Spent last weekend in magical, tropical Cheshire at Blue Dot Festival. Got sunburned, super drunk, listened to loads of music, missed all the science talks, and operated the third largest telescope in the world. It was amazing.
Stayed at a Travelodge near Crewe the night before to break up the journey. I can confirm, no one ran through this field of wheat.
The whole festival site is based around the amazing Lovell Telescope. It dominates, like some weird 50s sci-fi prop. At the time it was built, it was the biggest telescope in the world. It’s currently third biggest.
My favourite thing bar none was the interactive sound and vision experience with the telescope after dark. There was a control panel that allowed you to change the projections going onto the telescope and the sounds accompanying them. The AV show was created by artists based on radio frequencies received by the telescope from pulsars (dying stars out in space). This was data that had been received over long periods of time, but there was also a LIVE FEED INTO SPACE that you could choose.
It was absolutely mind blowing.
Me by the scope, being super impressed with it.
Preece and Natalie CONTROLLING SPACE.
The view from the campsite, Lovell glowing eerie off in the distance.
The next best thing we did was explore the Luminarium. This is a giant inflatable structure made of rubber. It’s got multiple rooms and you can walk around inside it endlessly. I went in with a couple of people that had smashed some mushrooms and some acid. It was so hot in there I came out after about 20 minutes. I think they were in there considerably longer.
Back out in the festival itself, it was a baking hot weekend. We spent most of it outside, listening to music and enjoying the general atmosphere. It was a lot cleaner and less sketchy than most festivals I tend to frequent (no weird krusty hippies causing chaos), which double edged for me: nice to be in such a safe, comforting place – but at the same time, I always like a bit of chaos …
This was one of the best things I saw all weekend: Nightmares on Wax DJ set. It had been a long, hot day – we’d just been in to see Max Cooper do Emergence which was INCREDIBLY INTENSE – me and a couple of others bailed, and ended up listening to this wonderful two hour journey through disco, funk, electro and housey house. It was upbeat and uplifting and very fun.
Other great things of note that we saw through the weekend:
FRIDAY – Leftfield (pumping tunes – shame they were on at 6pm and the crowd was full of parents with very upset looking children ramming their fingers in their ears, trying to leave, being forced to stay … darkside); Jane Weaver (amazing space pop kween); Pixies (who I saw at Glastonbury and bored the balls off me – but I loved them here!); Vitalic, who did THE BEST TECHNO EVER.
SATURDAY – Goldfrapp; Orbital; Factory Floor.
SUNDAY – Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band; Rival Consoles (he was AMAZING); Warpaint (which I left because they were SO BORING); but then I went to Shobaleader One (MUCH BETTER – Squarepusher LIVE!); Alt-J (really, really boring … I left after about five seconds and went and found a cocktail bar by the telescope that was rinsing out really loud, funky old school drum and bass and breaks classics. BEST TIME EVER, full of really friendly and lovely people from Manchester. Big love, MCR).
Loved Blue Dot. Would definitely recommend for parents – lots to for babies, with kids, and for adults with an interest in the world around them. Loved it, would definitely go again.