Diaries Magazine

Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

Posted on the 08 August 2019 by Rachael Dunne @WhatRachDidNext

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My tent and I have camped at many festivals including Bluedot Festival the last three years. Bluedot 2019, for me, wins the prize for best festival ever so I thought it deserved a review. It was bound to be a big one this year with the festival celebrating three massive events this year – 50 years since the moon landings and The Clangers and Jodrell Bank being recognised as a UNESO world heritage site! Yes it rained and the mud was up to our ankles but that didn’t affect our enjoyment one bit.

Firstly, I’m going to start by saying that the headline bands, Hot Chip, Kraftwerk and New Order were all, as absolutely amazing as you’d expect them to be. I’m pleased to say I discovered a few new favourites too:

  • Mealtime are an up and coming band with a strange name but a lot of catchy songs.
  • Yang my partner met on the train on the way there and couldn’t stop going on about what lovely lads they were and we had to go and see them. I’m totally glad I did, they put on a fantastic show! They reminded me of a cross between Mark Almond and Depeche Mode with a little bit of techno thrown in.
  • Anna Calvi was a bit… well, weird but in a really captivating way and played some stunning guitar solos.
  • The Orielles played some really fun, 90’s sounding alt pop and looked like they were having an absolute ball on stage!
  • Gogo Penguin. Ahhhh Gogo Penguin make such beautifully soothing music.
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My Favourite Electronic Music Artists at Bluedot Festival 2019

Being a massive dance head, I was most excited about the electronic music acts. Although, surprisingly, the artists I was most giddy about were not the ones I ended up enjoying the most!

Of the electronic acts, Jon Hopkins absolutely blew my mind! I’ve heard a lot of his stuff and liked it but didn’t consider myself a major fan. I only went to see him out of curiosity, although… I don’t think I have the vocabulary to describe how jaw droppingly good his live set was! If you’re even slightly interested in his music, you should definitely try and catch him live – he really does put on an incredible show!

Gabe Gurnsey was another nice surprise and brought the festival to an absolutely stonking close on Sunday! Without doubt, the best end to a festival, like ever! (He’s been the soundtrack to my my morning runs ever since!)

Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of any of the above. Best times = the least pictures! If that’s what you were hoping to get from this review, I’m sorry. I’ll try harder next time… but hold on a minute! What really made Bluedot 2019 my favourite festival of all time was not the headliners but all the other unexpected randomness in between.

  • Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

    The great minds behind The Clangers explaining how they bring their ideas to life

    " aperture="aperture" />The Clangers’ animation team explaining how they bring their ideas to life
  • Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

    Meeting The Clangers, was the main highlight of Bluedot Festival 2019 for me

    " data-orig-size="1000,839" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" data-link="https://www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/rpt-4/" data-image-title="TheClangersBluedot.jpg" data-orig-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190803_170514.jpg?fit=1000%2C839&ssl;=1" data-recalc-dims="1" data-id="3401" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190803_170514.jpg?fit=300%2C252&ssl;=1" data-permalink="https://www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/rpt-4/" aperture="aperture" />Meeting my childhood heroes, The Clangers, was the main highlight of Bluedot Festival 2019
  • Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

    Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, the creators of the original Clangers animations

    " data-orig-size="1000,750" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" data-link="https://www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/bsh-3/" data-image-title="PostgateandFirmin.jpg" data-orig-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190803_180451-1.jpg?fit=1000%2C750&ssl;=1" data-recalc-dims="1" data-id="3407" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190803_180451-1.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl;=1" aperture="aperture" />Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin working on the original Clangers animations

The Clangers Screening & Q&A Session

Following an extreme sensory overload on Friday, it was almost impossible to drag myself out of my sleeping bag the next morning! I’m so glad I managed it though, or I would have missed out on an experience that will stay with me forever. Meeting The Clangers and attending a talk to celebrate 50 years with the creative team was absolutely magical!

I may cover this in more detail in a later post because there’s just too much to fit into a review of the entire festival. What I will say is that it really made me realise why I adore these pink, knitted space mice so much. It’s not just a kids programme. They are good role models who look after each other. Each animation is created with so much love and care and the storylines really challenge the imagination.

Kids (and big kids) Rave with Big Fish Little Fish

  • Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

    The entrance to the Deep Space Disco dance tent shaped like a space cassette

    " data-orig-size="1000,730" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" data-link="https://www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/cof-17/" data-image-title="PSX_20190803_171632.jpg" data-orig-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190803_171632.jpg?fit=1000%2C730&ssl;=1" data-recalc-dims="1" data-id="3404" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190803_171632.jpg?fit=300%2C219&ssl;=1" aperture="aperture" />Deep Space Disco – no further explanation needed really!
  • Bluedot Festival 2019 ReviewRaving with the Clangers on Saturday afternoon at Big Fish Little Fish at Bluedot Festival 2019
  • Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

    The Big Fish Little Fish kids rave at Bluedot Festival 2019

    " data-orig-size="1000,705" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" data-link="https://www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/cof-16/" data-image-title="BigFishLitteFish.jpg" data-orig-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190803_171338.jpg?fit=1000%2C705&ssl;=1" data-recalc-dims="1" data-id="3403" aperture="aperture" />Raving with the kids and Big Fish Little Fish at Bluedot Festival 2019
  • Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

    Small Clanger takes to the stage!

