Bluedot - Interstellar science and kick-ass music

It was early evening, the sun was shining, we were taking turns to look through a telescope with numerous filters that enabled you to look directly at the Sun. The clarity of the sun spots were amazing, and we actually saw solar flares (which the scientists called 'prominences') shooting out of the top right-hand corner of our humble star. We carried on standing all around the telescope, beers in hand, while the scientist told us more about the research program at Jodrel bank observatory. Though we were excited by this awesome experience, it was time to run. Shoebaleader One, purveyers of pounding alien jazz-funk from the future, were about to unleash thunder on the Orbit stage. We caught them just in time, and what an amazing set it was...  

This is just a small taster of what's on offer at the incredible Bluedot festival. Having had a couple of weeks to reflect on it, I decided I should write something about it as I just can't recommend it enough.

This little festival has everything:

  • Top musical acts. Highlights included Orbital, Pixies, Shoebaleader One, DJ Yoda, Mr. Scruff and Soulwax, who played one of the most mind-blowing sets I've ever seen in my life!
  • An awe-inspiring setting. You are greeted at every turn by the mega-structure of the Lovell telescope, home of the UK SETI project (search for extraterrestrial intelligence). The grounds also have landscaped gardens and firepits, which host late night gatherings.
  • Science!!! Forget the mid-morning malaise of some other festivals, when you're feeling ropey, not quite up for pounding beats at midday. Instead of having a lie-in at the campsite, nursing your hangover until the early evening, here you can relax in a cool tent, listening to fascinating panels of speakers. University professors, researchers, and activists speaking about all sorts of interesting and topical subjects, such as artificial intelligence, data protection in the digital age, climate change and trans-humanism. There was actually a Q&A session discussing the ethical dilemmas involved in trans-human (cyborg) immortality. How cool is that?

I will certainly be looking out for this one next year - fingers crossed the line-up is as awesome as 2017 was.

Well done Bluedot, I salute you.

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- Jona Rousseau