On finishing my last O-level in 1981 I went straight into Manchester and bought myself a record as a treat. The record was ‘Autobahn’ by Kraftwerk. I loved ‘Man Machine’ and was soon to become obsessed with ‘Computer World’ on its release…..but never got to see them live. When they started playing festivals around the world a few years ago I could never seem to be in the right place to catch them. So when we found out they were playing at this years BlueDot festival at Jodrell Bank (with New Order, Hot Chip…etc..etc..) we decided to go – Hurrah! Shortly after buying tickets, Marisa informed us she’d passed her Sociology degree at Cardiff Uni with a first – Double Hurrah!! and that the graduation was going to be on 19th July – “It’d be great if we could get together in Cardiff for the weekend” “Indeed it would” – so Bludot was out of the window and my wait to see Kraftwerk would have to go on. Then, before we’d had chance to get refunds Marisa got a job which meant she’d have to work the Saturday after her Graduation……”so I can’t do the weekend with you”
….so we had a lovely Thursday night with her in Cardiff and a fantastic graduation day with her and Anna who’d also graduated and headed up to Bluedot afterwards arriving just after Hot Chip finished their Friday night set. Our friend Helen and Enda had put up our tent (bless them) so we popped into the festival to see Jon Hopkins and a Fleetwood Mac disco (as bad as it sounds) and off to the sound/light instillations near the big moon…..
Bluedot mixes science and music so on Saturday we trawled all the science stalls (non-newtonian fluids….wierd!) learning about bacteria and women in science, witnessed Jedi training for kids, saw a guy singing about the first moonlanding (a fab act) which was celebrating it’s 50th anniv this very weekend….and saw a great comedy set by Rob Newman
Musicwise ‘Henge’ were my favourite of the daytime stuff – Bonkers but with the right message “We demand, that the wepons of war, are manufactured no more – demilitarise!”
Most people however, like myself, had come to see Kraftwerk and they didn’t let us down. 3D glasses were donned and a run through their hits began in the style of their ‘Mix’ album which had me dancing throughout.
The sound was fantastic and the 3D videos got a huge cheer during ‘Spacelab’ when they showed a UFO landing at Jodrell Bank (who says they have no sense of humour). Even ‘Radioactivity’ was turned into a dance tune, hard to believe if you just listen to the original. Numbers, Computer Love, The Model, Man Machine, Autobahn, Tour de France, Robots…. every one was a winner. You couldn’t get the smile off my face. BlueDot released this brilliant overhead picture of the site whilst Kraftwerk were playing
After that we tried to see 808 State but the tent was too rammed so after hearing ‘In Yer Face’ we left to explore the night time shinanigans again with the singing lights and 3D clackers and the enormous moon….
Sunday turned out to be a day of meeting friends and sitting around chatting. We had to leave before John Grant and New Order graced the stage but with a very tired child on board (and 2 tired adults with work in the morning…). Would have loved to see them both again but Hey-Ho…..we still had an awesome time!
Bob the Chiropodist