bluedot Festival

Review and pics from the first bluedot Festival at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire 22nd to 24th July 2016
Set over three glorious summer days at Jodrell Bank, (the Cheshire observatory at the cutting edge of humanity’s quest for knowledge), bluedot is a brand new three-day festival of discovery that promised to fuse a complex mix of artists, speakers, scientists and performers into an event unlike any on earth which looks to inspire the scientists of the future.

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, sci-fi movie showings (Star Trek, Star Wars and Close Encounters, and even TV's "The Clangers" made a personal appearance) and debates including Dallas Campbell, Danielle George, Monica Grady, Matt Taylor, Pete Lawrence, Alan Garner, Jez and Andy Williams, Andrew Smith and many more.

A vast spectrum of hands-on activities were available, 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 an variety of specially designed science shows, an array of surprising and interactive workshops, meet and greets with science superhero’s and much, much more.

Friday evening opened up with a live recording of BBC Radio4’s “The Infinite Monkey Cage” with Professor Brian Cox, and Robin Ince on the main stage (Lovell Stage) followed by art-rock archivists, Public Service Broadcasting playing songs from their two albums “Inform, Educate and Entertain” and “The Race for Space”.

Public Service Broadcasting

In the crowd, there were spacemen, aliens and people dressed for the occasion and a Brian Eno installation projecting against the Lovell Telescope.

Brian Eno installation


Underworld set the crowd alight with an hour and a half set of classic tracks and material from their new album “Barbara, Barbara, we face a shining future” including “I Exhale” and classic “Born Slippy” The rain came towards the end of the set, but the crowd didn't care, the dancing went on.


After Underworld's set, a procession paraded through the main arena to close down the day.


Over on the Nebula Stage, Manchester’s electronic dance-pop trio, Age of Glass played a great set, followed by Henge “Earth’s primary exponents of Cosmic Dross” with a wild space rock set including an alien invasion and large puppetry. The stage closed with a set by Space Cassette DJ.

Alien Invasion


Saturday saw a packed main arena in the blazing sunshine, ready for the music.

Over in the Luminarium, (a giant set of coloured inflatable tents) lots of fun was to be had with the colours and shapes within the various spaces, an extreme exercise in colour therapy.

The Luminarium

At the packed out Contact Stage Jez and Andy Williams being interviewed by author and Festival No.6 curator Luke Bainbridge about how they bounced a guitar riff on the moon. Luke Bainbridge then followed this with an interview with Joy Division, New Order and The Other Two’s Stephen Morris.

Jez and Andy Williams

Stephen Morris

Psych rockers, The Watchmakers played the Nebula Stage, a definite must-see band with a great sound and a growing reputation.

The Watchmakers

Sundara Karma

Beth Orton played the Lovell Stage with tracks from new electronic album “Kidsticks” (Her sixth) and out on a UK and European tour until October.

Beth Orton

Andrew Smith (Author) on the Contact Stage for a book reading from his bestselling book “Moondust” about his search to meet each of the Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon, before they all passed away. The book is a riveting read for anyone interested in the Apollo moon landings. Smith later does a reading from his second book “Totally Wired” about the “dotcom" boom and bust of the late 1990’s


Lets Eat Grandma from Norwich are an experimental duo (Rosa and Jenny, who look identical although the website says otherwise) , playing multiple instruments on stage with weird stage antics. Tracks from their “I Gemini” album, released in June.

Lets Eat Grandma

The Vryll Society (Nebula Stage) Liverpool lads playing funk, prog and Krautrock, great fun to watch.

Air, The French electronica duo currently celebrating 20 years since the release of “Moon Safari” album, with their first tour. Chilled out synth for late evening featuring “Sexy Boy” and “Kelly Watch The Stars”

Jean Michel Jarre

Pioneering French electronic musician playing tracks from his 40 year career including “Oxygene 4” and from his two recent collaborative albums “Electronica 1: The Time Machine and “Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise” show currently on tour across Europe until a Paris show on December 12th.

Jarre appeared behind a large LED curtain, which parted to reveal the musician at his podium surrounded by his bank of synths and an brand new custom touch screen synth made for the tour. The light show was spectacular with the projections and lasers, and featuring the legendary Laser Harp.

Jean Michel Jarre

Sunday was a much more chilled out affair, with a reduced crowd and a calmer vibe. Here are just a few of the acts performing over the day;

Nzca Lines



Stealing Sheep

Tim Burgess with Shaun Keaveney

Dutch Uncles

British Sea Power

Everything Everything

Aziz Ibrahim and Dalbir

Membranes and the BIMM Choir


For the first festival of this scale at Jodrell Bank, it was a great success. As with anything new, there are always the inevitable teething problems as the logistics and hordes of punters arrive and stay on site for a few days, but these can easily be addressed as the festival develops.

For three days, we experienced bands old and new, and had a terrific time discovering what this festival has to offer. I'll be back next year, I'm looking forward to "getting my Geek on!"

More photos can be found on our flickr page;


bluedot Festival;

Twitter: @bluedotfestival


Public Service Broadcasting


Age of Glass


Doves Jez & Andy Williams

Luke Bainbridge

Stephen Morris

LA Priest

The Watchmakers

Sundara Karma

Beth Orton

Andrew Smith

Lets Eat Grandma

The Vryll Society


Jean Michel Jarre

Nzca Lines



Stealing Sheep

I like Trains

Tim Burgess

Shaun Keaveney


Dutch Uncles

British Sea Power

Marc Riley

Everything Everything

Aziz Ibrahim
Dalbir Singh Rattan