Bluedot is the festival where science, space and music come together and meet in the Cheshire countryside. Just outside the massive Jodrell Bank Observatory, to be precise, which I learnt at is the third biggest movable telescope in the world. Every day’s a school day.
The Bluedot team had an amazing week of live music and science talks planned, it’s just a shame Mother Nature had other ideas and decided to open the heavens onto the North West of England. How rude of her.
As a 9-5 worker, I was planning to be there all weekend but as it got to Friday evening and I was sleepy, so I joined in on the fun Saturday morning. I was already jealous of the previous day’s sun and blue skies because straight away we were met with heavy rain and cars having to be towed out of mud. Oh, joy.
Now this part might be confusing to some (it’s confusing still to me), but after successfully traversing the soggy car park I went ahead and hopped out of my car, in Converse. Big mistake.
Once my shoes were two inches deep in the sludge I gave up trying to ballerina on the dry parts of the grass and got fully into what Bluedot 2023 had to offer.
And there was plenty of it.
Walking into Jodrell Bank, I was teleported into another world; a world where science fiction characters had all got together for one big party. Straight away I was greeted by an R2-D2 casually rolling up on me, and across the way were stormtroopers accosting a woman trying to buy socks at the gift shop.
There were people with UFO umbrellas, babies with alien ears, astronauts and more. Everyone was head to toe in their best sci-fi get-up. Here were some of our favourites:
First on my music schedule was Manc band, Nightbus, who are still in the early days with just two singles out at the moment, but already gathering a lot of attention, including ours.
There was plenty more post-punk on the schedule today, including one band I caught after just hearing them from afar, Treeboy & Arc, who I really enjoyed watching.
My favourite part of the festival was the main stage and just listening to the live music whilst occasionally glimpsing up at the gigantic Jodrell Observatory just beside it — it’s truly breathtaking in size and engineering.
In between the music, there was plenty of chance to check out everything else Bluedot 2023 had on show and after a short walk, I found myself wrangled into a group of people who were all getting a tour around the observatory and watching it reposition itself was mind-blowing to see.
I definitely recommend this festival for next year if you’re a family with younger ones wanting to get out of the house and since it always aligns with the school holidays, Bluedot is a great place to spend a weekend, especially if the sun manages to stay out longer than an afternoon.
Unfortunately for everyone, including the Bluedot team, who tried their best to prevent a mud bath by putting bark and walkways down, it was a complete washout.
And even though as the day went on and the bands got better and better, with incredible sets from Snapped Ankles, Dry Cleaning, Folly Group and Pavement, who closed the main stage, there was no doubting the impact the rain and mud had on the festival.
Where perhaps if it was Parklife you would’ve seen a younger generation mud sliding and various other shenanigans, this festival had plenty of older families and couples and even though most people just ‘got on with it’ the conditions were simply too much and that led to the cancellation of Sunday tickets.
As you can probably guess and much to my sadness, I didn’t go on Sunday but still, the Saturday of Bluedot 2023 was brilliant.
For anyone still unfamiliar with this wonderful annual event, Bluedot is a science festival which has multiple talks on the consequences of global warming and a whole exhibition titled ‘Our Fragile Space’ which is on the negative impact we’re having even in space.
So it’s kind of poignant and ironic to me that this whole festival, which is trying to teach people about the ramifications of global warming and our impact on the Earth, is completely washed out by a month’s worth of rainfall in the height of summer.
People will just say, “That’s just English weather for you”, but if that’s not an anymore obvious indication of global warming already impacting us while you’ve got wildfires burning over in Greece, then we don’t know what is.
Grab yourself a Bluedot 2024 ticket, attend some of those talks and, hopefully, we’ll see you there.
StreamGM’s free underground club night series is coming to Ramona this December
StreamGM’s cult-favourite club nightis returning to the city centre this winter and has found a new home at none other than Ramona.
The much-loved bar, restaurant, live music and events space, which is also now home to the popular Firehouse experience, is opening up its doors to StreamGM and its clubbing series, MainRoom.
Having previously popped up at the likes of YES, Freight Island and the multi-award-winning local streaming platform’s new central hub, The Yard, the underground series of shows is revving up once again and will be coming to the popular nightlife venue this month.
Situated just on the edge of Northern Quarter and Ancoats, the live gig at Ramona will be completely free to the public as well as available to watch via livestream from all over the world.
