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How brilliant is this year’s Bluedot festival going to be? Well with a lineup promising to be every bit as spectacular as last year, solar flares will be exploding over the landscape around Cheshire’s Jodrell Bank Observatory in two week’s time when this mind-expandingly unique festival blasts off for another year.
If 2017’s Bluedot headliners Pixies (who played through a rainy Friday evening to a doting crowd for whom the raindrops just made it all the better) and Chemical Brothers were a lineup to die for, they are superbly followed this year by Flaming Lips, Future Islands and The Orb supported by too many ‘ooooh’ names to mention (although we do want to say Gary Numan, pioneering electronica from The Radiophonic Workshop, Little Dragon and Nadine Shah). It’s a list that will have the Manchester urbanites who flood to this Cheshire location in their droves foaming at the mouths – thrilling both young and old music lovers alike.
The main stage at Bluedot is dominated by the breathtaking Lovell Telescope, and the festival really pays tribute to that in its super creative programming. After all, where else would Robin Ince and The Flaming Lips be on the same bill? BBC2’s star astronaut Suzie Imber sharing tales of her space odyssey before Future Islands or Gary Numan take over the main stage? Not to mention the Blue Planet In Concert with The Hallé and a host of stars like Alice Roberts, Dallas Campbell and Jim Al-Khalili.
With announcements of new additions to the programme still coming through, the latest will give festival goers the chance to witness a meeting of great music and science minds. Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne will be In Conversation with Professor Tim O’ Brien, Associate Director Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, and avid explorer of exploding stars. Tim and Wayne have a history of indepth discussions, from our understanding of the Universe to the search for extra-terrestrial life, and the possibility of alternative dimensions. So expect some choice thought provokers in this newest round between the two thinkers. Afterall, the coming together of the worlds of music, space exploration and creativity is what lies at the heart of the bluedot festival.
Also announced recently is a brand new Roots Stage, produced in partnership with legendary Manchester venue Band on the Wall (back in the day it literally did host a ‘Band on the Wall’ – we’ve seen the pictures). Over three days, the Roots stage will feature British-Asian supergroup Electronic Empires who were formed specially for New North and South, and perform only their second ever show, after a sold-out debut at Band on the Wall. Saturday will be all about modern jazz, soul and global R&B with XamVolo, Columbian pop sensation Lao Ra and Aaliyah Esprit, a young jazz-inspired R&B vocalist recently hyped by Gilles Peterson and Brownswood’s Future Bubblers programme. On Sunday the lineup features artists from across Africa and the Caribbean, including a performance from one of the finest Kora masters in the world, Jali Nyonkoling Kuyateh, celebrated reggae musician Golty Farabeau coming all the way from the Seychelles, and djembe maestro Sidiki Dembele who previously performed with the much-renowned Afrika! Afrika!
The Roots Stage joins bluedot’s already stellar line up, spanning all corners of music, cosmic culture, comedy and more, with a ground-breaking programme of live science experiments, expert talks and immersive artworks for one of the most unique festival experiences in Europe.
With the temperature promising to eclipse all records, pack the sunscreen and a tank of water and maybe a few parasols and get ready for your very own take-off from mission control for adventures in another universe.