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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.