Bluedot Festival Announces 2017 Headliners

Orbital, Pixies and Alt-J lead the line-up at Jodrell Bank Observatory’s second ‘Festival of Discovery’

Written by  Vicky Smith | Follow @mcrconfidential | Thursday, 2 February 2017 09:42

FOLLOWING a stratospheric debut last summer, Bluedot Festival is back this July with the promise of another stellar programme blending art, science and music. 

Orbital’s return to the festival stage at Bluedot will be an incredibly fitting spectacle and one not to be missed

Spanning child-friendly daytime activities to talks by leading scientists, the festival’s universal appeal attracted over 15,000 visitors in 2016, but it’s the music that drew most revellers; with a line-up featuring the likes of Caribou, Underworld and Jean-Michel Jarre. 

And the announcement of this year’s music acts suggests 2017 is set to follow where they left off (or is that took off?)

After a five-year hiatus, the aptly-named Orbital - ‘originators of live dance music’ - will headline Bluedot in their only northern show of the summer. Often cited as one of the best live acts of all time, they’ll be bringing their classic electronic symphonies and timeless dance floor bangers to the main stage for an atmospheric concert beneath the Lovell radio telescope.   

Veteran alt-rockers Pixies, with their penchant for ufology and psychedelia, are another fitting act - rocking the Lovell Stage with the unique brand of surf and punk that inspired bands such as Nirvana and Radiohead.

While the final headliner, Alt J, scooped a Mercury Prize for their album An Awesome Wave. With a new release on the horizon, we’re told to expect some new material from the indie art rockers. 

Alt JAlt J

Elsewhere on the bill is alternative rock/electronic band Soulwax, a UK festival exclusive from psych-swing revolutionaries Ezra Furman and The Boyfriends, LA dream-pop four piece Warpaint, Squarepusher’s experimental project Shobaleader One, Mancunian synth-pop prodigy Shura, DJ Andrew Weatherall, post-industrial duo Factory Floor, anarcho art-rockers Moonlandingz, electro-pop singer/songwriter Boxed In, ambient techno maestro Max Cooper, BBC’s celebrated Radiophonic Workshop, Whyte Horses Experience (with special guest TBA), psych chanteuse Jane Weaver and cosmic Welshman Meilyr Jones

Further support comes from Anna Meredith, Rival Consoles, The Comet is Coming, Marc Riley, Flamingods, The Early Years, Plastic Mermaids, Goat Girl, Makeness, Ider, TVAM, Wovoka Gentle, Ethan & The Reformation, Girl Sweat Pleasure Temple Ritual Band, Horsebeach, Team Picture, Algorave and Space Cassette Takeover starring Henge, Age of Glass and Anchorsong. 

Anna MeredithAnna Meredith 

Bluedot director Ben Robinson said: “We are incredibly proud to be able to present such an innovative and legendary collection of artists to perform at this year’s Bluedot festival.” 

“Orbital’s return to the festival stage at Bluedot will be an incredibly fitting spectacle and one not to be missed. Along with Pixies, Alt-J and Soulwax the headline acts are all hugely talented musicians, who have helped to shape and form music culture over the years.” 

“The reaction to the first event has been incredible and we are only just beginning to realise the potential of curating a festival in such a unique location.  We have a full programme of science, arts and culture still to come; it’s going to be an exciting summer ahead." 

The full arts, culture and science line-up will be announced in the coming months but confirmed highlights include Tubular Brass - a newly-formed band performing Sandy Smith’s brass score of Mike Oldfield’s iconic Tubular Bells - and the men behind Star Wars’ most infamous villain Darth Vadar.  

BluedotBluedot plays out beneath the Lovell Telescope

A full weekend of talks from award-winning academics and best-selling authors, including Frank Cottrell-Boyce, spans the futurology of eating to how the brain makes us laugh and the science of magic and mindfulness. Highlights include Fake News - with leading journalists and politicians discussing whether the increasing trend in our post-truth, post-Trump world threatens democracy itself - and Geoff White’s The Dark Web; a tour into the sinister underbelly of internet anonymity. 

In the shadow of the Lovell Telescope, one of the world’s most iconic research instruments, Bluedot will explore the latest scientific discoveries from both outer space and planet Earth; with talks from leading scientists on everything from climate change to extra-terrestrial intelligence - all backed up by a full family-friendly series of hands-on experiments and interactive shows. 

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre director, Professor Teresa Anderson MBE, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be planning the second Bluedot festival here at Jodrell Bank this summer. It’s such a brilliant celebration of music, arts and culture - with a huge strand of real scientific authenticity through it all. 

It’s unique not only in the UK but worldwide - a really special event. We’re very proud to be hosting it again and look forward to seeing everyone in July.” 

Full weekend camping tickets are now on sale, starting from £149 full payment or a £27.33 instalment plan.