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bluedot Festival

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
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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
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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.

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

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

The Watchmakers
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Sundara Karma
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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
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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

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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
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The Vryll Society (Nebula Stage) Liverpool lads playing funk, prog and Krautrock, great fun to watch.
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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”
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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
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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
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Gwenno
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Cabbage
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Stealing Sheep
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Tim Burgess with Shaun Keaveney
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Dutch Uncles
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British Sea Power
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Everything Everything
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Aziz Ibrahim and Dalbir
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Membranes and the BIMM Choir
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Caribou
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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;

Links

bluedot Festival;

Website: discoverthebluedot.com
Twitter: @bluedotfestival

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bluedot-Festival

Public Service Broadcasting
http://publicservicebroadcasting.net
http://www.facebook.com/PUBLICSERVICEBROADCASTING
http://twitter.com/PSB_HQ

Underworld
http://www.underworldlive.com
http://www.facebook.com/underworldlive
http://www.twitter.com/underworldlive

Age of Glass
http://theageofglass.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Age-of-Glass/158891080851448
https://twitter.com/TheAgeOfGlass

Henge
http://hengemusic.com
https://www.facebook.com/Hengemusic/
https://twitter.com/cosmicdross

Doves Jez & Andy Williams
https://twitter.com/dovesmusicblog?lang=en-gb
https://www.facebook.com/Doves/
http://www.dovesmusicblog.com

Luke Bainbridge
https://twitter.com/lukebainbridge

Stephen Morris
https://twitter.com/stephenpdmorris
http://www.neworder.com

LA Priest
https://www.facebook.com/trulylapriest/
https://twitter.com/trulylapriest

The Watchmakers
http://www.thewatchmakers.co.uk/biog.php
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Watchmakers/191134494286879?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/TheWatchmakers

Sundara Karma
http://www.sundara-karma.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/SundaraKarma?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/sundarakarma

Beth Orton
http://www.bethortonofficial.com
https://www.facebook.com/BethOrtonOfficial/
https://twitter.com/beth_orton/followers

Andrew Smith
http://www.andrewsmithauthor.com/AndrewSmith/HOME.html
http://twitter.com/wiresmith

Lets Eat Grandma
https://twitter.com/thelegofgrandma

The Vryll Society
https://www.facebook.com/TheVryllSociety/info/
https://twitter.com/TheVryllSociety

Air
http://www.aircheology.com
https://www.facebook.com/intairnet
https://twitter.com/airofficial

Jean Michel Jarre
http://jeanmicheljarre.com
https://www.facebook.com/jeanmicheljarre
https://twitter.com/jeanmicheljarre

Nzca Lines
http://www.nzca-lines.com
https://www.facebook.com/NZCALINES/
https://twitter.com/NZCALINES

Gwenno
http://www.gwenno.info
https://twitter.com/gwennosaunders
http://www.facebook.com/gwennomusic

Cabbage
https://ahcabbage.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/cabbagelechou/
https://twitter.com/ahcabbage

Stealing Sheep
https://www.facebook.com/stealingsheep/
https://twitter.com/stealingsheep

I like Trains
http://www.iliketrains.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/iLiKETRAiNSmusic/
http://twitter.com/iliketrains

Tim Burgess
http://timbooktwo.co.uk
https://twitter.com/FaberSocial

Shaun Keaveney
https://twitter.com/shaunwkeaveny

65daysofstatic
http://65daysofstatic.com/wordpress/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/65daysofstatic/
http://twitter.com/65dos

Dutch Uncles
https://www.facebook.com/dutchuncles
https://twitter.com/dutchuncles

British Sea Power
http://www.britishseapower.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/BSPofficial
http://twitter.com/BSPOfficial

Marc Riley
https://twitter.com/marcrileydj

Everything Everything
http://www.everything-everything.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/EverythingEverythinguk
https://twitter.com/E_E_

Aziz Ibrahim
https://twitter.com/azizibrahim56
Dalbir Singh Rattan
https://twitter.com/tablajedi

Membranes
http://www.themembranes.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/themembranes
http://www.twitter.com/membranes1

Caribou
http://www.caribou.fm
https://www.facebook.com/caribouband
https://twitter.com/caribouband
All photographic content on this website is copyright © Ken Harrison