Teaming up with fast-growing Manc electronic music brand, Do As You Please (DAYP), the label and events promoter are rounding off a prolific 2023 to date by teaming up with the latest instalment of MainRoom to deliver an exciting night of free music and entertainment before the year is out.
Curated by local DJ Mix-Stress and produced by StreamGM co-founder Laura Graham, the dance music series profiles the most exciting artists and promoters across the city, all whilst filming the raves and parties live and direct from the dance floors of the coolest spaces around Greater Manchester. Be it a little-known nightspot, random rooftop or city centre basement, they never disappoint.
The latest line-up — curated by fellow DJ and producer Nial Roche — features some of 0161’s most exciting dance music prospects, including electronic duo Shimrise (Yelena Lashimba and Latoya Reisner), DAYP owner Joe Roche going ‘B2B’ with good friend and ‘Blehrin’ (Jay Murt).
They’ll be kicking off the party and the accompanying livestream from 7pm until 10pm before Ramona resident Alps 2 (Jonjo Williams and Harry Springall) and Not Bad for a Girl’s very own Egg on Toast (Alice Kanako) see us right through to 1am.
The MainRoom x DAYP club night at Ramona takes place on Saturday, 16 December and it’s sure to be a special night; plus, thanks to StreamGM, you’ll be able to watch it live if you can’t be there in person and watch it back at your leisure after its all said and done.
Strictly an 18+ event, you book your spot to see the completely free event HERE or tune into the MainRoom livestream on the StreamGM website.
This latest announcement comes ahead of StreamGM’s inaugural night of musical acts and livestreaming to be held at their new base of operations, The Yard, over in Cheetham Hill.
Peter Hook is hosting a charity gig and Q&A at an iconic Manchester pub to raise money for mental health
Joy Division and New Order co-founder, Peter Hook, is taking part in a charitable evening of live music and conversation right here in Manchester city centre early next year, and it’s being hosted at one of Manchester’s most beloved pubs, the Star and Garter.
Being held at the legendary city centre pub, which now bears the freshly restored mural of his former bandmate and one of the greatest English musicians of all time, Ian Curtis, the significance of the intimate concert being held at such an iconic music venue is not lost on anyone.
Better still, the special one-off gig, Q&A session and evening as a whole has been set up with the help of local music-driven mental health organisation, Headstock, and will be raising money for their partnered nationwide charity, Shout.
Announcing the gig on Monday, 4 December, the veteran vocalist, bass player and singer-songwriter said of the inspirational fundraising gig, which will also pay tribute to Curtis: “I have campaigned for a long time for Ian and Joy Division to be commemorated anyway and anywhere possible.
“From the statue in Macclesfield, still ongoing, and the mural there as well; to the mural in Manchester and the upcoming one in Stockport. I will only rest when every town in Great Britain has something.
“I am immensely proud of Ian and our work as Joy Division and to celebrate it in this way is such a pleasure. I am hoping to bring Ian’s best man at his wedding and childhood friend, Kelvin Briggs to join me so fans can get a real insight into this wonderful man and artist.
“To play at such an iconic venue as the Star and Garter just seals the deal perfectly.”
Speaking on the event, Headstock founder Atheer Al-Salim said, “We are so grateful to Peter Hook and his band who are giving up their time and talent to help us raise much-needed funds to support our charity partner, Shout, and their life-saving text-support service.
“The evening promises to be a poignant moment for Manchester, and an event of huge musical and cultural significance for the city.”
As for Shout, their CEO Victoria Hornby added: “We’re incredibly grateful to Peter Hook and The Light and Headstock for putting on this very special event which will raise vital funds for us to keep the Shout text messaging support service running 24/7.
“Our volunteers take up to 2,000 conversations with children, young people and adults in urgent need of mental health support every day, and every £10 raised funds a conversation that could save a life.”
Tickets will be allocated via a ballot on Skiddle, with the first ballot already open and will close on Friday, 2 February 2024. Each successful ballot entrant will be allocated a maximum of two tickets to the event.
The pricing for ‘An Evening of Music and Conversation with Peter Hook’ on 12 April, 2024 is as follows:
1x ballot entry – £10
3x ballot entries – £15
10x ballot entries – £20
The gig is already selling fast, so secure your spot to see an unforgettable night of music and insight, all for a great cause, HERE.