real Ale tent and an enormous telescope. What’s not to like.
The first thing worth mentioning about Bluedot is the organisation and set-up. Arrival at peak time on Friday straight after work meant the A roads leading to Jodrell were a little more packed than usual. But 20 mins or so queuing in slow moving traffic is nothing by festival standards and short of building another road I’d say there wasn’t anything more the team could have, or should have been expected to do.
Second thing to mention and the stars of the show for me, is the crowd. Many a parent and child combo, many a person in glitter, many a man in a bespoke sky & cloud suit (OK maybe just the one guy) but still you get the idea. Spacesuits, all in one solar systems and general space based clothing adorned a crown who took to Bluedot as naturally as ape evolved into man. Only they did it in the space of 3 days.
Underworld topped the bill on Friday in a fantastic display and despite a 15min shower managed to make the crowd forget where and when they were. Instantly transported back in time and back to clubs that no longer even exist with Born Slippy taking to the air and reverberating around the crowd in a way only Prof’ Cox himself could explain.
Interaction, immersion and education where also on the bill at BlueDot. Headlining for me was “In the Eyes of the Animal” – a sensory exploration into the world as seen and heard by the animal world. It’s no surprise all the slots where booked out solid and for people who didn’t get to partake here’s a clip.
The iconic Jean Michel Jarre closed on Saturday night to a brilliant crowd, and it must be said, brilliant weather.
Sunday saw Manchester band Everything Everything take to the stage, the crowd of local support mixed with first time E_E novices made for a great set. A particular mention goes to the crew who carried a piano out on stage for one song and back again, back breaking stuff.
Caribou followed on from E_E to headline Sunday evening and what a way to end the festival. The double drumming sound stopped people in their tracks and it was clear to see the amazement on the faces of people who haven’t been to a Caribou set before, myself included.
Bluedot is a brand new three-day festival which opened its doors to 7,000 revellers on Friday 22 July at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire. A weekend of discovery that fused a complex mix of artists, speakers, scientists and performers into an event unlike any on earth.
The eclectic line-up included Jean-Michel Jarre, Caribou, Underworld, Everything Everything, Public Service Broadcasting, Mercury Rev, Steve Mason, Ben UFO, British Sea Power, DJ Yoda, The Infinite Monday Cage with Prof. Brian Cox and Robin Ince as well as an array of talent from across the scientific, literary and arts communities with five distinct arenas featuring space orchestras, talks, screenings, lectures, comedy and debates including Dallas Campbell, Danielle George, Monica Grady, Matt Taylor, Pete Lawrence, Alan Garner, Jez and Andy Williams, Andrew Smith and many more.
There was also a vast spectrum of hands-on activities including the Luminarium, art installations, robot workshops, a planetarium, the Galaxy Garden, pulsar hunting, graphene making classes and much more as well as an extensive programme of family entertainment offering kids’ of all ages the chance to enjoy a variety of specially designed science shows and an array of surprising and interactive workshops.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JODY HARTLEY