Perfect for families, this year’s Bluedot festival will be blasting off at Cheshire’s Jodrell Bank Observatory on 19th July. To say the kids can’t wait is in understatement. With a special ‘Family encounters’ programme alongside the ever so excellent musical lineup, this mind-expandingly unique festival is relaxed and also very very cool. What’s not to like?
If 2017’s Bluedot headliners Pixies (who played through a rainy Friday evening to a doting crowd for whom the raindrops just made it all the better) and Chemical Brothers were a lineup to die for, they are superbly followed this year by Flaming Lips, Future Islands and The Orb supported by too many ‘ooooh’ names to mention (although we do want to say Gary Numan, pioneering electronica from The Radiophonic Workshop, Little Dragon and Nadine Shah). It’s a list that will have the Manchester urbanites who flood to this Cheshire location in their droves foaming at the mouths – thrilling both young and old music lovers alike.
The main stage at Bluedot is dominated by the breathtaking Lovell Telescope, and the festival really pays tribute to that in its super creative programming. After all, where else would Robin Ince and The Flaming Lips be on the same bill? BBC2’s star astronaut Suzie Imber sharing tales of her space odyssey before Future Islands or Gary Numan take over the main stage? Not to mention the Blue Planet In Concert with The Hallé and a host of stars like Alice Roberts, Dallas Campbell and Jim Al-Khalili.
If you think all that is for the grown ups think again. Our kids – and many more in the audience – love this festival. It is relaxed enough for you to relax too; dance, dress up and do science stuff to your hearts content. The main stage is super impressive, but take a chance to visit the smaller stages too for a more intimate vibe. Just announced is a brand new Roots Stage, produced in partnership with legendary Manchester venue Band on the Wall (back in the day it literally did host a ‘Band on the Wall’ – we’ve seen the pictures) which will feature British-Asian supergroup Electronic Empires, modern jazz, soul and global R&B with XamVolo, Columbian pop sensation Lao Ra and Aaliyah Esprit, a young jazz-inspired R&B vocalist recently hyped by Gilles Peterson and Brownswood’s Future Bubblers programme.
And if the kids want something that’s just for them you could party in the Orbit arena where our good friends from Big Fish Little Fish will be raving each afternoon during the festival with bubbles, giant balloons and plenty of glitter (we’ve seen plenty of parents get carried away here too!); look out for the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band who mesmerised our six year old for a whole hour last year, hunt for pulsars or make robot friends! There are workshops you can sign up too, and then there’s the site’s planetary gardens complete with maze and night-time light installations. Just gorgeous.
Bluedot’s stellar line up, spans all corners of music, cosmic culture, comedy and more, with a ground-breaking programme of live science experiments, expert talks and immersive artworks for one of the most unique festival experiences in Europe.
With the temperature promising to eclipse all records, pack the sunscreen and a tank of water and maybe a few parasols and get ready for your very own take-off from mission control for adventures in another universe.