With festival season well underway, and our heads and hearts still buzzing from Bluedot 2022 last weekend, I’ve had a few people ask recently ‘what is Bluedot Festival all about’? So — even though I’ve written about Bluedot before — I thought I’d do a little FAQ; everything you need to know (and answers to questions you might have) in one place.
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When Did Bluedot Festival Start?
Bluedot started back in 2016, so it’s still a relative newcomer to the festival scene. Headlining the music bill that first year — with a UK festival exclusive — was the legendary Jean-Michel Jarre.
It had a break during 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic, but came back bigger and better than ever this summer.
Where is the Bluedot Festival?
Bluedot is held at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England; home of the iconic Lovell Telescope which makes an incredible backdrop for a festival site.
How Do You Get to the Blue Dot Festival?
Arriving by car
Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is just off the A535 between Chelford and Holmes Chapel.
Exit the M6 at junction 18 and follow the festival signs for your gate colour (approximately 6 miles from the junction).
Arriving by train
Macclesfield, is the most convenient station (West Coast Mainline from London Euston to Manchester). On arrival at Macclesfield you will then need to take a 20-minute taxi ride to the Jodrell Bank. The taxi rank is directly outside the main exit from Macclesfield station.
There is also a station in the nearby village of Goostrey, on the line between Manchester and Crewe.
Even though this is closer, it’s a 2.5 mile walk along narrow country lanes, and — as it’s winding and not lit at night — it’s advisable to book a taxi for this part of the journey. You’ll need to do this in advance though, as there is no taxi rank at the station.
Bluedot Festival Capacity
Bluedot has a 25,000 capacity — although it really doesn’t feel that many people when you’re there.
The site is relatively compact but — apart from the main stage when a headline act is on — it never really feels too busy.
Is Bluedot Festival Family Friendly?
As it’s housed at Jodrell bank, there are a few purpose built walkways and tarmacked areas, which makes moving around, with a trolley or buggy, easier than if it were set solely on a field. Plus the site is relatively small, perfect for little legs.
That said, when we went to Bluedot in 2019, it had rained for days beforehand and the site was a mud-bath. It definitely wasn’t that easy to get around that year.
Finally, there are also lots of things to see and do; perfect for enquiring minds of all ages.
Bluedot is touted as a science festival and this is a real draw — especially if you’re keen on learning about space or ecology. There are lots of interactive stalls, with games, experiments and demonstrations to get involved in.
Camping at Bluedot
Bluedot offers a variety of camping choices; whether you have a tent or caravan — or prefer the boutique/glamping option — there are plenty of options for those wanting to make the most of the weekend and stay on site.
That said — try and get there as early as you can!
Seasoned Bluedot campers tend to get there on the Thursday night to set up camp or — failing that — before the doors open at 9am on Friday morning. You’ll find that people mark their spot, by pegging out a ground-sheet, then set up at their leisure.
It’s wise also to ensure you bring a wheelbarrow or trolley, to transfer your camping gear from the car parks to the camp site.
One thing to note; there are no free showers. For the ferrel amongst us (I include myself in this category), a quick lick and a promise with a wet-wipe and some Batiste will do. For those who really can’t cope with feeling dirty, you can pay extra for a pass to the Meteor Showers.
Or — this year — Lush were on site with a hair-washing stand. This was amazing — I hope they are there again next year!
Hotels Near Blue Dot Festival
If you really, really can’t cope with camping, there are quite a few hotels near the Bluedot site. Here are a few of the closest:
- The Vicarage Freehouse & Rooms – 3.2 miles
- De Vere Cranage Estate – 3.4 miles
- Alderley Edge Hotel Bar and Restaurant – 5.2 miles
- Travelodge Middlewich – 5.9 miles
- Cottons Hotel & Spa – 6.7 miles
Food & Drink at Bluedot
There are lots of food and drink vendors at Bluedot; from woodfired pizza to delicious curries. Hawksmoor were serving up steak sandwiches in the VIP area.
Personally, I thought the food was fairly expensive this year. I bought a Greek gyros box which consisted of a pitta (cut into 4 pieces) some chicken, salad, tzatziki and a handful of chips and it cost £16. Double the most expensive meal that I bought at Glastonbury last month.
Similarly, two cakes and two coffees from the cake vendor also cost £16.50.
It may be that prices have escalated due to the ‘cost of living’ crisis, but if you’re on a budget, it might be worth taking some extra packets of noodles!
Bluedot Festival 2022
In short, we loved Bluedot 2022. We got to hang out with our friends The Mini Travellers and generally had a ball, exploring, learning, listening to music and having fun. I’ll write a full post about what we got up to, at a later date.
If you have any other questions about Bluedot festival, drop them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them as best I can.
And if you’d like to experience Bluedot Festival for yourself, 2023 tickets are available now. Get yours here — Buy Tickets.