Bluedot Festival 2018: Review

I've been fortunate enough to attend every Bluedot Festival and this year they really stepped it up.

By Lee Isherwood | 30 July 2018

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I’ve made no secret of the fact Bluedot Festival is one of my favourites and year on year I enjoy the afternoon strolls around Jodrell Bank soaking up the science, sitting through the comedy and propping up the real ale tent. This years inclusion of Chemical Brothers as Sunday headliner added an interesting dynamic to the 2018 festival that I’ll come back to later on.

The festival kicked off this year with an epic piece of work, a fantastic live scored version Blue Planet with the Halle drew the lucky crowds that were in for the entire festival and didn’t want to miss a thing. Friday saw the Flaming Lips take main stage as the headliner for what has to be the most visually spectacular event of the Festival – riding a 7ft pink unicorn you say? The crowd were treated to a fantastic set and the Festival had official landed!

Afternoons and early evening at Bluedot sees once of my favourite conundrums come to life, so much choice, what do I eat? A friend of mine photographing the festival summed it up really with this statement “The food offering is fantastic, it’s not just a guy asking if you want your bland food with orange sauce or yellow sauce” The queue for wood fired pizza is always going to be quite long but 90 seconds a pop and 12 people in front of you, just do the maths, you’ll be fine. One guy pointed out to his friend the time it would take for one of these pizzas to cook on the planet Venus, welcome to Bluedot folks, gotta love it. I went for a Burrito one day, a chicken kebab (bloody good) on another but the constant for me, something that doesn’t change year on year – 6 Churros and chocolate sauce, every day.

One thing to watch out for on the Friday and deserves special mention was the Parade – see picture above, some great photos of this one coming out of the weekend.

Saturday evening personally I was focused on 1 thing, Gary Numan. Whilst nearly everybody there was just willing him to do a 1 hour rendition of cars he did a great job of interspersing the various stages of his work including quite a bit of his new stuff – insert Joshua Tree montage. Future Islands gave a great show and the family orientated crowd had a sang along with the positive energy reverberating around Jodrell Bank, this is Bluedot at its family friendly finest.

Sunday we arrived a little later in the afternoon and the landscape really had changed. The car park had doubled in size and the queue to the pizzas had tripled in length, the reason for this was clear to see – Chemical Brothers are on-site. This brought around a really interesting dynamic I hadn’t felt before at Bluedot. You had groups of guys clearly intent on having a few drinks and living it up to what transpired to be a fantastic set, at the same time you had dads with their daughters on their shoulders. For me the mix was ok, I’m a neutral in both fields – but the blankets laid out with inflatable chairs on them were bound to get stood on by the hoards of people keen to see the main act – role on small pockets of conflict of interest.

Ultimately everyone seemed to get through it and have a great time, a balance was struck with some smiles, apologies and general doing the best you can to meet half way – Bluedot is a brilliant festival and the Chemical Brothers absolutely owned it, the set was flawless the visuals were next level and of course there would be 15ft robots shooting lasers out of their eyes.

We loved Bluedot 2018 and can’t wait for 2019 – info here!