Bluedot festival 2016, preview: Space is the place

Jon Whiteley

Jodrell Bank may be famous for its 250ft telescope – but this summer, it’s also hosting the Bluedot festival of music, food and science.

Aiming to marry the dual concerns of music and space exploration is Bluedot festival (22-24 July): a brand new extravaganza hosted at Jodrell Bank, promising music in abundance alongside food, film and all manner of cultural treats. The festival boasts an impressive lineup, headlined by Underworld, Jean-Michel Jarre and Caribou. They’re not the only great acts featured though: Everything Everything, British Sea Power and Public Service Broadcasting also appear on a bill of over 50 bands, musicians and DJs, which includes a few surprises, such as snooker player Steve Davis performing under his nom de plume DJ Thundermuscle.

Like the Lovell telescope itself, the vision of this festival is expansive

As well as music, there’s an impressive comedy bill on offer, with turns from the likes of Robin Ince, who’ll be performing both and solo set and an Infinite Monkey Cage show featuring physicist Brian Cox. On the food front, Michelin-starred chef Aiden Byrne (of Manchester House) presents his Restaurant at the End of the Universe – a seven-course menu inspired by space travel – and, if you’ve got a taste for street food, they’re setting up a G’astronomy village (their pun, not mine) full of galactic treats for your delectation.

On the science side of things, there’ll be a series of talks from an illustrious roster of astronomers and astrophysicists all through the weekend, covering the biggest topics currently concerning the scientific community: everything from dark matter to gravitational waves. The Lovell telescope itself also gets a look in as part of a bespoke light installation created by musical luminary Brian Eno.

Like the telescope itself, the vision of this festival is expansive. On these summer nights, what could be better than spending a weekend stargazing.

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