    " data-orig-size="1000,858" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" data-link="https://www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/oznor-5/" data-image-title="SmallClangerDancing.jpg" data-orig-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190808_072353.jpg?fit=1000%2C858&ssl;=1" data-recalc-dims="1" data-id="3446" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190808_072353.jpg?fit=300%2C257&ssl;=1" data-permalink="https://www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/oznor-5/" data-image-meta="{" alt="Small Clanger dancing on stage at the Big Fish Little Fish rave" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190808_072353.jpg?w=1000&ssl;=1 1000w, https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190808_072353.jpg?resize=300%2C257&ssl;=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190808_072353.jpg?resize=768%2C659&ssl;=1 768w" class="wp-image-3446" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190808_072353.jpg?fit=1000%2C858&ssl;=1" aperture="aperture" />Small Clanger getting his groove on!

Sticking with the kids theme, we headed over to the Deep Space Disco tent for the Big Fish Little Fish kids rave. I’m happy to say, we weren’t the only adult ravers in there but I have a question… Hey Big Fish Little Fish! Why do you not do raves for grown-ups? I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun in a dance tent!

Our senses were stimulated by oversized bouncing balls, bubbles and foam. We danced under parachutes and of course, we were joined by The Clangers! The biggest surprise about the whole experience was the quality of the tunes. I’m not sure what we’d expected, maybe a load of Disney sing along songs or something? Nope! The set was packed full of absolute bangers! What more could we have asked for really?

See Tickets affiliate link. If you click on this link and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you! This is what helps keep my site going.

Roaming Exhibits

At some festivals I’ve attended in the past, I’ve found myself hanging around in between acts, waiting for the next one to come on. At Bluedot this year there was so much going on that it really didn’t ever feel like there was any waiting. Roaming exhibits such as science experiments, art installations, circus acts and parades kept us constantly entertained.

Justin Quinells Eyescura literally turned our world upside down! What’s an Eyescura? For the first few weeks of a newborn baby’s life, they see things the wrong way up. That is, until their brains are developed enough to turn everything the right way up and they begin to see things normally. Eyescura is a science experiment designed to demonstrate how we would see the world if our brains didn’t do this. Basically, it’s a pinhole camera inside a black bin that you stick on your head. A bit weird but a lot of fun!

Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

My partner, Paul having a go of the Eyescura experiment

" data-orig-size="1000,750" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" data-image-title="Eyescura.jpg" data-orig-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190803_180832.jpg?fit=1000%2C750&ssl;=1" data-recalc-dims="1" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190803_180832.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl;=1" aperture="aperture" />Paul trying to get his head around Eyescura

Lightsaber training! If you’re even the littlest bit of a Star Wars fan, I’m sure you’ve always wanted a go on a lightsaber, right? Well, we didn’t have a go but it sure was fun to watch other people trying their luck against the Jedi Knights.

Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

Just a lightsaber battle in a field

" data-orig-size="1000,870" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" aperture="aperture" />A lightsaber battle taking place in between acts near the Lovell stage

Late Night Light Shows

As daytime turned into evening, the acts on the Lovell stage become bigger and more attractive and the sideshows occurred less frequently. Once the last act on the main stage had played, the night parade came to lead everyone to The Darkside for some serious night time raving. There were also iconic sci-fi movies and astronomy stuff that went on well into the night.

Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

The late night lunar parade at Bluedot Festival 2019

" data-orig-size="1000,750" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" data-image-title="LunarParade.jpg" data-orig-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190808_192709.jpg?fit=1000%2C750&ssl;=1" data-recalc-dims="1" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190808_192709.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl;=1" aperture="aperture" />The late night lunar parade signified the closing of the main stage and the dance tents taking over

As if that wasn’t enough, on the way back to the tent we discovered fully immersive, interactive art installations and a late night bar in the Outer Space area where we had another good boogie!

When it was finally time for our legs to carry us back to our tent at the end of Saturday night, (early Sunday morning), we were totally awestruck by the projections onto the Lovell Telescope. At that exact time, 50 years ago, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. The sights and sounds that accompanied us as we walked were totally mesmerising! What a beautiful way to celebrate such a spectacular achievement.

Bluedot Festival 2019 Review

The stunning Lovell Telescope projections

" data-orig-size="1000,523" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" data-image-title="LovellTelescopeProjections.jpg" data-orig-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190808_191526.jpg?fit=1000%2C523&ssl;=1" data-recalc-dims="1" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PSX_20190808_191526.jpg?fit=300%2C157&ssl;=1" data-permalink="https://www.whatrachdidnext.co.uk/rhdr-4/" data-image-meta="{" alt="Walking through the Bluedot camping field at night with the Lovell Telescope projections in the background" aperture="aperture" />Our walk back to the tent was lit by the stunning projections on the Lovell Telescope and eery but soothing sounds of the moon landing exactly 50 years ago

There’s probably so much I’ve left out. It really was a fantastic weekend, despite the ankle deep mud and pitching a tent in torrential rain – oh, did I not mention that? Yeah, that happened but it wasn’t enough to put a damper on the the rest of the weekend.

Thank You Bluedot!

I’d like to end this post by saying a massive thank you to everyone who played a part in making Bluedot Festival 2019 the best festival ever. I hope to see you again in future!

And readers, if you’ve been to a festival this year, where did you go? How was it? I am looking for another festival to attend next year (or maybe even another one to squeeze in this year) but I’m worried that nothing can ever top this for me now! Please leave your comments and suggestions below.

Rach xx

This article first appeared on whatrachdidnext.co.uk. If you enjoyed reading it or find it useful, I would love it if you would link to it or share it on social media but please don’t copy my work. All pictures are taken by me, or I have permission to use them, and all words and opinions are my own, unless it’s a quote.

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