The huge Lovell radio telescope dish at night illuminated by multicoloured lights

On 19 July I attended bluedot festival in Cheshire for 3 days with my two carers. The festival takes place in the beautiful grounds of Jodrell bank Observatory. An excellent setting for a festival.

A young man in a Powerchair sitting in front of a sign that says "bluedot" with the huge Lovell radio telescope dish in the background.

Bluedot Festival is a science and the arts festival. So they had music, scientific talks, and stand-up comedy, as well as many other things.

A large crowd is standing in front of a stage watching the chemical Brothers perform.

I camped at the festival in a wheelchair accessible motorhome which I hired from Coachbuilt GB. It was the first time I ever camped at a festival and it was a great experience. You can read more about the motorhome here.

I stayed in the Access Campsite which is specifically for disabled people. They had great facilities like a Mobiloo, accessible shower, chair charging point, and members of the access team always being around in case we needed anything.

Lots of people are standing on the grass, some are sat on blankets or inflatable cushions. Some tents are in the background where DJs played

I didn’t use the accessible shower. In fact I didn’t have a shower for the whole weekend (gross, I know.) But it’s a festival – roughing it is part of the fun!

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The festival as a whole had great accessibility. There were temporary pathways laid down from the entrance of the campsite to the main arena. Inside the main arena, there were a number of stages and most of them had accessible viewing platforms with disabled toilets next to them.

A number of people sat or lying blankets on top of the brown grass. The accessible viewing platform is behind them enclosed by metal barriers.
The main viewing platform

The viewing platform at the main stage had plug sockets available so that I could charge my chair while watching the bands. This was really handy because I didn’t use the charging point in the campsite as it was unattended at night.

Lots of people milling about on the grass with a couple of marquees in the background, beneath a blue sky

The main viewing platform wasn’t big enough in my opinion. When the headline bands were playing it got a bit overcrowded and there was almost no room to move. It was a bit like playing human Tetris trying to slot everyone in.

A large number of people standing in front of a big stage as a band is performing

The ground in the main arena was grassy but I found it quite bumpy to drive over in my Powerchair. It was hard to drive in a straight line as the chair kept jumping about. So it took a little longer to get to where I wanted to go. It would have been useful to put more temporary pathways running through the main arena to provide a smooth surface.

Lots of people standing in front of the stage at night as they hold up their phones to record the performance. Two Animatronic robots flank the stage with lasers coming out of their eyes

Jodrell bank has grounds that cover a large area. They are mostly grassland with some forested areas. There is also an arboretum that provided a quiet area to get away from all the noise. It was a beautiful area and I would like to go back there sometime to explore it some more.

An art installation consisting of a number of vertical poles each with a number of illuminated rings running down them. Trees surround the poles.

The main headline bands I saw were The Flaming Lips, Gary Numan, and The Chemical Brothers. I thought all of them were brilliant. I hadn’t listened to any of them much before but I really enjoyed their sets. Most of the music was electronic dance music but there were a good number of bands there too.

A close-up of the chemical Brothers onstage performing. They are standing behind the decks as a Large silhouette of a woman running is projected onto the screen behind them.

Lights were projected onto the Lovell Telescope which towered over the site next to the stage. It looked really cool and psychedelic in the dark.

Lots of people standing in the foreground with a large radiotelescope dish in the background illuminated by multicoloured lights

There was a great range of food available such as Tibetan, vegetarian, Indian, Chinese, and Mexican to name a few. I thought the Tibetan food was the best. I had some sesame seeded chicken with rice, and it came with a type of beef dumpling. It was delicious!

A large firebreathing bat controlled by a person using levers as a crowd stands around watching

I tried to listen to one of the scientific talks but I found it difficult hearing what he was saying with the music in the background. Of course it didn’t help that I have a hearing loss. But I did catch the director of Jodrell Bank talking about intercepting radio waves from space and turning them into sound. It was an interesting talk, and I actually managed to understand what he was saying which makes a nice change.

A bearded young man smiles at the camera with a big radiotelescope dish

I was a bit sad to leave bluedot festival as I had a great time and thought the accessibility was excellent. Would I go back again? Yes definitely, and I recommend it to everyone else. Especially if you are interested in science Jodrell bank is a fascinating place to visit.

The Lovell telescope dish

What do you think?

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