Bluedot is back as a 4 day festival for 2018: we pick our top 7 acts to catch

Orbital performing at bluedot Festival, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre

Orbital performing at Bluedot Festival 2017, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre

With this year’s Bluedot line up set to be the best yet, Getintothis’ Sinéad Nunes looks forward to a spaced out experience.

Bluedot, the UK’s only science-meets-music festival is just three years old, but already has big plans.

2018 sees the weekend of deep space discovery expanding from a three to a four day festival, with a stellar line-up of electronic heavyweights, underground artists and brilliant minds across seven stages and tents.

Jodrell Bank Observatory is a gift of a site, uniting the festival’s strands of programme under the stunning backdrop of the enormous Lovell Telescope. Where else can you see leading scientists explain the mechanics of the universe in accessible, often humorous language, between sets from your favourite musicians, and a site packed with interactive gardens, art installations and a planetarium where you can relax when the party gets a bit too much?

Joining the roster of acts already announced Chemical Brothers, Gary Numan, Future Islands, are newly reformed dream-pop radicals Slowdive, electronic producer on the cusp of his second studio album George Fitzgerald, and Crazy P who’ll be leading the after-dark dance vibes with their contagious blend of house, disco and soul.


Highlights from this year’s programme:

The Future Then
Amongst the plethora of workshops and talks happening at this year’s event, don’t miss this conversation hosted by Scissor Sister and DJ Ana Matronic, on the anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s classic science fiction epic. Inspired by the themes behind 2001: A Space Odyssey, Matronic explores the impact of the movie on contemporary society, ahead of her DJ set.


Nabihah Iqbal.
Hot off the tails of her Liverpool DJ debut at female-led clubnight SisBis, Ninja Tune / NTS’s Nabihah Iqbal returns to the North West to bring her live to the Bluedot stage. Her solo-produced work is often referred to as cosmic RnB, and takes influence from her Pakistani heritage, undergraduate degree in ethnomusicology and love of music from across the globe.

Baloji (image from artist's Facebook page)

Baloji (image from artist’s Facebook page)

Poet, composer, video artist and performer, this french-speaking Congolese artist’s music exists at the crossroads between African music, soul, funk, jazz and electronic music and is rooted to the Belgian region where he grew up. Expect uplifting melodies, innovative sampling and an indisputably iconic stage presence.

Tim O’Brien
Rapidly ascending to the guru-like status of Michael Eavis, Tim O’Brien is someone you should listen to, enthuse about and generally hug if you spot him around the festival site. In part responsible for the birth of the festival, O’Brien is not only the Associate Director of Jodrell Bank, but a world-renowned physicist and all-round loveable beardy dude. Check out his talks across the weekend, and if you’re camping out by the main stage all afternoon, you’ll learn some unexpected, out-of-this-world facts as he graces the stage between acts.


The Halle Orchestra (from artist’s Facebook page)

Blue Planet in concert with the Hallé Orchestra.
The jewel in the crown of the festival’s expanded programme is this live rendition of the critically acclaimed score from the groundbreaking 2001 documentary series. Brought to life by composer and conductor George Fenton, the set will be accompanied by beautiful HD footage from the show, highlighting the challenges our oceans face in the future. Tickets for this Thusday evening event can be purchased by those not wishing to attend the full festival.


Audible Silence Series
A string of talks by sound artists and scientific experts, exploring the variety and potential uses of Earth’s natural tones and vibrations. Featuring Jana Winderen, Sonia Levy and Alice Eldridge, the series will cover everything ecoacoustics and the ecological role of sound, to using contemporary instruments to replicate sounds from wildlife.

Chemical Brothers at Bluedot 2016 (photo credit: JodyHartley)

Chemical Brothers at Bluedot 2016 (photo credit: Jody Hartley)

The Chemical Brothers.
Yes they’re the headliners and its a bit of an obvious choice, but have you ever seen them play live? The wholly unrelated siblings have spent twenty years redefining live electronic music, and their performance at Bluedot will be no different. Creating a unique audio/visual realm for audiences to lose themselves in, the duo present a brand new live show, premiering in the UK to close the festival, with hallucinogenic visuals from Adam Smith.




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