To celebrate world space week which is the 4th-10th October, here is the ultimate guide to Bluedot Festival. The festival is held at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England and is a weekend celebration of music, science and cosmic culture. This year was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Bluedot was holding lots of moon celebrations and extra moon related events over the weekend too.
On a whim one evening last year I messaged Gina who blogs over at Culture Bean and asked if she fancied a festival. Remember when we went to the Rocky Horror together? In less than half an hour we had booked to go to Bluedot. 2 women, 1 who’s last festival was Glastonbury when she was 17 (me) and 1 who is terrified of bugs (gina) had tickets for 4 nights in a tent (which neither of us yet owned). Let the fun commence.
Early Bird General admission tickets for Bluedot Festival 2019 came to £163.50. This included standard camping and festival entry Friday to Monday. The festival has sold out in past years so getting a ticket early is your best bet and they’re reduced in price.
On top of the standard ticket price you can purchase admission for Thursday and a special performance by the Halle orchestra came in at £29. Worth it in my opinion as it meant we had the pick of the camping pitches.
A car parking ticket was £22 but more expensive to purchase on the day.
In total £214.50 + Postage. Cheaper than other UK festivals that come to £250+
What to pack for Bluedot Festival
Tent, sleeping bag, mattress or mat and a pillow. (Incidentally I forgot a pillow and regretted every second).
Phone and Portable Charger
There is a 100% chance that over the 3 days your phone will go flat. You could be an extortionately priced charge pass to safely charge your device but id recommenced spending that money on a decent portable charger instead.
This is the British summer after all. Lots of layers. Start off with a rain coat but also pack something for a little bit of sunshine. Check the forecast before you head to the festival and pack for all eventualities. There were not many stalls selling clothing etc.
Fun Space Themed Clothes
Anything that is metallic, space themed, NASA and EPSA branded. Then you can take geeky photos in your outfits.
Bluedot festival was cashless in 2019 and it worked well for me. Your ticket is exchanged for a wrist band. The wrist band had a RFID built in, you could ‘top up’ and pay for everything with this from food to merchandise.
Food at Bluedot was actually pretty good and affordable. There were lots of options and you could find food in the camping areas as well as the main festival site. (I did spot one cheeky vendor in the camping area who put his prices up over the weekend for coffee which was a shame). Bluedot festival was plastic free. No plastic water bottles on site or plastic cutlery, if you registered before you arrived there was a free metal water bottle for collection. I only had 1 poor meal and that was a veggie pizza which was cold and bit meh.
I didn’t take any cooking equipment but we did take a few snacks with us.
Whats to see and do?
This is where Bluedot Festival differs from other festivals. The vast majority of festival goers were from science and arts field, and this gave it a really nice vibe. No unruly teens and overall it was pretty civilised. There were also lots of activities for families.
There was a full program of talks, this included Helen Sharman [First British astronaut], Dallas Campbell [Presenter], Jeff Forshaw [professor in theoretical particle physics]. These were informative and aimed at all levels. I mean the particle physics blew my mind but watching someone present with so much passion left me excited about the future.
Kraftwerk, Hot Chip, Kate Tempest, New Order. The headliners weren’t Glastonbury level but they were great to listen too in a much more intimate setting. There was also smaller tents with DJs and discos. The 80’s disco on Saturday night had everyone dancing until the early hours.
This for me is where Bluedot stood out and why I have already bought my ticket for next year. There was a culture of learning, it did not matter how geeky or into science you were, they were inclusive. From talks, to parades and interactive exhibitions.
*I purchased my own ticket for Blue Dot Festival 2019 with my hard earned cash and this review is all my own opinions and words