Jodrell Bank Observatory
22 - 24 July
In the shadow of the monstrous landmark of technology that is the telescope of Jodrell Bank, the inaugural Bluedot festival mixed the audio allure of Underworld, Jean Michel Jarre and Caribou with scholarly and comedic selections curated brilliantly by some of the Northern region’s foremost arts and culture powerhouses.
The welcoming feel of the festival held no bounds as all ages groups donned the same wide-eyed gasping face at the technological feats that on show. That same awe-struck amazement was shared by all in attendance for Underworld’s mastery as they continue a run of festival-defining sets in 2016. DJ Yoda then sent the lunar legionnaires into (admittedly especially corny) nostalgic overdrive with his DJ Yoda Does Sci-Fi set. As many party tunes that you could put in a set, mixed with the most iconic lines and themes from all the sci-fi epics.
As day two wore on and the wavelengths of light and heat grew stronger, we explored the site – from Mission Control to the micro-brewery. Upon the evening, Jean Michel Jarre’s cosmic transcendence sent the crowd into a hysteria that hasn’t been seen since the Zion dance party out of the second Matrix. It was genuine pleasure to be a reveller in the laser-beamed throng of Michel Jarre’s craft.
Aside from the great electronic stars of old, Bluedot also showcased two more current supernovas in the form of Floating Points and Ben UFO cleverly appointed by Manchester promoter Now Wave. The visual accompaniment to Floating Points’ highly celebrated live set left many in a trance as the live band brought together the intricate compositions from his record. While some of much of his album sounds fairly lukewarm on record, it transformed into an entrancing outpouring on Bluedot’s Orbit stage – a blast of futuristic modernity on a bill fleshed out by nostalgia.
The same refresh came from Ben UFO who navigated Now Wave’s quarters with ease, nailing the segue from fun-for-all-the-family attractions to slightly rougher spirits.
To criticise the broader, family friendly parts of the inaugural Bluedot experience would be to miss the point to a certain extent. Also, writing off original work from Brian Eno or a live set from Caribou as “predictable” would be downright stupid. Like all good extraterrestrial sagas, Bluedot has already announced its sequel hitting Jodrell Bank for 2017. Their marriage of science and music is only beginning to develop. This year introduced Crack to a weekend which is easy for the family and leaves enough space for the space-age partiers.