Humanity meets science
SCIENCE, music, and art collided at Jodrell Bank’s Bluedot Fes- tival.
Poet Tony Walsh opened the Lovell stage, which stands in the shadow of its namesake telescope.
The poet recited ‘This Is The Place’ at the vigil for the Manchester Arena attack, and it went on to symbolise the city’s sense of defiance and civic pride. Here though, Walsh kept his material strictly science-inspired, with a captivating reading of ‘Zeros and Ones’, a whirl- wind history of the universe, life and everything.
The poem was a fitting start to the festival.
Not just for its science-y language and intergalactic content, but for its rousing belief in community and humanity - a strong theme throughout Bluedot.
The Miracoco Luminarium, for example, coaxes visitors out of their comfort zone and into a shared space of light and music.
Visitors enter the huge tent in groups, and inside a labyrinth of circular spaces encourages unity. People lie on the floor, recline in alcoves and reset their boundaries in an other-worldly environ- ment. Elsewhere, discussions blaze as some of the brightest minds debate topics around science, technology and culture. In a meeting of science and literature, Dr Rob Appleby, Adam Marek, Sara Maitland, and Adam Roberts explore science fiction writing, from reading excerpts to revealing their writing processes.
Many are here for the music, with indie rockers the Pixies, entertaining thousands on a drizzly Friday night, before the clouds rolled back to reveal blue skies and bathe the festival site in glorious sunshine ahead of a thunderous set by techno headliners Orbital on Saturday.
The dance tents are packed out from the moment dance pioneers Leftfield gave a thrilling run through of their classic 90’s album Leftism to kick things off on Friday teatime. The only disappointment is the unexplained lack of movement from the real star of the show, the Lovell Telescope which towers over the festival while exploring galaxies far away.
Rumours circulate that a ball-bearing problem has resulted in it remaining bolt upright throughout the weekend and prevent- ing it from pirouetting and revealing its mighty face to the crowds below.
Nevertheless it remains an impressive and inspiring sight especially after night fall when it’s huge frame is decorated by stunning light show and a full moon looks on in approval from afar lighting up the site.
Second time visitors can be heard commenting on how it seems a lot busier than 2016’s event.
And with its popularity apparently growing, this unique addition to the UK festival scene looks like it could be a stellar success for years to come. Lucy Lovell and Gareth Tidman
Bluedot Festival happens against the backdrop of the Lovell Telescope
The Wishing Tree within the Blue Moon art installation
Pixies on the Lovell Stage