Bluedot is not your typical music festival. Taking place at Jodrell Bank Observatory, Bluedot festival presents a quality line-up of music along side science talks, ranging from sustainability and climate change to space exploration, panel discussions, and immersive theatre. All of this is set against the backdrop of the iconic Lovell Telescope, a familiar feature of the Cheshire landscape and a symbol of human initiative and discovery.
This is a festival with a mission statement. It aims to do more than just entertain. It aims to engage and inspire, to celebrate the different corners of human progress, to bring these corners together and drive towards a greater awareness of the shared stake that we all have in developing a sustainable future. This is highlighted by the diversity of what the festival offers, as well as in it’s commitment to minimising the environmental impact of offering it. This includes opting to sell water only in recyclable cans, offering charity tent collections and pledging that 0% of the waste produced at the festival will end up in a landfill. This is a festival that cares.
Providing a soundtrack to this ethos of sustainability and inspiration is the line-up of stand-out artists across the weekend:
The Chemical Brothers
There won’t be a single person who is going to Bluedot this year who hasn’t heard of The Chemical Brothers. Known the world over for their incredibly vivid blend of audio and visual, Bluedot will be UK fans’ first opportunity to experience the duo’s new live show.
The Blue Planet in Concert with The Hallé
In the UK, we are blessed with the BBC and some of the fantastic science and nature documentaries that they produce. This is perhaps best highlighted by the absolutely stunning Blue Planet, presented by the national treasure that is David Attenborough. Those early birds who decide to turn up to the festival on the Thursday will be treated to the spectacle of scenes from the original 2001 documentary backed by the The Hallé Orchestra.
Public Service Broadcasting
Public Service Broadcasting are no strangers to the observatory and its telescope. When they released their 2015 album, The Race for Space, the band got the opportunity to shoot the telescope for the video of their single Sputnik. This year’s Bluedot sees them return to the observatory with the intense mix of narrative-laden art rock.
Bursting onto the scene in the late 70’s with three UK chart-topping albums in quick succession, Gary Numan helped to lay the foundation for much of the synth-based music that was to come. Continuously evolving, the airy synth-rock that won him this early acclaim has since given way to a darker, more industrial sound as found on his most recent release – Savage: Songs From a Broken World. The theme of this new album centres around a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by the effects of global warming and the poor decisions of humanity, fitting perfectly with the festival’s drive towards a more sustainable future.
AK/DK are two guys, a whole bunch of synths and loops, and a couple of drum kits. Equipped with their host of knobs and switches, drums and cymbals, the Brighton duo will take on a journey off into outer space with their brand of synth rock. Drawing on a discography that comprises of two full length albums and numerous EPs, the band range from spaciest of spacey rock that will have you entranced to the ridiculously high-energy that will have you bouncing up and down like a child.
Hookworms have been a sleeping giant amongst the Leeds music scene for years now, and with their third studio album, Microshift, they’ve launched into exciting new plains. The glorious, electronic-psychedelic album has been heralded as ‘an instant classic’ (The Times) and ‘a triumph’ (The Guardian), so there’s no excuse not see see these rising Leeds legends.
This years Bluedot welcomes the brand new Roots Stage, which will host a plethora of inspiring music; from a celebration of the finest South-Asian music on the Friday, to some of the most exciting names in modern jazz and soul on the Saturday, to Afro-Caribbean grooves on the Sunday, this stage will provide a truly special experience. Particularly unmissable sets will come from Electronic Empires, who will be playing their second ever set on Friday after their first show sold out at Manchester’s Band On The Wall, and a performance from one of the finest Kora masters in the world, Jali Nyonkoling Kuyateh on the Sunday.
Full weekend camping tickets are still available and start from just £169, with entry for under 5’s free.
Day Tickets available from £59.75. Thursday-only tickets, for Blue Planet In Concert with The Halle are available from £29.
Words by Keiran Suchak