Bluedot, the thinking person’s festival

Alt-J closing the festival on the Lovell Stage

Alt-J closing the festival on the Lovell Stage - Credit: Archant

Bluedot festival’s second year at Jodrell Bank posed one question, writes JOEL TAYLOR : will it top last year’s weird, wonderful and unique festival experience?

With Orbital, Pixies and Alt-J headlining this still young festival, the quickest and most obvious answer is most definitely yes!

Carrying on in fashion, the festival promised not only these vastly different and exciting heavyweight acts, but also up and coming artists such as Manchester-based quartet Diving Station, radical gender-fluid rock-n-roller Ezra Furman and Welsh experimental pop sensation Meilyr Jones. Addressing the past year’s events, panels such as The Observer Presents Fake News were also unflinching in addressing issues such as big data, propaganda and post-truth politics with both a remarkable candour and humour.

In the year commemorating the Lovell telescope’s 60th birthday, Bluedot had just as much science and education on offer with daily talks from Jodrell Bank’s own Professor Tim O’Brien, hands-on learning stalls in the Planet Field and regular talks in the contact tent. Not to mention that by night the Lovell telescope was draped in the CELESTIAL FREQUENCIES artwork of Daito Manabe and Setsuya Kurotaki, following Brian Eno’s magnificent light installation last year.

However, with all that makes this festival spectacularly unorthodox, Bluedot also succeeded in upgrading its nightlife with an arboretum offering all-night DJ sets, a late-bar and fiery installations that entranced (and warmed) revellers. Providing trailblazing, classic headline acts, fascinating educational opportunities and a sensational nightlife, Bluedot has proved in its second outing that it is here to stay.